Much attention has been paid in recent weeks to President Biden’s infrastructure plan as well as its key sources of funding, including, among other things, raising the corporate tax rate. In the shadow of this legislation, two bills have recently been introduced in the Senate that would take direct aim at current wealth transfer planning techniques. While neither bill is likely to survive in its current form, a recent ruling by the Senate parliamentarian has made imminent estate tax reform more likely. These proposals, their effective dates and the possible timeframe for estate tax reform are discussed below. Typically, to…
Milwaukee County v. K.M., 2019AP1166, 4/13/21, District 1; (1-judge opinion ineligible for publication); case activity The saga continues. Portage County v. E.R.R. 2019AP20133 presented the question of whether appeals from recommitment orders are ever moot due to their collateral effects. When SCOW split 3-3 in that case, it granted review in Sauk County v. S.A.M., 2019AP1033 and ordered the parties to brief whether it may order the court of appeals to decide commitment appeals before they expire. See our post here. Some might see the S.A.M. order as a red flag signaling “proceed with caution” on mootness.…
Appellate lawyers, take note. Several recent press reports have observed that Justice Hagedorn has become the powerful swing vote on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Yesterday’s SCOWstats post provides the data. “In 2020-21, with Justice Kelly now supplanted by Justice Karofsky, the remaining three conservatives can no longer win without Justice Hagedorn, and, with him, they have prevailed in three of the seven 4-3 decisions so far this term—a ‘victory total’ no greater than that of the three liberal justices joined by Justice Hagedorn.” This morning’s decision in Tavern League of Wisconsin, Inc. v. Andrea Palm, shows just how critical…
By:  Alison C. Petri © 2021 National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is April 16, 2021 – this is your reminder to let your family know your values, goals, and preferences regarding future medical care.  Use this time to talk to your family to ensure you receive the medical care you want.  Under Wisconsin law, adults (not under legal guardianship) have the right to control decisions about their medical care, including the right to accept or refuse treatment. This is also an important time to ensure you have your Health Care Power of Attorney and/or Living Will completed and executed.  These…
The scope and complexity of arrangements being presented by device vendors to hospitals is expanding, making compliance with federal health care program rules increasingly more challenging. While at first blush the rules related to discounts and warranties seem fairly straightforward, many manufacturers offer complex, multi-prong arrangements that can be difficult to evaluate against the rules.  For example, some vendors offer discounts and/or warranties on a bundle of products or on a bundle of products and services.  In some cases, a device is offered with free equipment. To help hospital representatives evaluate the legitimacy of these types of arrangements, this article…
WILMIC has introduced another service for policyholders this year.  It’s the one-hour, “Free-CLE Fridays With WILMIC” series that kicks off on April 16 at 12:00 Noon.  Free to policyholders, you can get your credits without leaving your home or office!  The programs are being offered virtually.  Just look for the program emails – one click will take you to the registration page. The first program on April 16 is titled, “The Technology Age – Cybersecurity Essentials for Law Firms.”  During the pandemic the past year, technology hackers have been more active than ever before, capitalizing on the pandemic chaos to…
Over $10 Million in Dividends Has Been Paid Out Since 1999 For the 23rd consecutive year, WILMIC will be sending out dividend checks to policyholders. The Board of Directors declared the dividend at its recent spring meeting after reviewing the company’s 2020 financial results.  Cash dividends equal to five percent of annual premiums will be sent to law firms currently insured by Wisconsin Lawyers Mutual. Katja Kunzke, WILMIC President and Chief Executive Officer, says, “Cash dividends are a mutual company’s way of distributing earnings back to its owners.” “A dividend is what the mutual concept in insurance is all about,”…
Paving the Way: the First American Women Law Professors, the long-awaited book by Herma Hill Kay, former Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law who passed away in 2017, tells the stories of the first fourteen female law professors at ABA- and AALS-accredited law schools in the United States. From Amazon: Paving the Way is filled with details, quiet and loud, of each of their lives and careers from their own perspectives. Kay wraps each story in rich historical context, lest we forget the extraordinarily difficult times in which these women lived. Paving the Way is not just…
Big weekend! Taylor Swift has re-released her 2008 album “Fearless” to claw back ownership of, and agency over, her music after the much publicized sale of the original master recordings to a private equity firm. The release, of course, is taglined, “Taylor’s Version” – but what is the (copyright) legality behind how Taylor was able to make the re-release happen? Read on for…..some of the best cocktail knowledge you’ll get from me this year. A “Bundle of Rights” – Made Even Larger in the Context of Music Copyright “rights” are referred to as a “bundle of rights” that their owner…
April 13, 2021 – Reporters from the MacIver Institute for Public Policy sued Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, alleging they were denied access to a press event because of their organization’s viewpoint. Recently, a federal appeals court rejected that claim. In John K. MacIver Institute et al. v. Evers, No. 20-1814 (April 9, 2021), a three-judge panel for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals “found no evidence of viewpoint discrimination under any First Amendment test with which we might view the claim.” Thus, the panel affirmed the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Western District of Wisconsin,…
The same growing body of research cited by Justice Anthony Kennedy in Roper v. Simmons – the U.S. Supreme Court decision banning the death penalty for young people under 18 – is inspiring juvenile law practitioners, youth advocates, and local courts to take a closer look at emerging adults – those ranging in age from 17 to 24. In September 2020, the Juvenile Law Center released a report, Rethinking Justice for Emerging Adults: Spotlight on the Great Lakes Region, outlining efforts to recognize this distinctive stage of adulthood.  Some of these efforts include a renewed drive to change the…
Over the last couple of months, we have seen a flurry of guidance impacting employee benefit plans. This issue of Benefits Counselor highlights key legal developments for employers and plan sponsors. GENERAL DEVELOPMENTS President Biden Signs American Rescue Plan Act On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the latest COVID‑19 stimulus package, titled the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). In addition to providing a third round of stimulus checks for individuals, ARPA provides significant funding relief for single employer and multiemployer pension plans, aims to generate additional tax revenue through elimination of certain deductions for executive compensation benefits and provides additional…
By Attorney Cameron Weitzner and Paralegal Rachel Sweet Operating while intoxicated (OWI) is a serious criminal offense, regardless of whether you have a prior history of convictions. Consequences of an OWI conviction include fines, driver’s license revocation, and a lasting criminal record, even for first-time offenders. However, the consequences can become much more severe if you are facing OWI charges a second, third, or subsequent time. If you are arrested for OWI with a previous conviction on your record, it is crucial that you hire an attorney who can help you avoid the full extent of the penalties you…
A subcontractor recently learned the hard way that it is not enough to simply write “partial” on the top of a lien waiver in order to limit the waiver to the amount of money received. The subcontractor claimed it was owed more than $200,000 for work performed on a project due to various change orders. The general contractor said it could pay only about $33,000 based on the original contract amount, and asked the subcontractor to sign a lien waiver titled “Waiver of Lien to Date” in exchange for the payment. According to the subcontractor, the general contractor agreed to…
State v. Richard Michael Arrington, 2019AP2065-CR, 4/6/21, District 3 (recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Arrington was being held at the Brown County Jail for 1st-degree homicide when another inmate, Miller, began chatting with him about his case. Turns out Miller was a snitch for State. With the assistance of police, Miller recorded his conversations with Arrington. Then the State used Arrington’s statements to obtain a homicide conviction. The court of appeals held that the State’s use of the snitch violated Arrington’s 6th Amendment right to counsel, and his trial lawyer was ineffective for failing to move to…
Rock County Department of Human Services v. J.E.B., 2020AP1954-FT, 4/7/21, District 4 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity Good news/bad news. It’s terrific that the court of appeals is going to enforce the new requirement that circuit courts ground their recommitment orders on factual findings tied to a specific standard of dangerousness in §51.20(1)(a)2.a-e.  See Langlade County v. D.J.W., 2020 WI 41, ¶3, 391 Wis. 2d 231, 942 N.W.2d 277. However, J.E.B. requested reversal. Period. Without any objection by the county or briefing by the parties, the court of appeals decided to remand the case for…