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Blinka takes Milwaukee Bar helm

“What attracted me to the law was the study of law in American history and world history.” Daniel Blinka An interest in the past moved Daniel Blinka toward his future as a lawyer and Marquette University Law School professor. Looking ...

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Attorney can concede guilt as strategy

“While conceding that the facts out of Gordon’s own mouth amounted to disorderly conduct while armed, Gordon’s attorney argued vigorously for acquittal on the more serious felony and misdemeanor counts. This was a reasonable tactical approach under the circumstances, plainly ...

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Concession Analysis

The decision, insofar as it concerns an attorney’s concession of guilt, brings Wisconsin in line with most jurisdictions and the Seventh Circuit, which has long recognized that an attorney may concede guilt to one charge in a multi-count trial as ...

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Damage caps may need to be pled

“There might be harm in a case such as this if for example a plaintiff had some leeway in classifying damages as economic rather than noneconomic, or if knowledge that noneconomic damages were unavailable would have induced her to devote ...

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Damage Caps Analysis

The decision has the potential to become a trap for Wisconsin defense attorneys who don’t spend much time in federal court, because damage caps need not be pleaded in Wisconsin state courts, but dicta in this case suggests they should ...

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Party can challenge service despite request

Equitable estoppel does not bar defendants from asserting the statute of limitations as a defense, even though the defendants’ attorney told the plaintiff that he would accept service of the complaint and summons in lieu of the defendants themselves, the ...

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Estoppel Analysis

The holding that the statute of limitations is not tolled pending a voluntarily dismissed federal action, but not a state one, creates a trap for the unwary that attorneys must pay attention to. Prior to this decision, even a very ...

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Immunity Analysis

Justice Bablitch asserted in his concurrence, "A doctrine of governmental immunity that has caused such injustice and inequity, in this case and others, cannot, and I predict, will not, stand much longer." It is likely that the court will soon ...

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Bill seeks new standard for SPD eligibility

Milwaukee Bar Association Executive Director Jim Paetsch watches as Rep. Terri McCormick announces her bill, which would increase eligibility standards for State Public Defender representation, which have remained unchanged since 1987. The new standards would be tied to W-2. A ...

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Just Cause Case Analysis

The court concluded that there is no generally accepted meaning of “just cause” in private employment contracts, and the term is ambiguous. However, there is a long-standing definition of “good cause” for discharge in private employment contracts, and, according to ...

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Inadvertent disclosure waives privilege

“The rule is necessary if the gears of the law are not to be embedded in the intractable sand of continual second-guessing and … attendant evidentiary hearings.” Judge Ralph Adam Fine Wisconsin Court of Appeals An attorney’s volitional act of ...

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Privilege Analysis

Given the importance of the issue, the likelihood that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will grant review, if petitioned, should be considered very high. The court has not considered waiver since the Dudek case in 1967, and the decision here greatly ...

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Administrative rule impacts land division

"I regard this new rule as one of the most serious complicating factors in developing commercial real estate that we’ve seen in several years." Nancy L. Haggerty, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP discussing Trans 233 A veteran real estate attorney ...

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Economic Loss Analysis

Because two justices did not participate, and none of the three opinions garnered a majority, the case engenders more uncertainty than it settles. Footnote 2 of the lead opinion sets forth the various actual holdings: "A majority of this court, ...

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Repudiation Case Analysis

In the wake of the decision, municipal employers would be well-advised not to refuse to submit grievances up the chain as a tactic in the "give and take of day to day labor relations." In this case, the only sanction ...

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Keep distribution house in order

“If you don’t have a written contract for your distribution channel, you still have a contract — you just don’t know what it is. Having some form of written contract is imperative.” Jon P. Christiansen Foley & Lardner Two key ...

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Settlement Analysis

The decision in this case will result in systematic extortion of inflated settlements in fee shifting cases. That is not a criticism of the decision, however, for a contrary holding would result in deflated settlements, just as systematically. The problem ...

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Sentence Case Analysis

The question raised by the decision is whether it should be interpreted as a broad holding that the sentences of cooperating witnesses are never relevant, and defendants can be prohibited from questioning such witnesses about them in all cases. Here, ...

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Court denies citation request

The Wisconsin Supreme Court finally decided that it will not allow the citation of unpublished decisions as persuasive authority, at the Court’s administrative conference last Wednesday. The court has been considering the proposal since last fall, and had previously voted ...

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$3.5 million in punitives not excessive

“The grievousness or reprehensibility of Tower’s conduct is clear from the record. Tower engaged in prohibited conduct while knowing or recklessly disregarding the lack of a reasonable basis for denying the claim. This court told Tower more than 30 years ...

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Punitive Damages Case Analysis

The decision raises at least two important questions in future cases: (1) can bad faith be found on summary judgment for all intentional torts, or just those alleging bad faith by an insurer; and (2) how can this decision be ...

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Voluntariness Analysis

Effectively, the decision removes any stigma from the term, “coercion.” Previous decisions used the terms “coercive” and “improper” interchangeably, and with negative connotations. In this case, the court has distinguished between the two, and held that conduct that is “coercive” ...

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