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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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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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Narrow fraud-in-the-inducement exception adopted

“The misrepresentations concerned matters related to the performance of the contract itself, and as such, cannot be found to be extraneous to the contractual dispute. Accordingly, Digicorp is limited to contract remedies … The fraud in the inducement exception to ...

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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 excuses exhaustion of remedies

“Had the contract been signed on its effective start date, the employees would have received their raises. … People who worked in the bargaining unit during the term of the agreement are entitled to be paid according to its terms.” ...

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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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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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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 offers must account for attorney fees

“When making an offer of judgment, the defendant is properly held to include [attorney] fees… From that it logically follows that the trial court should also include attorney fees in the judgment when it measures the offer against the judgment.” ...

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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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Cooperating witness’ sentence irrelevant

“Defense counsel was able to … question Anderson-El about his charges and whether he expected to get a benefit from testifying. However, … the actual sentence imposed was not relevant to any incentives the prosecution may have given Anderson-El for ...

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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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$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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Confession during alcohol withdrawal involuntary

“Though the court of appeals and the circuit court did not identify a single act by the police that was egregious, put together, the actions of the police and the personal characteristics of Hoppe indicate that Hoppe’s statements were involuntary.” ...

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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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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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Asset purchaser does not assume unknown liabilities

“Even if the contract might be considered ambiguous regarding the liabilities assumed by Wisconsin Gas, the more reasonable, fair and just construction, which conforms with established business practices, is that Wisconsin Gas only assumed certain known liabilities.” Justice William A. ...

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Asset Purchase Case Analysis

The decision is important for reversing a decision which, in the words of Judge Patience Roggensack, dissenting from the court of appeals’ decision, “create[d] uncertainty in commercial transactions throughout Wisconsin where asset purchase agreements have been common occurrences.” Ultimately, the ...

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Reversal required when juror can’t understand

“It is clear that the error of allowing Vera to serve as a juror contrary to the statutes was not harmless, because his stated inability to understand English prevented him from meaningful participation in the trial process.” Justice N. Patrick ...

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English Case Analysis

A question raised by the case is what constitutes harmless error, and whether, as the dissent suggests, the majority opinion implicitly makes error grounds for reversal per se. The comments by both the concurrence and dissent — that the majority ...

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State Bar, courts celebrate past, future

“Judicial independence remains the cornerstone of our democracy and our judiciary.” Hon. Shirley S. Abrahamson Chief Justice Wisconsin Supreme Court “You say it’s your birthday? Well it’s my birthday too, yeah.” That famous refrain from the Beatles could’ve been the ...

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Board resolution seeks EEOC hearings

Be it resolved that the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section of the Wisconsin Bar requests that the Board of Governors: 1) Communicate with EEOC officials and members of the Wisconsin Congres-sional delegation urging that prior to any restructuring there be ...

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Notice of claim statute inapplicable to condemnation

“The inquiry is to determine whether some legislative goal, be it prompt resolution or another purpose, will be thwarted by requiring compliance with sec. 893.80(1) as a precondition to commencing an action under the statute.” Judge David G. Deininger Wisconsin ...

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Condemnation Case Analysis

It was obvious when the Supreme Court issued its decision in DNR v. Waukesha that it would be impossible for parties in numerous types of actions with statutes of limitation less than 120 days to both file a notice of ...

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Issue preclusion applies to municipal ticket

What the court held Case: Ann M. Masko v. City of Madison, No. 02-2267. Issue: Should the doctrine of issue preclusion bar an injured motorist, who was convicted after a municipal court trial of a traffic violation, from bringing suit ...

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Issue Preclusion Case Analysis

Unfortunately, in the wake of this decision, motorists who are involved in automobile accidents and receive municipal citations will be wise to plead no contest rather than fight the citation, regardless of how much they feel they may be in ...

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