WisBar Court Review

WisBar Court Review, published by the State Bar of Wisconsin, includes summaries and analysis of decisions from the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, as well as other court developments.

Latest from WisBar Court Review


Aug. 19, 2022 – An anti-assignment clause did not prevent the assignment of insurance rights from the company that purchased an insurance policy to a successor company, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled.​In

Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Company, Inc. v. Employers Insurance Company of Wausau, 2021AP635 (July 8, 2022), the Court of Appeals District II held (2-1) that anti-assignment provisions in the relevant insurance policies were void as against public policy.Judge Lori Kornblum wrote the majority opinion,
Continue Reading Post-loss Assignment of Insurance Rights Valid Despite Policy Clause

Aug. 19, 2022 – The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled that a circuit court erred by granting an injunction to a man seeking to force a hospital to administer ivermectin to his uncle.In Gahl v. Aurora Health Care, Inc., 2021 AP1787 (May 25, 2022), the Court of Appeals District II held that the man failed to show a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of his claim for declaratory judgment.Judge Lori Kornblum wrote the majority opinion,
Continue Reading Nephew Failed to Show Likelihood of Success on Ivermectin Injunction

Aug. 18, 2022 – A judge’s statement that prison time for an Amish man convicted of sexual assault was necessary to send a message to the Amish community does not entitle the man to a resentencing, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has held.In State v. Whitaker, 2022 WI 54 (July 5, 2022), the court held that nothing in the record showed that the judge gave the defendant a harsher sentence solely because of his religious beliefs or his association
Continue Reading Court’s Message to Amish Community Doesn’t Warrant Resentencing

August 11, 2022 – Inculpatory recordings made secretly by a defendant’s cellmate and introduced at the defendant’s homicide trial did not violate the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In State v. Arrington, 2022 WI 53 (July 1, 2022), a four-justice majority held that the introduction of the recordings against the defendant was constitutional because the defendant’s cellmate had not acted as a government agent in making the recordings.The supreme court also held
Continue Reading Use of Jailhouse Recordings Didn’t Violate Defendant’s Right to Counsel

August 10, 2022 – A circuit court erred by denying a prosecutor’s request to waive a juvenile who allegedly committed a mass shooting into adult court, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In State v. X.S., 2022 WI 49 (June 29, 2022), the supreme court held 4-3 that the circuit court’s decision to deny the state’s request was not reasonably supported by the facts and the record.Chief Justice Anette Ziegler wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justice Patience Roggensack,
Continue Reading Circuit Court Erred by Denying Request to Waive Juvenile into Adult Court

Aug. 8, 2022 – Public health orders issued during the pandemic by Dane County’s health officer complied with state law and the state constitution, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.

In Becker v. Dane County, 2022 WI 63 (July 8, 2022), the supreme court held (4-3) that the officer was authorized by a state statute to issue the orders.

The court also held that the county ordinance under which the orders were issued was not preempted by state
Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds County Officer’s COVID-19 Orders

Aug.5 , 2022 – A state law that prohibits a transgender sex offender from legally changing her name does not violate the First and Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In State v. C.G., 2022 WI 60 (July 7, 2022) the supreme court held (4-3) that the name-change prohibition did not constitute punishment for purposes of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.The court also held that the First Amendment’s free
Continue Reading Ban on Name Change Doesn’t Violate Sex Offender’s Constitutional Rights

July 26, 2022 – The “zone-of-interests” inquiry historically conducted by Wisconsin courts to help decide whether a party has standing under Wis. Stat. ch. 227 (administrative procedure and review) has no statutory basis, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.Instead of the “zone of interests” standard, in Friends of the Black River Forest v. DNR, 2022 WI 52 (June 30, 2022), the supreme court held (4-3) that to have standing under ch. 227, a party must show that an
Continue Reading ‘Zone of Interests’ Not Part of Ch. 227 Standing, Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules

July 26, 2022– The Dane County Circuit court erred by denying a motion to quash two subpoenas of a former member of the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In Dane County v. Public Service Commission, 2022 WI 61 (July 7, 2022), the supreme court held (4-3) that the party that issued the subpoenas failed to show specific and objective bias during the PSC adjudication.  Justice Patience Roggensack wrote the majority opinion, joined by Chief
Continue Reading Circuit Court Erred by Not Quashing Subpoenas to Former PSC Member

July 26, 2022– The collateral consequences of an expired involuntary commitment order render an appeal of the order not moot, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In Sauk County v. S.A.M., the supreme court ruled (4-3) that because the commitment order affected the firearm rights of the person subject to the commitment order and subjected him to potential financial liability, his appeal was not moot.Justice Jill Karofsky wrote the opinion for the majority, joined by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley,
Continue Reading Collateral Consequences Make Appeal of Commitment Not Moot

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July 26, 2022 – A stop of man who was the only person seen by police in the area where gun shots had been reported by Shotspotter technology was constitutional, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In

State v. Nimmer, 2022 WI 47 (June 23, 2022), the supreme court held that the stop was supported by reasonable suspicion, in part because police officers arrived at the scene within one minute of receiving the Shotspotter alert and because the
Continue Reading Police Stop of Man One Minute After Shotspotter Alert Was Constitutional

July 26, 2022 – A letter from the state Department of Natural Resources informing a company that the agency could not issue the company a permit for existing equipment was not subject to judicial review, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.
In Container Life Cycle Management, LLC v. DNR, 2022 WI 45 (June 23, 2022), the supreme court held (5-2) that the DNR’s letter did not adversely affect the company’s substantial interests because the letter was a not
Continue Reading DNR Letter About Permit Process Not Subject to Judicial Review

July 19, 2022 – The Dane County Circuit Court did not erroneously exercise its discretion by requiring parents who sued a school district over its transgender student policy to disclose their identities to defense counsel, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In

John Doe 1 v. Madison Metropolitan School District, 2022 WI 65 (July 8, 2022), the supreme court held that it was proper for the circuit court to require the parents to disclose their identities because otherwise defense counsel
Continue Reading Parents Challenging School Transgender Policy Not Entitled to Anonymity

July 18, 2022 – To recover attorney fees under Wisconsin’s public records law, a records requester “must obtain a judicially sanctioned change” in the relationship between the requester and the custodian of the records, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In Friends of Frame Park U.A. v. City of Waukesha, 2022 WI 57 (July 6, 2022), the supreme court held (4-3) that “prevails” as used in the fee-shifting provision of the state public records law is a term of
Continue Reading Records Requesters Must Win in Court to Recover Attorney Fees

July 11, 2022 – Wisconsin law does not authorize the use of ballot drop boxes, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled in a 4-3 decision.In Teigen v. WEC, 2022 WI 64 (July 8, 2022), the supreme court also held that Wisconsin statutes require voters to either mail or personally return ballots to a municipal clerk’s office or a designated alternate site.Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley wrote the majority opinion, joined by Chief Justice Annette Ziegler, Justice Patience Roggensack, and
Continue Reading In 4-3 Ruling, Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Ballot Drop Boxes Illegal

July 8, 2022 – The affirmative defense available to victims of sex trafficking for crimes committed as a direct result of the trafficking is a complete defense to first-degree intentional homicide, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.

In State v. Kizer, 2022 WI 58 (July 6, 2022), the supreme court also held (4-3) that an offense is committed “as a direct result” of human trafficking if the offense and the trafficking are logically and causally connected so that
Continue Reading Affirmative Defense for Trafficking Victims is Complete Defense to Intentional Homicide