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Building codes are something most of us don’t hear much about (unless you binge-watch HGTV reno shows like I do). Created to establish minimal life safety requirements for the construction/renovation of buildings, they can vary from state to state and even town to town. Building codes first became part of the American legal landscape in the 1800s, driven in large part by fears of fires spreading through cities.

As federal, state, and local governments deal with the damage done
Continue Reading What Engineers and Architects Need to Know about Building Codes and Climate Change

Litigants routinely rely upon expert witnesses to provide opinion testimony at trial based on their specialized knowledge, training or experience. Also common, the opponent sees serious methodological flaws and thus reaches for a well-known weapon: a Daubert motion asking the trial court to exclude from evidence the report and any associated testimony. Originating in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) and since codified at Wis. Stat. § 907.02, such motions invoke the court’s gatekeeper function
Continue Reading A Skeptical View of Daubert Motions in Two Recent Wisconsin Court of Appeals Decisions

As governments across the globe and at every level—from local to national—work to find productive means of addressing the increasing threats posed by climate change, a new government agency entered the fray last spring: the SEC. In March, the SEC proposed that companies begin providing climate-related information disclosures. The potential implementation of the rule, however, has now been delayed—the SEC had to reopen the comment period due to a technical glitch, and it now has to account for
Continue Reading The SEC May Require Companies to Disclose Climate-Related Risks and Information

A prior post discussed how, in Becker, et al. v. Dane County, et al., Nos. 2021AP1343 & 2021AP1382, the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently turned back an effort to revive the non-delegation doctrine, a tool that—at least in its sharper versions—could be used to pare back much of the modern administrative state. This post picks up where that one left off and examines how and why the three dissenting justices would revamp the doctrine.
Justice R.G. Bradley’s stinging dissent, joined
Continue Reading Non-Delegation in Wisconsin after Becker v. Dane County: The Dissenters

At the end of its 2021-22 term, the Supreme Court released its long-awaited decision in Becker, et al. v. Dane County, et al., Nos. 2021AP1343 & 2021AP1382. The case affirmed the validity of orders issued by the joint public health department of Dane County and the City of Madison to control COVID-19 by, among other things, requiring face coverings and limiting gatherings. Specifically, the Court rejected a challenge by plaintiffs—the affected residents and businesses—to local health officials’ authority to
Continue Reading Non-Delegation in Wisconsin after Becker v. Dane County

We at Stafford Rosenbaum LLP are so excited to announce that a new partner has joined the firm, Attorney JP Croake! JP has an extensive background in business and real estate, and he is a fantastic addition to Stafford Rosenbaum’s business law and real estate law teams.
Prior to joining Stafford Rosenbaum, JP spent his career representing and advising clients ranging from small businesses, entrepreneurs and real estate companies to national corporations, health care providers and franchises on a
Continue Reading Attorney JP Croake Joins Stafford Rosenbaum LLP

Recently, the Wisconsin Legislature adopted several new statutes related to family law.  This is the third installment of those legislative changes, and the adoption of the Uniform Deployed Custody and Visitation Act is one of the more substantive additions to this series.         

2021 Wisconsin Act 161, or the Uniform Deployed Custody and Visitation Act, is a piece of Uniform Law Commission Legislation (hereafter, “Code”), which is currently enacted in 14 states.[i] Effective March 13, 2022, in Wisconsin, it
Continue Reading Statutory Updates in Family Law, Part III

This blog continues to focus on some of the procedural and substantive legal changes that resulted from the 2021-2022 Legislative Session.
2021 Act 204: Codifying Keller and Creating Uniformity in Procedure
In addition to some of the procedural statutory updates in the last blog post, a new procedural format was established for litigants in family court cases.  This change, while procedural in nature, does have substantive legal implications for both lawyers and litigants.
This bill amends Wis. Stat. §
Continue Reading Statutory Updates in Family Law, Part II

Nationwide, restaurants and bars felt financial strain over the past two years. With measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many food and beverage businesses were subject to restrictions on the use of their in-person dining rooms. In a recent case, the Wisconsin Supreme Court found that COVID-19 related business interruption losses were not recoverable under the insured’s property insurance policies. The Court found that COVID-19 restrictions were not direct physical losses, triggering a claim under a
Continue Reading Wisconsin Joins the Majority: Profit Losses Due to COVID-19 Not Insured

Over the last several years, the Wisconsin Legislature, in the wake of the 2018 Joint Legislative Council Study Committee on Child Placement and Support, several new legislative initiatives were introduced.  The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the passage of many of these bills, but several passed in the 2020-2021 Legislative Session.  Many of these statutes are procedures, codifying and streamlining practice for attorneys, litigants and the Courts, but many are also substantive law changes.  This is Part I of a three-part
Continue Reading Statutory Updates in Family Law, Part I

Public bodies deal with many of the same legal issues as private enterprises—plus a host of unique risks that arise because they are public actors. Public bodies therefore must take care to ensure that they are not violating the protected constitutional rights of their citizens, employees, contractors, or (in the case of schools) students. A new iteration of constitutional claims against public bodies arose in spring 2020, with colleges closing their campuses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Rejects Students’ Claim that University’s Refusal to Refund Fees During COVID Closures Amounts to Constitutional Violation

Public bodies deal with many of the same legal issues as private enterprises—plus a host of unique risks that arise because they are public actors. Public bodies therefore must take care to ensure that they are not violating the protected constitutional rights of their citizens, employees, contractors, or (in the case of schools) students. A new iteration of constitutional claims against public bodies arose in spring 2020, with colleges closing their campuses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Rejects Claim that University’s Refusal to Refund Fees During COVID Closures Amounts to Constitutional Violation

This month, the Court of Appeals affirmed a circuit court decision that held that the City of Brookfield engaged in an unconstitutional taking when it conditioned the approval of a subdivision development on construction of a new public street. The Court of Appeals determined that this “exaction” was not permissible because it did not address a need caused by the development proposal and, even if it did, the exaction was not proportional to the conditions sought to be addressed
Continue Reading Court of Appeals Determines City Development Condition Is Unconstitutional Taking

CAFA Background and Exceptions

On March 16, 2022, the Seventh Circuit issued its opinion in Schutte v. Coix Health, resolving an open question about the breadth of the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”). 28 USC § 1711 et seq. Congress enacted CAFA in 2005 to expand the availability of federal courts to class action defendants; the Act loosens the requirements for defendants seeking to remove to federal court cases that have been filed in state court as putative class
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Resolves Open Question Under Class Action Fairness Act

Last summer, President Joe Biden issued Executive Order 14036 targeting “any unlawful trade practices in the beer, wine, and spirits markets, such as certain exclusionary, discriminatory, or anticompetitive distribution practices,” as well as “patterns of consolidation in production, distribution, or retail beer, wine, and spirits market.” The Executive Order required that the United States Department of Treasury submit a report assessing competitive conditions in the beer, wine, and spirits industry.

Last month, the Treasury Department published its Competition in
Continue Reading The Treasury Department’s Competition Report: What Wisconsin Wholesalers Need to Know

Last summer, President Joe Biden issued Executive Order 14036 targeting “any unlawful trade practices in the beer, wine, and spirits markets, such as certain exclusionary, discriminatory, or anticompetitive distribution practices,” as well as “patterns of consolidation in production, distribution, or retail beer, wine, and spirits market.” The Executive Order required that the United States Department of Treasury submit a report assessing competitive conditions in the beer, wine, and spirits industry.
Last month, the Treasury Department published its Competition in
Continue Reading What Wisconsin Wholesalers Need to Know about the Treasury Department’s Competition Report