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Sanctions – Attorney Fees

WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: Dakota Intertek Corp., City of Wausau

Case No.: 2019AP591

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

Focus: Sanctions – Attorney Fees

Dakota Intertek Corp. appeals a judgment dismissing its breach of contract claim against the City of Wausau. Dakota, which had been awarded a service contract from the City, settled an outstanding invoice from a supplier by virtue of a mutual release that specifically included Dakota’s claim against the City. Nonetheless, Dakota argues that its claim against the City—or at least certain damages theories—survived the execution of the release. Dakota also argues the circuit court erroneously awarded the City attorney fees as a sanction for Dakota’s conduct in continuing to pursue a frivolous claim.

We reject Dakota’s arguments. The City was an express third-party beneficiary to the release agreement between Dakota and its supplier. Moreover, the release included the breach of contract claim and all associated damages theories advanced by Dakota in this lawsuit. Finally, Dakota offers no independent basis for challenging the circuit court’s sanctions award, and we perceive no basis to reverse that award. Accordingly, we affirm.

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Derek A Hawkins is trademark corporate counsel for Harley-Davidson. Hawkins oversees the prosecution and maintenance of the Harley-Davidson’s international trademark portfolio in emerging markets.

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