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Legal News

SEC approves rule increasing protection

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently approved a controversial rule proposal that will add significant protections for investors purchasing or exchanging deferred variable annuities. Deferred variable annuities are life insurance annuity contracts whose value fluctuates over time, and whose income is not received immediately but delayed to a future date. The deferred variable annuity rule imposes new requirements on ...

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Supreme Court accepts case against Wisconsin dioceses

On Oct. 25, the Wisconsin Supreme Court accepted the case of five men who claimed the Roman Catholic dioceses in Madison and Milwaukee covered up a Kentucky teacher’s history of sexual abuse of them as children. In October 2005, Kenneth Hornback, Dennis L. Bolton, Ronald W. Kuhl, David W. Schaeffer and Glenn M. Bonn sued the Milwaukee Archdiocese and Madison ...

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Will Shabaz’s move to senior status slow down ‘rocket docket’?

Have no fear, speed litigators. Most observers say the “rocket docket” is here to stay – although its velocity might take a slight decrease. On Oct. 4, in a brief letter to President George W. Bush, Western District of Wisconsin Judge John C. Shabaz announced his intention to go to senior status, thereby lowering his workload, if a new district ...

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Shabaz reflects on ‘rocket docket’ legacy

I left a message requesting a short telephone interview with federal District Judge John C. Shabaz, in the wake of his announcement that he’ll be assuming senior status when a successor is confirmed, on or before Jan. 20, 2009. The former chief judge of the Western District, and 25-year federal jurist in the Madison-based court, called back within 10 minutes. ...

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Attorney rides rollercoaster by helping clients in crisis

Attorney Bruce G. Arnold stepped onto a rollercoaster 26 years ago when he joined Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek, S.C., in Milwaukee and he has enjoyed the ride ever since. Arnold compares his dual practices in bankruptcy and health care to the adrenaline rush of a coaster car reaching its summit and the journey of twists and turns that inevitably follows. A ...

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Federal enticement statute held constitutional

The federal statute against using a facility of interstate commerce to entice a minor to engage in a sexual act is constitutional. The Seventh Circuit reached that decision on Oct 9, despite the statute’s lacking an explicit element that the defendant knew the victim’s age. In 2003, Francois Coté, a 47-year-old living in New York, entered a chatroom that was ...

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Closely-held corp.’s former shareholder can sue accountant

An Oct. 2 opinion from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals enables shareholders in closely-held corporations to settle their grievances with each other, sever their ties, and move on, while preserving the ability to pursue third parties, such as accountants who may also be liable for damages. In this case, Henry J. Krier and Michal Vilione owned three separate but related ...

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Three attorneys oversee billion-dollar network at Modine

Wisconsin Law Journal takes a look at the way two in-house law departments – one small and one large – address legal issues for two different types of companies. Dean R. Zakos, vice president and general counsel for Modine, discusses how his small legal department handles legal issues for a billion-dollar, international manufacturing company. Robert J. Berdan, vice president and ...

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Resources allow company to keep majority of legal load in-house

For Northwestern Mutual, the best policy is to have its entire in-house legal staff in one house. The multi-billion-dollar insurance and finance company has 153 attorneys, paralegals, assistants and technicians working out of its home office in downtown Milwaukee. It is there that the staff handles 75 percent of the company’s legal workload from 350 offices nationwide. Rather than establish ...

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Private attorney finds meaning running SPD Board for 20 years

Q & A with Daniel M. Berkos Limited income for private attorneys, annual budget constraints and difficult clients are trademarks of the State Public Defender’s Office in Wisconsin. But it is those challenges that make the job worthwhile, according to attorney Daniel M. Berkos. Since April 1987, Berkos has been chairman of the Public Defender Board and championed the needs ...

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Commerce Clause Case Analysis

Although the court reaffirms prior holdings that a statute can pass muster under the dormant commerce clause, even if it has no discriminatory effect on interstate commerce, if it lacks any rational justification at all, it is difficult to imagine how a plaintiff could meet this standard after this case. The state’s purported justification for the statute is minimal, and ...

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Will one of six nominees move forward by November 2008?

Judge Michael B. Brennan J.D. Conferred: Northwestern University School of Law, 1989 Appointed to Circuit Court in 2000; elected in 2001; re-elected 2007 Served as a state prosecutor for three years. Also in private practice, civil litigation for four years. Served as law clerk on federal district and federal appellate courts, 2 years each. Judge J. Mac Davis J.D. Conferred: ...

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Judge Utschig: Current monthly income must be based on actual income

By David Ziemer [email protected] What the court held Case: In re Mancl, No. 06-10764-13. Issue: Is “current monthly income” to be based on circumstances at the time of filing, or current conditions? Holding: Current conditions, if the Form B22C does not reasonably project future income. Attorneys: For Debtors, George B. Goyke, Wausau; Trustee, Leslie Brodhead Griffith, Madison. A debtor’s “current ...

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Venue Case Analysis

In light of the ubiquity of cell phones, the admissibility of a defendant’s consultations with counsel prior to arrest is an issue that is likely to occur more often than in the past. Unfortunately, the court’s discussion of pre-arrest consultation of counsel has potential to be a trap for the unwary attorney. The court declined to decide the merits of ...

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Clevert discusses 30 years on the bench

(Thurgood Marshall) is certainly one who inspired me greatly because of his courage, his background with regard to civil rights and his desire to see to it that there was equal justice under law.” Hon. Charles N. Clevert As a teenager in Richmond, Va., Charles N. Clevert knew he wanted to pursue a legal career after an encounter with then-attorney ...

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Senate judges bill awaits executive committee action

Director of State Courts A. John Voelker tells the state Senate Judiciary and Corrections Committee about the need for seven additional judges in the state. Voelker’s comments came during a Sept. 11 public hearing before the Senate Committee at the state Capitol. WLJ Photo by Jack Zemlicka Justice delayed is justice denied. Those were the sentiments of Wisconsin State Rep. ...

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