Wisconsin Supreme Court
Open Records — law firm invoices
Invoices generated by a law firm retained by an insurer to represent a county fall within sec. 19.36(3) of the Public Records Law, the “contractors’ records” provision.
“The invoices——the billings for the law firm’s legal work performed as the County’s defense counsel and the insurance company’s retained counsel——were produced or collected in the course of the law firm’s representation of the County and the insurance company under the liability insurance policy between the County and the insurance company. Because the liability insurance policy is the basis for the tripartite relationship between the County, the insurance company, and the law firm, and is the basis for an attorney-client relationship between the law firm and the County, we conclude that the invoices were produced or collected during the course of the law firm’s representation of the County and the insurance company pursuant to the liability insurance policy; the liability insurance policy is a contract entered into by the County and the insurance company. Thus, the requirements of Wis. Stat. § 19.36(3) have been met and § 19.36(3) governs the accessibility of the invoices.”
Attorneys: For Appellant: Westerberg, Christa, Madison; For Respondent: Kleinmaier, Bryan, Madison