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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

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the circuit court denying the State’s motion to recall A.L.’s juvenile delinquency proceedings, holding that the court of appeals correctly reversed the circuit court’s decision. Specifically, the Court held (1) a circuit court can resume suspended juvenile delinquency proceedings to reexamine the competency of a juvenile who was initially found not competent to proceed under Wis. Stat. 938.30(5)(d) and not likely to become competent within the statutory time frame; and (2) the circuit court retains competency over juvenile delinquency proceedings even after an accompanying juvenile in need of protection or services order has expired. View "State v. A.L." on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals ruling that the allegations in Abbott Laboratories’ complaint against Ixthus Medical Supply, Inc. alleged a potentially covered advertising injury and, as a result, triggered West Bend Mutual Insurance Company’s duty to defend under the commercial general liability policy West Bend issued to Ixthus, holding that the court of appeals properly concluded that West Bend had a duty to defend Ixthus. The circuit court concluded that, although the allegations in Abbott’s complaint fell within the initial grant of coverage, the “knowing violation” exclusion applied, thereby eliminating any duty West Bend had to defend. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the knowing violation exclusion did not apply. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the allegations in the complaint fell within the initial grant of coverage; and (2) neither the knowing violation nor the “criminal acts” exclusions applied to remove West Bend’s duty to defend because the complaint alleged at least one potentially covered claim unaffected by either exclusion. View "West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. v. Ixthus Medical Supply, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the circuit court ordering the arbitration of a private construction dispute stayed, holding that the circuit court lacked the authority to issue the order staying the arbitration. In this private construction dispute, the circuit court ordered arbitration stayed until the court could decide an insurance coverage dispute between one of the contractors connected to the arbitration and the contractor’s insurer. CityDeck Landing LLC petitioned the Supreme Court for a supervisory writ asking the Court to exercising its superintending constitutional authority to vacate the circuit court’s order. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that the circuit court exceeded its jurisdiction by putting the private arbitration on hold. View "State ex rel. CityDeck Landing LLC v. Circuit Court for Brown County" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the termination of Father’s parental rights and remanded this case to the circuit court to conduct a new trial, holding that denying a defendant an opportunity to present his case-in-chief is a structural error, one that is so intrinsically harmful as to require automatic reversal. After the State petitioned the circuit court to terminate Father’s parental rights, the case went to trial. Immediately after the State rested and before giving Father an opportunity to present his case the circuit court decided that Father was an unfit parent. On appeal, the State admitted error but argued that the circuit court’s decision was subject to a harmless-error review. The court of appeals agreed with the State and concluded that the circuit court’s error was harmless. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the circuit court erred when it decided Father was an unfit parent before he had an opportunity to present his case; and (2) the error was structural, and the case must be remanded for a new trial. View "State v. C.L.K." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law