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Municipalities — annexation

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//April 17, 2014//

Municipalities — annexation

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//April 17, 2014//

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Wisconsin Court of Appeals

Civil

Municipalities — annexation

Michael H. Ries, M.D., and Ries Partners, Limited Partnership (Ries) challenge an annexation by referendum of the former Town of Bristol into the Village of Bristol. The Village petitioned the circuit court for an annexation referendum on whether to annex the Town to the Village. Prior to this petition, the Town unsuccessfully petitioned to incorporate a majority of the Town as the Village and then successfully petitioned to incorporate a smaller portion of the Town as the Village. The circuit court granted the Village’s petition for an annexation referendum, and the referendum passed. The Village enacted an ordinance annexing the Town to the Village.

Ries subsequently filed a complaint seeking a declaration that the annexation by referendum was invalid because it violated the rule of reason, a judicially created doctrine used to determine whether an annexation is valid. The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment, which the circuit court denied. A trial was held to the court, after which the court determined that the annexation satisfied the rule of reason and dismissed the complaint.

On appeal, Ries renews his argument that the annexation did not satisfy the rule of reason for the same reasons as argued in the circuit court. Ries also argues that the circuit court erroneously excluded testimony regarding what, if anything, Village board members discussed in deciding to initiate the annexation process. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the annexation satisfies the rule of reason and that the court’s evidentiary ruling was not an erroneous exercise of discretion. Accordingly, we affirm. Not recommended for publication in the official reports.

2012AP1942 Ries et al. v. Village of Bristol

Dist II, Kenosha County, Schroeder, J., Higginbotham, J.

Attorneys: For Appellant: Neumeier, J. Paul, Jr., Milwaukee; For Respondent: Sager, Susan M., Milwaukee

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