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Kass is a class act in and out of the courtroom

By: Jane Pribek//June 23, 2011//

Kass is a class act in and out of the courtroom

By: Jane Pribek//June 23, 2011//

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(Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)
(Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

In February 2004, Teri Jendusa-Nicolai was kidnapped, beaten with a baseball bat by her ex-husband, wrapped in duct tape and left to die in an unheated storage unit. Remarkably, she survived.

Since then, the Brookfield firm of Cannon & Dunphy has represented her in several lawsuits, in the criminal, civil, probate and family divisions and bankruptcy court, and at the appellate level in both state and federal courts.

Among her attorneys during the past seven years is Sarah Kaas. Currently, Kaas, a partner with the firm, is defending a civil judgment against Jendusa-Nicolai’s attacker now on appeal, and representing her in the collection efforts upon it.

“I have been fighting this man in multiple courts, on multiple fronts, all at the same time,” Kaas said, noting that he is serving a life prison sentence.

Jendusa-Nicolai said that nowadays she never loses her cool when her ex-husband files yet another motion, because she knows Kaas and her colleagues will shut it down.

“She’s a class act — in the courtroom from her knowledge of the law, to just her morals and integrity,” Jendusa-Nicolai said. “She’s consistently there, doing the job above and beyond the call. And as a person, Sarah has a good heart. She wants to do what’s right, and she’ll fight for what’s fair and just.”

The respect goes both ways. Kaas said, “It’s been my career highlight to represent such a courageous woman. She took an absolutely horrifying event, turned it around, and is now a nationally recognized spokeswoman who stands up against domestic violence.

“The reason we have stuck with the case is not monetary, because the available funds we were able to collect were minimal, in comparison to her personal injuries and what she went through,” Kaas said.

Kaas finds representing injured people very rewarding, but said the most meaningful cases involved representing victimized women and children. Seeking justice for them, and just “giving them a voice,” has been a great privilege.

Attorneys at her firm typically collaborate on cases, and Kaas often takes the leadership in preparing cases for colleagues to try.

That role plays to her organizational strengths, but also accords well with her priorities. She is married to attorney Brian Kaas of Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee. They have two children, 4 and 6. She feels fortunate to be involved in major cases, but also to have flexibility for her family.


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