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School Boards and Administrators received an important reminder on June 15, 2022 from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit regarding limitations on banning student t-shirts containing images of weapons and other potentially offensive pictures or slogans. Schools cannot broadly ban all clothing containing a particular image or slogan under a theory that all such images or slogans are inappropriate or violate Board policy. Instead, schools must approach offensive t-shirts and other student clothing on a
Continue Reading No One-Size-Fits-All Approaches: Public Schools Must Ban T-Shirts with Caution

In late February, 2022, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNRs) Natural Resources Board (NRB)—the entity that sets policy for the WDNR—took steps toward the adoption of statewide standards for PFAS compounds. First, the NRB voted to adopt a drinking water standard of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for two of the most common PFAS compounds; perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and polyfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The standard, if approved by the Wisconsin Legislature, would apply to municipal water supply
Continue Reading Wisconsin Legislative Committee will Allow PFAS Standards to Take Effect

Wiegert v. TM Carpentry, LLC, No. 2020AP1833 (Wis. Ct. App. May 4, 2022)

In Wiegert a three-judge panel for the Third District Court of Appeals affirmed the Sheboygan County Circuit Court’s grant of summary judgment ruling that Acuity had no duty to defend or indemnify its insured, Stone Creek, against claims asserted by Terry and Deborah Wiegert which arose out of renovation work Stone Creek performed on the Wiegert’s home. The court determined any alleged damage could only have
Continue Reading Insurance Coverage Law Update: Wiegert v. TM Carpentry, LLC

This week, a Wisconsin judge placed on hold his previous decision regarding the WDNR’s authority to regulate PFAS chemicals. As we reported in a previous von Briesen Environmental Law Update, a Waukesha County Circuit Court judge ruled on April 12, 2022 in the case of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Inc. and Leather Rich, Inc. v. WDNR, (Waukesha County Case 2021CV000342) that the WDNR lacked the authority to regulate PFAS chemicals because the Wisconsin Legislature had not established regulatory
Continue Reading Wisconsin Judge Places Earlier PFAS Decision on Hold

On April 15, 2022, Wisconsin enacted a new business entity law (2021 Wisconsin Act 258). Among other changes, the law restates Chapter 183 governing limited liability companies (LLCs) based on the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (RULLCA) already adopted by many other states. Below is more information about the law’s effective date and key changes for Wisconsin LLCs.

Effective Date: On January 1, 2023, the new law will govern all existing and future LLCs. An LLC can elect
Continue Reading How Wisconsin’s New Business Entity Law affects LLCs

Today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Rebecca Frank Dallet, reversed a Milwaukee County Circuit Court decision that allowed a purported class action to proceed against Society Insurance seeking coverage for business income losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The plaintiff, Colectivo Coffee Roasters, Inc., sought coverage for these losses under the business income, extra expense, civil authority and contamination coverages of its businessowners policy.

The Court ruled that neither the loss of use
Continue Reading Colectivo v. Society Reversed by Wisconsin Supreme Court

von Briesen & Roper, s.c., today announced that attorneys Rick J. Mundt and Blayne Nicole Christy have joined the Firm’s Madison office, located at 10 East Doty Street, Suite 900. 
Rick J. Mundt is a Shareholder focusing his practice on litigation involving construction defects, catastrophic property damage, professional liability, bodily injury and complex insurance claims. He is also an experienced mediator for property and casualty dispute resolution. Mundt is an Associate Member of American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA),
Continue Reading Rick Mundt and Blayne Nicole Christy Join von Briesen's Madison Office

In what was a surprise to many, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn its Direct Final Rule that would have recognized the new ASTM E1527-21 Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Standard as what is required to obtain protection from liability under CERCLA. As discussed in our recent Legal Update, the EPA issued a request for comments regarding its proposed intention to adopt the new ASTM E1527-21 Phase I Standard into its “All Appropriate Inquiry” (AAI) rules
Continue Reading EPA Withdraws its Direct Final Rule to Adopt the New ASTM E1527-21 Phase I ESA Standard

As we discussed in recent Legal Updates, because environmental sustainability is now viewed as an essential component of the overall operation of most companies, and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives are gaining in popularity, the value of conducting periodic environmental compliance audits and establishing an environmental management program is essential for companies that desire to be viewed as leaders in environmental compliance. We also discussed environmental regulatory agency programs (“Enviro-Check” and “Green Tier”) that
Continue Reading Why Environmental Compliance Auditing is Important in the Purchase/Sale of a Business

You’ve finally decided to meet with a lawyer to create an estate plan, and you’re thinking about whether you should create a trust. Or perhaps you already have your estate plan in place and its cornerstone is a revocable trust. Revocable trusts are a very common and effective estate planning tool – but can you separate trust fact from fiction? This snapshot will highlight some of the most common misconceptions about revocable trusts.

Myth #1: There’s a difference between
Continue Reading Revocable Trusts – Separating Fact from Fiction

As previously discussed in this Legal Update, the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) approved a new standard for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs). The new Phase I ESA standard, known as “E1527-21 – Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process,” made significant modifications to the previous ASTM Phase I Standard Practice (E1527-13) that had been in use by environmental professionals (EPs) for the previous eight years. The goal of
Continue Reading EPA Issues Direct Final Rule to Adopt the New ASTM E1527-21 Phase I ESA Standard

In today’s global marketplace, protecting innovation is essential both at home and abroad. But determining whether and where to protect an invention can often prove to be a complex feat for applicants, especially those just emerging in their field. Identifying relevant consumer bases, evaluating supply chain logistics and considering economic repercussions takes time. As many patent practitioners and clients know, however, time is a valuable piece in the patent prosecution puzzle, and should not be miscalculated.
With more than
Continue Reading Saving Grace: PCT National Phase Deadline Grace Periods Could Protect Your Application

The Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 (“TMA”) became law on December 27, 2020 and took effect beginning on December 18, 2021. The TMA amends the Lanham Act in several ways, but this article focuses on (1) the new tools to remove stale trademark registrations and (2) the restoration of the presumption of irreparable harm in trademark cases upon a finding of a likelihood of success on the merits.
Restoring the Presumption of Irreparable Harm
The most powerful tool to
Continue Reading New Trademark Act Restores Presumption of Irreparable Harm, Helps Clear Dead Wood

For good or bad, the vast majority of patent applicants are familiar with receiving an Office Action with the dreaded news that at least one of their claims has been rejected. After formality objections, antecedent basis rejections, assertions of anticipation, and other grounds, the patent prosecution of a given case often ends up hinging on one word – obvious – or in the words of the US Patent Examiner “your invention has been found to be obvious under 35
Continue Reading Non-Obvious Obviousness Arguments (To Overcome 35 USC 103 Rejections)

With just a few months left to the school year, we all look to a strong, positive finish to what again has been a challenging year for school districts. While we are hopefully moving past mask and vaccine mandate debates and other COVID-related issues, we still have those last couple of warm months to navigate with restless students who are anxious to finish the school year. History tells us that, while positive preventative measures coupled with good practices in
Continue Reading Recent Student Expulsion Decisions Provide Important Reminders to School Districts

On April 12, 2022, a Wisconsin judge ruled in the case of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Inc. and Leather Rich, Inc. v. WDNR, (Waukesha County Case 2021CV000342) that the WDNR lacks the authority to regulate PFAS chemicals because the Wisconsin Legislature has not established regulatory standards for them. According to the lawsuit, Leather Rich, Inc. entered into a voluntary WDNR environmental cleanup program in 2019, and the following year WDNR indicated that the businesses enrolled in the program were
Continue Reading Wisconsin Judge Rules that the WDNR Lacks Authority to Regulate PFAS