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.

March 23, 2023 – Some Wisconsin court system computer network users, including the general public, may have temporarily experienced intermittent service or slower than usual response times to some online services early this week.The Wisconsin court system has taken effective counter measures against a denial of service (DoS) attack that targeted the court system, said Director of State Courts Randy R. Koschnick.The cyberattack temporarily slowed networks but did not result in the breach of any court data, and court
Continue Reading Wisconsin Court System Responds to Network Disruption

March 20, 2023 – A statute bars judicial review of an immigration agency’s denial of a Ukrainian citizen’s adjustment-of-status application, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled.In Britkovyy v. Mayorkas, No. 21-3160 (Feb. 17, 2023), a three-judge panel for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals – on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin – held that the immigration statutes do not provide for review of the U.S. Citizenship
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit: Statute Bars Review of Immigration Status Denial

March 20, 2023 – Claims by residents of a senior living facility for entrance fee refunds are subordinate to a perfected security interest in the property of the company that operates the facility, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has unanimously ruled.In Casanova v. Polsky, 2023 WI 19 (March 16, 2023), the supreme court also held (7-0) that a 1995 Wisconsin Court of Appeals case that imposed a constructive trust for the benefit of senior living facility residents when the
Continue Reading Nursing Home Residents’ Entrance Fees Subordinate to Mortgage Lien

March 20, 2023 – A gravel path that a sanitary district proposed to lay to allow it to repair its pipes qualified for an exemption from a county’s shoreland zoning ordinance, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled.In Delavan Lake Sanitary District v. Walworth County Board of Adjustment, 2022AP 289 (March 8, 2023), the Court of Appeals District II held that the district qualified as a utility under the state statute that creates the exemption.Easement for Sewer PipesThe
Continue Reading Sewer District is a Utility for Purposes of Shoreland Exemption Statute

March 20, 2023 – The State Assembly misapplied the public interest balancing test when declining to disclose records related to a sexual harassment complaint filed against one of its members, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled.In Wisconsin State Journal v. Blazel, 2021AP196 (March 9, 2023), a three-judge panel of the District IV Court of Appeals held (2-1) that the eventual release of the record did not render moot a legal action filed by newspapers to compel disclosure
Continue Reading Assembly Misapplied Balancing Test when Holding Back HR Records

March 20, 2023 – Owners of property along navigable waterways in Wisconsin do not have a right to a certain water level along the property, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled.In Kreuziger v. County of Milwaukee, No. 22-2489 (Feb. 13, 2023), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the state’s interest in navigable waterways, which it holds in trust for the public, is superior to a riparian landowner’s
Continue Reading Landowner Has No Right to Certain Water Level Along Navigable Waterway

March 20, 2023 – Statutory provisions that bar municipalities from condemning land for pedestrian walkways apply to acquisitions for sidewalks, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled.In Sojenhomer LLC v. Village of Egg Harbor, 2021AP1589 (March 14, 2023), the Court of Appeals District III held that the inclusion of the terms “sidewalk” and “pedestrian way” in the relevant provisions was not surplusage.Narrow RoadSojenhomer LLC (Sojenhomer) owns a piece of land located between County Road G and State Highway
Continue Reading Prohibition on Condemnation Power Applies to Sidewalk Projects

March 13, 2023 – A promise not to prosecute a couple for child abuse became binding once the couple detrimentally relied upon the promise by consenting to the termination of their parental rights, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled.In State v. Debra L. Rippentrop 2022AP92 (Feb. 23, 2023), and State v. Steven E. Rippentrop, 2022AP93 (Feb. 23, 2020), the Court of Appeals District IV also held that the non-prosecution agreement did not violate public policy.RunawayIn January 2015,
Continue Reading Detrimental Reliance Made Non-prosecution Agreement Binding

March 10, 2023 – Testimony from a neighbor who heard a woman scream “Stop, stop, I love you, I love you,” corroborated a fact revealed by a criminal defendant in his confession, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In State v. Thomas, 2023 WI 9 (Feb. 21, 2023), the supreme court also held that the admission of a DNA report that was used to cross-examine the defendant’s expert witness was also admitted for the truth, and its admission violated
Continue Reading Use of Lab Report to Cross-examine Defense Witness Violated Confrontation Clause

 March 10, 2023 – A sales tax exemption for aircraft parts and repairs does not apply to portions of lease payments attributable to the purchase of parts and repairs, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In Citation Partners, LLC v . Wisconsin Department of Revenue, 2023 WI 16 (March 1, 2023), the supreme court also held (4-3) that an aircraft leasing company was not acting as an agent for its lessees when it purchased parts and repairs.Justice Rebecca Dallet
Continue Reading No Sales Tax Exemption for Aircraft Parts and Repair Under Lease

​Feb. 27, 2023 – On Feb. 21, 2023, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an order and a
revised interim rule (Order 19-02C and 20-07C) that will c​reate a phased transition to mandatory e-filing in the Supreme Court over the next several months.The first phase will be a large expansion of the e-filing pilot project that will allow nearly all matters filed in the Supreme Court after April 1, 2023, to become voluntary e-filing cases.  The second phase, beginning July
Continue Reading Supreme Court Adopts Transition to Mandatory E-Filing

In Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust v. City of Merrill, 2021AP972 (Feb. 14, 2023), the Court of Appeals District III also held that the city whose assessment was challenged had not violated the challenger’s due process rights.  Property Tax ObjectionWal-Mart owns property in the City of Merrill (City).

Jeff M. Brown , Willamette Univ. School of Law 1997, is a legal writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. He can be reached by
email or by phone at (608)
Continue Reading Presenting Evidence to Board of Review is Condition Precedent for Filing Claim

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that the fired employee failed to file her lawsuit within the statute of limitation, rejects equitable estoppel argument.Feb. 24, 2023 – A woman who filed a lawsuit under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) 23 months after she was demoted for sending Facebook messages critical of her boss failed to meet the act’s statute of limitation, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled.In Uebelacker v.
Continue Reading Employee Fired for Facebook Messages Loses Stored Communications Act Case

Feb. 24, 2023 – A circuit court erred by staying a prison sentence for a person convicted of her fifth operating while intoxicated offense (OWI), the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled.In State v. Shirikian, 2021AP859 (Feb. 1, 2023), the Court of Appeals District II held that the factors that allow a court to sentence a person convicted of fifth- or sixth-offense OWI to less than 18 months in prison do not constitute legal cause sufficient to allow
Continue Reading Law Does Not Allow Probation for 5th OWI Conviction, Court of Appeals Rules

Feb. 23, 2023 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld (7-0) a city’s property tax assessment of a big-box store, rejecting the retailer’s argument that the assessment was excessive because the list of comparable properties did not include vacant big-box stores.In
Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC v. City of Delavan, 2023 WI 8 (Feb. 16, 2023), the supreme court concluded that Lowe’s Home Centers (Lowe’s) failed to provide evidence sufficient to overcome a presumption that the city’s tax assessment
Continue Reading City Wins Property Tax Fight Against Big-Box Retailer in ‘Dark Store’ Case

Feb. 16, 2023 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has added two cases to its docket. In one case, State v. Killian, the supreme court will consider the scope of the Fifth Amendment’s double jeopardy clause.  In March 2015, the Trempealeau County District Attorney charged James Killian with one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 12. The alleged victim in the case was named Britney.In Mary 2016, the Trempealeau County District Attorney filed
Continue Reading Supreme Court Accepts Two Cases, Including Double Jeopardy Case