Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / Case Digests / Weekly Case Digests – October 26, 2020 – October 30, 2020

Weekly Case Digests – October 26, 2020 – October 30, 2020

7th Circuit Digests

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Sandor Demkovich v. St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, Calumet City, et al.,

Case No.: 19-2142

Officials: FLAUM, ROVNER, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

Focus: 1st Amendment Violation – Employment Discrimination – Ministerial Employees

The First Amendment prohibits enforcement of federal employment discrimination statutes against decisions of churches and other religious organizations to hire or fire their “ministerial employees.” Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, 140 S. Ct. 2049 (2020); Hosanna–Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC, 565 U.S. 171 (2012). This interlocutory appeal presents a question about extending this exemption beyond hiring and firing decisions: should the constitutional exemption be extended to categorically bar all hostile environment discrimination claims by ministerial employees, even where there is no challenge to tangible employment actions like hiring and firing? Our answer is no.

In the United States legal system, encounters between churches and civil law are always fraught. Such cases, including this one, can pose a tension between two valued legal goods: constitutional protection of the freedom of religion and other legal rights. In such cases, the courts have a long history of balancing and compromising to protect religious freedom while enforcing other important legal rights. The problem here is particularly sensitive, involving tension between the freedom of religion and employees’ rights to be free from invidious discrimination, also a compelling governmental interest. E.g., New York State Club Ass’n v. City of New York, 487 U.S. 1, 14 n.5 (1988). The problem is not so sensitive as to preclude line-drawing altogether.

Defendants urge us to bar all statutory hostile environment claims by ministerial employees. Recognizing the history of balance and compromise, defendants acknowledge that the First Amendment does not bar those same ministerial employees from bringing contract and tort claims against their employers and supervisors. Nor does the First Amendment bar enforcement of criminal laws arising from mistreatment of those same employees. Plaintiff argues that churches do not need, as a matter of constitutional law, complete protection from statutory harassment claims so long as they do not challenge any tangible employment actions used to select and control ministerial employees.

The right balance is to bar claims by ministerial employees challenging tangible employment actions but to allow hostile environment claims that do not challenge tangible employment actions. Religious employers’ control over tangible employment actions—hiring, firing, promoting, deciding compensation, job assignments, and the like—provides ample protection for the free exercise of religion. The First Amendment does not require complete immunity from the sometimes horrific abuse that defendants’ bright-line rule would protect.

Sensitive issues of potential entanglement, to use the language of Establishment Clause jurisprudence, lie ahead. We are not persuaded, however, that they cannot possibly be managed in a balanced way that protects both religious liberty and the rights of employees to be free from discriminatorily hostile work environments. In so holding, we join the Ninth Circuit, see Bollard v. California Province of the Society of Jesus, 196 F.3d 940 (9th Cir. 1999); Elvig v. Calvin Presbyterian Church, 375 F.3d 951 (9th Cir. 2004), and depart from the Tenth, see Skrzypczak v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa, 611 F.3d 1238 (10th Cir. 2010).

We answer the certified question in the NEGATIVE. Accordingly, we AFFIRM the decision of the district court denying dismissal of the disability claim, and REVERSE its decision dismissing the sexual orientation claim. The case is REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Affirmed in part. Reversed and remanded in part.

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Ladmarald Cates

Case No.: 19-1806

Officials: BAUER, EASTERBROOK, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Ladmarald Cates, an officer with the Milwaukee Police Department, sexually assaulted Iema Lemons in her home after Cates responded to Lemons’ 911 call. A jury convicted Cates by special verdict of aggravated sexual abuse and the district court judge sentenced him to 24 years in prison. We affirmed on direct appeal. Cates filed an action alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court judge denied the motion. We reversed, finding Cates’ trial and appellate counsel performed deficiently. The district court reopened the criminal case and the government obtained a three-count superseding indictment. Facing a second trial, Cates moved to dismiss the aggravated sexual abuse by force allegation based on issue preclusion. After his motion was denied, this appeal followed. For the subsequent reasons, we affirm the district court’s denial of that motion.

Affirmed

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Continental Vineyard, LLC, et al., v. Vinifera Wine Co., LLC, et al.,

Case No.: 19-2089; 19-2173

Officials: RIPPLE, WOOD, and SCUDDER, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Summary Judgment – Sufficiency of Evidence

This case pits two wine enterprises against one another. In one corner, we have Gerald Forsythe, who formed Indeck-Paso Robles, LLC (“Indeck”) for the purpose of creating and managing a wine-grape vineyard. In the other, we have Randy Dzierzawski, who started out as Forsythe’s business associate and vice-president and later branched out on his own. In time, Forsythe became convinced that Dzierzawski and his company stole valuable business opportunities from Forsythe’s operations. Litigation ensued, with an ultimate outcome largely favoring Dzierzawski, but also giving Forsythe’s company $285,731 as disgorgement.

Forsythe and his related companies have appealed from the judgment in favor of the Dzierzawski parties, largely on the ground of allegedly fatal inconsistencies in the jury’s verdict. Dzierzawski has cross-appealed from the disgorgement order. Forsythe argues that Dzierzawski stole a corporate opportunity from his company, but we agree with the district court that the evidence does not support such a finding. As for the verdicts, we are left to make the best of a bad thing. They are hard to reconcile at first glance, but neither party made any objection until several weeks after the jury was disbanded. Without such a contemporaneous objection, the court was left on its own. It resolved the uncertainties in a way that respected what the jury said. Finally, with respect to the cross-appeal, we see no reversible error in the disgorgement order. Although the case is something of a procedural mess, we conclude in the final analysis that the judgment of the district court should be affirmed.

Affirmed

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Illinois Republican Party, et al., v. J.B. Pritzker

Case No.: 20-2175

Officials: WOOD, BARRETT, and ST. EVE, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Abuse of Discretion – Preliminary Injunction

As the coronavirus SARS‐CoV‐2 has raged across the United States, public officials everywhere have sought to implement measures to protect the public health and welfare. Illinois is no exception: Governor J. B. Pritzker has issued a series of executive orders designed to limit the virus’s opportunities to spread. In the absence of better options, these measures principally rely on preventing the transmission of viral particles (known as virions) from one person to the next.

Governor Pritzker’s orders are similar to many others around the country. At one point or another, they have included stay‐at‐home directives; flat prohibitions of public gatherings; caps on the number of people who may congregate; masking requirements; and strict limitations on bars, restaurants, cultural venues, and the like. These orders, and comparable ones in other states, have been attacked on a variety of grounds. Our concern here is somewhat unusual. Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020‐43 (EO43, issued June 26, 2020) exhibits special solitude for the free exercise of religion. It does so through the following exemption:  a. Free exercise of religion. This Executive Order does not limit the free exercise of religion. To protect the health and safety of faith leaders, staff, congregants and visitors, religious organizations and houses of worship are encouraged to consult and follow the recommended practices and guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health. As set forth in the IDPH guidelines, the safest practices for religious organizations at this time are to provide services online, in a drive‐in format, or out‐ doors (and consistent with social distancing requirements and guidance regarding wearing face coverings), and to limit indoor services to 10 people. Religious organizations are encouraged to take steps to ensure social distancing, the use of face coverings, and implementation of other public health measures.

See EO43, § 4(a), at https://www2.illinois.gov/Pages/Executive‐Orders/ExecutiveOrder2020‐43.aspx. Emergency and governmental functions enjoy the same exemption. Other‐ wise, EO43 imposes a mandatory 50‐person cap on gatherings.

The Illinois Republican Party and some of its affiliates (“the Republicans”) believe that the accommodation for free exercise contained in the executive order violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. In this action, they seek a permanent injunction against EO43. In so doing, they assume that such an injunction would permit them, too, to congregate in groups larger than 50, rather than reinstate the stricter ban for religion that some of the Governor’s earlier executive orders included, though that is far from assured. Relying principally on Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905), the district court denied the Republicans’ request for preliminary injunctive relief against EO43. See Illinois Republican Party v. Pritzker, No. 20 C 3489, 2020 WL 3604106 (N.D. Ill. July 2, 2020). The Republicans promptly sought interim relief from that ruling, see 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1), but we declined to disturb the district court’s order, Illinois Republican Party v. Pritzker, No. 20‐2175 (7th Cir. July 3, 2020), and Justice Kavanaugh in turn refused to intervene. Illinois Republican Party v. Pritzker, No. 19A1068 (Kavanaugh, J., in chambers July 4, 2020).

We did, however, expedite the briefing and oral argument of the merits of the preliminary injunction, and we heard argument on August 11, 2020. Guided primarily by the Supreme Court’s decision in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 555 U.S. 7 (2008), we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the requested preliminary injunction, and so we affirm its order.

Affirmed

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Roland Pulliam

Case No.: 19-2162

Officials: SYKES, Chief Judge, and RIPPLE and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Jury Instructions

Roland Pulliam was arrested after fleeing from two Chicago police officers. During the chase, both officers saw a gun in Pulliam’s hand. Pulliam had previously been convicted of multiple felonies, making it a federal crime for him to possess a gun. The government charged him with possessing a firearm as a felon, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1); Pulliam was convicted after a jury trial.

After Pulliam was sentenced, the Supreme Court decided Rehaif v. United States, 139 S. Ct. 2191 (2019), which clarified the elements of a § 922(g) conviction. Now, in addition to proving that the defendant knew he possessed a firearm, the government must also prove the defendant belonged to “the relevant category of persons barred from possessing a firearm.” Id. at 2200. This knowledge-of-status element was not mentioned in the jury instructions at Pulliam’s trial.

Pulliam now argues that the erroneous jury instructions and three evidentiary errors require the reversal of his conviction. But none of these alleged errors call for the reversal of Pulliam’s conviction, so we affirm.

Affirmed

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Yeison Meza Morales v. William P. Barr

Case No.: 19-1999

Officials: ILANA DIAMOND ROVNER, Circuit Judge DAVID F. HAMILTON, Circuit Judge AMY C. BARRETT, Circuit Judge.

Focus: Order Amending Opinion

Petitioner filed a petition for partial panel rehearing on August 10, 2020. All members of the original panel have voted to deny rehearing and to issue an amended opinion. The court’s opinion dated June 26, 2020 is amended by the attached opinion, which includes a change to page 13. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the petition for rehearing is DENIED.

Denied

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Tony Sparkman

Case No.: 17-3318

Officials: RIPPLE, BARRETT, and BRENNAN, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Sentencing Guidelines – First Step Act

Section 403 of the First Step Act of 2018 amended the mandatory minimum sentence for certain firearm offenses. Sentencing reform is generally prospective, but these amendments also apply to an offense committed be‐ fore enactment “if a sentence for the offense has not been imposed as of such date of enactment.” First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115‐391, § 403(b), 132 Stat. 5194, 5222 (codified at 18 U.S.C. § 924 note). Tony Sparkman’s sentence was pending on appeal on the date of enactment, and, as he sees it, this means that he is entitled to be resentenced with the benefit of the statute’s reforms. But our circuit rejected this very argument in United States v. Pierson, which holds that “a sentence is ‘imposed’ in the district court, regardless of later appeals.” 925 F.3d 913, 927 (7th Cir. 2019).  The district court sentenced Sparkman before the statute passed, so the First Step Act does not apply to him.

Affirmed

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Robbie L. Marshall v. Indiana Department of Correction

Case No.: 19-3270

Officials: MANION, KANNE, and WOOD, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Title VII – Discrimination and Retaliation Claim

Robbie Marshall claims his former employer, the Indiana Department of Correction, discriminated against him because of his sexual orientation and retaliated against him. The district court granted summary judgment to the DOC. We affirm.

Affirmed

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Speech First, Inc., v. Timothy L. Killeen, et al.,

Case No.: 19-2807

Officials: MICHAEL B. BRENNAN, Circuit Judge MICHAEL Y. SCUDDER, Circuit Judge AMY J. ST. EVE, Circuit Judge.

Focus: Order Amending Opinion

The opinion of this court issued on July 28, 2020, is amended as follows: In the caption, which appears on the first page, correct the name of the defendant-appellee from Thomas L. Killeen to Timothy L. Killeen. On consideration of the petition for rehearing en banc, filed by the plaintiff appellant, no judge in regular active service has requested a vote on the petition for rehearing en banc and the judges on the original panel have voted to deny rehearing. It is, therefore, ORDERED that the petition for rehearing en banc is DENIED.

Denied

Full Text

WI Court of Appeals Digests

WI Court of Appeals – District I

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Dwayne T. Freeman

Case No.: 2019AP205

Officials: Blanchard, Dugan, and Donald, JJ.

Focus: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Dwayne T. Freeman, pro se, appeals the orders denying his postconviction motion and his motion for reconsideration. Following a jury trial Freeman was convicted of armed robbery, as a party to a crime, as a repeater; burglary, as a party to a crime, while possessing a dangerous weapon; and possession of a firearm by a felon.

On appeal Freeman argues that: (1) the trial court lacked competency to proceed with the case because the amended information was untimely; (2) newly discovered evidence filed with his postconviction motion requires a new trial; (3) the trial court erred because it did not conduct an evidentiary hearing on his ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim; and (4) both trial and appellate counsel provided him with ineffective legal assistance.

We conclude that Freeman alleged sufficient facts to warrant a Machner hearing on that part of his ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim based on his allegation that trial counsel failed to call a potential witness, Arzell Chisholm. For that reason, we reverse and remand this matter for a Machner hearing on that part of Freeman’s ineffective assistance of trial counsel and appellate counsel claims. In all other respects, we affirm the postconviction court’s orders.

Full Text

WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Christopher C. Burns

Case No.: 2019AP707-CR

Officials: Stark, P.J., Hruz and Seidl, JJ.

Focus: Abuse of Discretion – Motion for Postconviction Relief Denied

Christopher Burns appeals a judgment, entered following a jury trial, convicting him of two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child and one count of child enticement, all three counts as a repeater. Burns also appeals an order denying his motion for postconviction relief. Burns argues he is entitled to a new trial because his trial attorney was ineffective by failing to seek admission of DNA evidence found on a pair of the victim’s underwear. Burns also argues the trial court erroneously exercised its discretion by denying his request to review an unredacted copy of the victim’s SANE report. Finally, Burns argues he is entitled to a new trial in the interest of justice. We reject these arguments and affirm.

Full Text

WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Nathaniel R. Lecker

Case No.: 2019AP1532-CR

Officials: Stark, P.J., Hruz and Seidl, JJ.

Focus: Statutory Interpretation – Immunity

Wisconsin law grants immunity from criminal prosecution for certain offenses to “aiders”—i.e., people who attempt to obtain assistance for individuals who are suffering from an overdose or adverse reaction to a controlled substance. See WIS. STAT. § 961.443(2)(a) (2017-18). The crimes subject to the grant of immunity are specifically identified by the statute, which also states that the immunity attaches only when those crimes were “under the circumstances surrounding or leading to [the aider’s] commission” of the act or acts constituting the rendering of aid. Id.

When an individual suffering from a heroin overdose appeared outside of Nathaniel Lecker’s apartment one afternoon, Lecker obtained medical assistance for him. The next day, Lecker was interviewed by police investigators about the overdose. During the interview, Lecker informed police that there was drug paraphernalia in his apartment, and he consented to a search of the premises. Lecker was charged with various drug-related possession offenses as a result of contraband found during the search, none of which was related to the overdose. Nonetheless, the circuit court granted Lecker’s motion to dismiss the charges against him, finding that there was a “sufficient nexus” between his seeking aid for the overdosing individual and the discovery of the contraband to warrant dismissal on immunity grounds.

We conclude the circuit court erred by dismissing the charges. As an initial matter, one of the charges dismissed by the court was not a crime for which Lecker could receive immunity under WIS. STAT. § 961.443(2)(a). As to the remaining crimes, Lecker’s possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia and the discovery of those items of contraband were not closely connected to the overdose or to Lecker’s attempt to obtain aid. Furthermore, the mere fact that Lecker provided information about the contraband and consent to search his apartment during a subsequent police interview occasioned by his assistance does not cause his commission of those offenses to be part of the “circumstances surrounding” his status as an “aider” within the meaning of the immunity statute. We therefore reverse the order and, on remand, direct the circuit court to reinstate the criminal complaint and to conduct further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Recommended for Publication

Full Text

WI Court of Appeals – District I

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Raytrell K. Fitzgerald

Case No.: 2019AP1769-CR

Officials: Brash, P.J., Dugan and White, JJ.

Focus: Unlawful-stop Claim – Reasonable Suspicion

Raytrell K. Fitzgerald appeals his judgment of conviction for possession of a firearm contrary to a harassment injunction. Fitzgerald was charged when a handgun was discovered in his backpack after he was stopped and frisked by Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) officers investigating a report of shots fired. Fitzgerald filed a motion to suppress the gun evidence, arguing that the police lacked reasonable suspicion for the stop and frisk.

After a hearing on Fitzgerald’s motion, the trial court found that the police had established that there was reasonable suspicion for the stop and frisk, and denied the motion. Fitzgerald subsequently pled guilty. We affirm.

Full Text

WI Court of Appeals – District I

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. M.E.

Case No.: 2019AP2228

Officials: DONALD, J.

Focus: Court Error – Failure to Recuse

M.E. appeals from an order adjudicating him delinquent for one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child. M.E. argues that at some point during the proceedings, the judge obtained personal knowledge about a disputed issue of fact and should have recused herself. We disagree and affirm.

Full Text

WI Court of Appeals – District I

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. K.A.B.

Case No.: 2020AP962

Officials: BRASH, P.J.

Focus: Termination of Parental Rights

K.A.B. appeals the order of the trial court terminating her parental rights for L.B. She argues that the trial court did not properly exercise its discretion in its consideration of the statutory factors relating to the best interests of the child, particularly with regard to the question of whether the child had a substantial relationship with the parent, as set forth at WIS. STAT. § 48.426(3)(c). We affirm.

Full Text

WI Court of Appeals – District II

Case Name: Sharon Beth Kitzerow v. Kelly Thorne, et al.,

Case No.: 2019AP2252

Officials: NEUBAUER, C.J.

Focus: Easement – Damages

This is a dispute between neighbors over the shoveling of snow between their properties. Sharon Beth Kitzerow appeals from an order dismissing her action against Kelly and Melanie Thorne, in which Kitzerow asserted the Thornes violated an easement by shoveling snow with salt onto her property, damaging the grass. She also contended the Thornes’ son damaged her garage by hitting it with a basketball. Because Kitzerow agreed to let the Thornes place the snow removed from their driveway onto her property without specifying that they were required to remove any salt, and because Kitzerow failed to show that the Thornes damaged her property or to identify how the son damaged her garage, we affirm.

Full Text

WI Court of Appeals – District IV

Case Name: Christine Michelle Adamavich v. Brian David Adamavich

Case No.: 2019AP777

Officials: Fitzpatrick, P.J., Blanchard, and Nashold, JJ.

Focus: Abuse of Discretion – Motion to Modify Child Support Denied

Brian Adamavich appeals a post-divorce order denying his motion to modify his child support obligation. We conclude that the circuit court did not erroneously exercise its discretion in denying Brian’s motion and, therefore, we affirm the order.

Full Text

WI Court of Appeals – District IV

Case Name: City of Mayville v. State of Wisconsin Department of Administration, et al.,

Case No.: 2019AP882

Officials: KLOPPENBURG, J.

Focus: Statutory Interpretation – Cooperative Plan

This case concerns a cooperative plan (the Plan) prepared pursuant to WIS. STAT. § 66.0307 (2017-18) by the Village of Kekoskee and the Town of Williamstown and approved by the Department of Administration (the Department). The Village of Kekoskee is surrounded wholly by the Town of Williamstown’s territory. The Plan provides in pertinent part for: (1) the “attachment” by the Village of Kekoskee of all territory located in the Town of Williamstown by eliminating the boundary between the Village of Kekoskee and the Town of Williamstown, resulting in the elimination of the Town of Williamstown; (2) the renaming of the newly expanded Village of Kekoskee as the “Village of Williamstown”; and (3) the creation of a “Village of Williamstown Detachment Area” in portions of what would be the newly expanded Village territory which are “adjacent and proximate” to the City of Mayville.

The City of Mayville, which is also surrounded wholly by the Town of Williamstown’s territory, and which under the Plan would instead be wholly surrounded by Village territory, sought judicial review of the Department’s approval of the Plan. The circuit court determined that Mayville has standing to seek judicial review of the Department’s approval of the Plan. The court also determined that the Department erroneously approved the Plan because WIS. STAT. § 66.0307 “does not allow a Village to absorb an entire Township [as stated in the Plan].” Therefore, the circuit court reversed the Department’s decision approving the Plan and remanded the case to the Department.

The Village and the Department appeal the circuit court’s determinations regarding both Mayville’s standing and Mayville’s challenge to the Department’s approval of the Plan. We conclude that Mayville has standing under the applicable judicial review statutes, WIS. STAT. §§ 227.52 and 227.53, because it is aggrieved by the Department’s decision approving the Plan in that Mayville’s statutory right to be made a party to the Plan was violated. We also conclude that the Department made an error of law in approving the Plan because the Plan does not comply with WIS. STAT. § 66.0307(2). Specifically: (1) WISCONSIN STAT. § 66.0307(2) requires that a municipality whose boundary is changed or maintained by a cooperative plan under that section must be a party to the cooperative plan; (2) “change” to a “boundary” or “boundary line” as used in WIS. STAT. § 66.0307 means the physical alteration of, or difference in a geographic line or demarcation of, the limits of an area; (3) WISCONSIN STAT. § 66.0307(2) also states that a cooperative plan shall provide one or more of four delineated means by which a boundary line may be changed or maintained, and paragraphs 66.0307(2)(b) and (c) specify two of those means, consisting of optional boundary line changes that may occur subject to conditions set forth in the cooperative plan; (4) the Plan through creation of the “Village of Williamstown Detachment Area” provides for optional changes to Mayville’s boundary lines subject to the occurrence of conditions set forth in the Plan, but the Plan does not include Mayville as a party.

Accordingly, for reasons separate from those stated by the circuit court, we affirm the circuit court’s order reversing the Department’s decision and remand to the circuit court to remand to the Department for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Recommended for Publication

Full Text

WI Court of Appeals – District IV

Case Name: Sauk County v. S.A.M.

Case No.: 2019AP1033

Officials: NASHOLD, J.

Focus: Prisoner – Involuntary Commitment

S.A.M. challenges an order of the circuit court extending his involuntary commitment for a six-month period. The extension, also referred to in this opinion as a recommitment, expired on or about February 1, 2019. For the reasons set forth below, I conclude that S.A.M.’s challenge to the recommitment order is moot and that S.A.M. has not shown that an exception to the mootness doctrine applies. Therefore, S.A.M.’s appeal is dismissed.

Full Text

WI Court of Appeals – District IV

Case Name: City of Stoughton v. Erik J. Olson, et al.,

Case No.: 2019AP1872

Officials: Kloppenburg, Graham, and Nashold, JJ.

Focus: Statutory Interpretation – Underage and Intoxicated Persons – Bowling Centers

This appeal is about the meaning of the term “bowling centers” as it is used in WIS. STAT. § 125.07(3)(a) (2017-18). That statute generally prohibits anyone under the legal drinking age from entering or being on premises that are licensed to sell alcohol, but it lists many exemptions, including one that allows underage individuals to be on the premises of “bowling centers” that have alcohol licenses. See § 125.07(3)(a)3.

The parties dispute whether a dedicated bar area within a bowling center is covered by this exemption. The City of Stoughton contends that any portion of a bowling center that is dedicated primarily to the sale or consumption of alcohol is carved out from the exemption. The defendants, Erik Olson and Carter Smith, contend that the exemption applies to the entire center, including the bar area on the premises. We agree with the defendants and therefore affirm the circuit court’s order, which dismissed citations that the City issued to the defendants for violating WIS. STAT. § 125.07(3)(a).

Recommended for Publication

Full Text

WI Supreme Court Digests

WI Supreme Court

Case Name: Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Theodore F. Mazza

Case No.: 2020 WI 73

Focus: Attorney Disciplinary Hearing

Attorney Theodore F. Mazza has filed a petition for voluntary revocation of his license to practice law in Wisconsin pursuant to Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 22.19. Attorney Mazza is the respondent in a case in which the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) has alleged 13 counts of misconduct arising out of two client matters. The OLR sought revocation of Attorney Mazza’s law license and also sought restitution on behalf of the two clients. Attorney Mazza is also currently the subject of three additional pending OLR grievance matters that have not yet been fully investigated by the OLR or brought before the Preliminary Review Committee. Attorney Mazza states in his petition that he cannot successfully defend against these multiple counts of misconduct. By order dated May 15, 2020, Referee Kim M. Peterson recommends that Attorney Mazza’s license to practice law in Wisconsin be revoked and that he be ordered to make restitution to three clients.

Attorney’s license revoked.

Concur:

Dissent:
Full Text


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*