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Abuse of Discretion – Sufficiency of Evidence

By: Derek Hawkins//November 18, 2021

Abuse of Discretion – Sufficiency of Evidence

By: Derek Hawkins//November 18, 2021

WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: Eland Fisheree LLC, et al., v. Jennifer Brennan, et al.,

Case No.: 2020AP45

Officials: HRUZ, J.

Focus: Abuse of Discretion – Sufficiency of Evidence

Jennifer Brennan, Allen Osterbrink, and Eland Fisheree (collectively, the defendants) appeal from a $10,690.90 small claims judgment in favor of Eland Fisheree LLC (the LLC), James Stoltz, Cynthia VanLanen, and Denise Larson (collectively with the LLC, the plaintiffs).  This dispute arose after the plaintiffs took control of an informal organization that coordinated an annual fishing event in Eland, Wisconsin.  After taking control, the plaintiffs filed this small claims action to recover funds from the former leaders of the informal group—the defendants. The circuit court found that the plaintiffs successfully created a successor organization to coordinate the fishing event, and that they were entitled to their requested damages along with costs.

On appeal, the defendants argue that the circuit court lacked sufficient evidence to find the defendants liable; that it erroneously exercised its discretion in denying their motion to reconsider; and that we should reverse in the interest of justice. We conclude that sufficient evidence existed for the court to find the defendants liable; however, the evidence only supported an award of $9,960.99 in damages and costs. We also conclude that the court did not erroneously exercise its discretion in effectively denying the motion to reconsider, nor is discretionary reversal appropriate in this case. We therefore affirm the judgment in part, reverse in part, and remand for the court to modify the judgment to $9,960.99 in damages and costs.

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Derek A Hawkins is Corporate Counsel, at Salesforce.[/box]


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