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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court's orders granting the City of Whitehalls' motion to dismiss the Town of Lincoln's action challenging the City's annexation of a portion of the Town, holding that the court of appeals erred in limiting the grounds on which the Town may challenge the annexation. On appeal, the Town argued that the decision of the court of appeals was based on the erroneous classification of the petition as one for direct annexation by unanimous approval even though the annexation petition lacked the required signatures of all landowners. The Supreme Court agreed, holding (1) the annexation petition was not a petition for direct annexation by unanimous approval; and (2) because the limitations on annexation challenges set forth in Wis. Stat. 66.0217(11)(c) pertain only to petitions for direct annexation by unanimous approval, those limitations did not apply in this case. View "Town of Lincoln v. City of Whitehall" on Justia Law

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In this case brought by two members of an LLC against another member after the LLC sold valuable assets to a company owned by the defendant, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court denying the defendant's motion for summary judgment on the plaintiffs' claim that the defendant willfully failed to deal fairly with them while having a material conflict of interest, holding that there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether the defendant violated Wis. Stat. 183.0402(1). Daniel Marx and Michael Murray brought this action against Richard Morris, alleging that Morris violated the Wisconsin Limited Liability Company Law, Wis. Stat. ch. 183 and alleging a number of common-law claims involving improper self-dealing. Marx and Murray brought their claims in their individual LLC and personal capacities. The circuit court denied Morris's motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed and remanded for further proceedings, holding (1) the members of an LLC have standing to assert individual claims against other members and managers of the LLC based on harm to the members or harm to the LLC; and (2) there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether Morris violated section 183.0402(1) by dealing unfairly with Marx and Murray, and potentially with regard to the common law claims. View "Marx v. Morris" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the order of the circuit court denying Defendant's motion to withdraw his plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect (NGI), holding that a circuit court is not required to inform an NGI defendant of the maximum possible term of civil commitment at the guilt phase. Defendant's motion to withdraw his NGI plea was based on the circuit court providing inaccurate information to him concerning the maximum period of civil commitment should he prevail on his affirmative defense to his criminal charges. The court of appeals affirmed the circuit court's denial of Defendant's motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, for two reasons given in this opinion, a circuit court is not required to inform an NGI defendant of the maximum possible term of civil commitment at the guilt phase. View "State v. Fugere" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the MacLeish children's claim against the Boardman law firm for legal malpractice, holding that Charles MacLeish's clear testamentary intent was not thwarted by any alleged negligence on the part of Boardman, and therefore, the action was properly dismissed. David, Hayden, Kay, and Robin MacLeish brought this action against Boardman, the law firm that administered their father's estate. The circuit court dismissed the complaint. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the children failed to demonstrate that Boardman's alleged negligent administration of their father's estate thwarted his clear testamentary intent. The Supreme Court declined the children's request to abandon Auric v. Continental Casualty Co., 331 N.W.2d 325 (1983), and affirmed, holding (1) the Auric exception to the rule of nonliability of an attorney to a non-client applies to the administration of an estate in addition to the drafting and execution of a will; (2) applying Auric to the facts of this case, the father's clear testamentary intent was not thwarted by Boardman's alleged negligence; and (3) therefore, the circuit court correctly dismissed the legal malpractice claim. View "MacLeish v. Boardman & Clark LLP" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the circuit court granting Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ complaint claiming entitlement to unpaid wages based on his commute time in a company van, holding that commute time in a company-provided vehicle is not compensable under Wisconsin law. Field service technicians employed by Defendant traveled to customers’ locations in Defendant’s vans and had the choice of commuting between work and home in either their personal vehicles or the company’s vans. Defendant did not provide compensation time for technicians’ travel time between home and work, leading Plaintiffs to file this lawsuit. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The court of appeals reversed, holding that genuine issues of material facts existed as to whether Wisconsin’s statutes and regulations require payment for commuting time in a company-provided vehicle. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that travel is not compensable where an employee drives a company-provided vehicle between home and a jobsite. View "Kieninger v. Crown Equipment Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court interpreted Milwaukee County General Ordinance 201.24(4.1) to mean that employees not covered by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) were entitled to the benefit of the “Rule of 75” if they were hired prior to January 1, 2006, and that, on September 29, 2011, the operative date of the County’s amended ordinance, members of Milwaukee District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (DC-48) were not covered by the terms of a CBA because the last CBA had expired. At issue were pension benefits, known as the Rule of 75, to certain DC-48 members. The County enacted an ordinance granting Rule of 75 benefits to all employees “not covered by the terms of a [CBA]” as long as those employees were hired before 2006. DC-48 sought a declaratory judgment that its members were not covered by the terms of a CBA and that all members hired prior to January 1, 2006 were eligible for the Rule of 75. The circuit court concluded that DC-48 members were not covered by the terms of a CBA on September 29, 2011. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, pursuant to an active CBA, the members of DC-48 were not “covered by the terms” of a CBA on September 29, 2011. View "Milwaukee District Council 48 v. Milwaukee County" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court convicting Defendant of first-degree intentional homicide for shooting Dale Meister, the father of his granddaughter, and sentencing him to life in prison without the possibility of release to extended supervision, holding that Defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confrontation was not violated in this case. Specifically, the Court held (1) because Meister’s statements to family and friends about Defendant were not testimonial and therefore did not implicate the Confrontation Clause, this Court need not reach the certified questions regarding the forfeiture by wrongdoing exception to the right of confrontation; (2) “other acts” evidence of Defendant’s prior burglary was properly admitted for the purpose of challenging Defendant’s asserted memory problems; and (3) Defendant’s counsel was not ineffective either at trial or at sentencing. View "State v. Reinwand" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the circuit court declaring Wis. Stat. 165.95(1)(a) and (3)(c) unconstitutional as applied to Defendant, holding that circuit court erred in declaring the statute unconstitutional. Defendant was undergoing treatment in the Iowa County Drug Treatment Court program when he picked up new drug charges. Based on those charges, the State moved to expel Defendant from the drug treatment court program pursuant to section 165.95(3)(c). While the expulsion hearing was pending, Defendant pled no contest to possession of heroin. Defendant subsequently filed a motion challenging the constitutionality of Wis. Stat. 165.95(1)(a) and (3)(c). The circuit court issued a declaratory judgment ruling that sections 165.95(1)(a) and (3)(c) violated Defendant’s substantive and procedural due process rights. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s order after Defendant conceded that the circuit court erred in declaring section 165.95 unconstitutional, holding (1) Defendant did not have a fundamental liberty interest in continued participation in a treatment court funded by section 165.95; and (2) section 165.95 need not define expulsion procedures for treatment courts in order to survive a procedural due process challenge. View "State v. Keister" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the circuit court sustaining the the Board of Review for the Town of Delafield’s reclassification of two lots of land owned by Appellants from “agricultural land” to “residential”, holding that the two lots at issue were entitled to be classified as agricultural land as a matter of law. In reversing the circuit court, the court of appeals determined that a business purpose was not necessary for land to be classified as agricultural land for property tax purposes and that the assessor’s determination of the appropriate classification was driven by his erroneous understand of the law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a business purpose is not required for land to be classified as agricultural land for property tax purposes; and (2) the two lots at issue were entitled to be classified as agricultural land. View "Peter Ogden Family Trust of 2008 v. Board of Review for the Town of Delafield" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals remanding this case to the circuit court with directions to amend Defendant’s judgment of conviction to reflect the sentence credit Defendant requested for time that he spent at liberty after being mistakenly released from prison without being transferred pursuant to a detainer to serve remaining conditional jail time, holding that Defendant was not entitled to the sentence credit. Specifically, the Court held (1) for the purpose of receiving sentence credit under Wis. Stat. 973.155, a defendant is “in custody” whenever the defendant is subject to an escape charge under Wis. Stat. 946.42 or another statute which expressly provides for an escape charge; and (2) Defendant in this case was not entitled to sentence credit because Defendant, who was at liberty, could not have been subject to conviction for escape under section 946.42. View "State v. Friedlander" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law