Articles Posted in Commercial Law

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SB1 Waukesha County, LLC and Decade Properties, Inc. were two judgment creditors of defendant Jack Collier. SB1 purchased from Associated Bank, N.A. a portion of a default judgment against Collier. Subsequently, Decade obtained a judgment against Collier personally. Each party claimed that they were entitled to collect on Collier’s personal property. The Supreme Court held (1) because SB1 was the first judgment creditor with a docketed money judgment to levy specific, non-exempt personal property of Collier, SB1 had priority over Decade in regard to specific personal property that SB1 identified and levied; but (2) there was no blanket lien in favor of SB1 or Decade that prevented other creditors from pursuing collection from Collier’s personal property. View "Associated Bank N.A. v. Collier" on Justia Law

Posted in: Commercial Law

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Defendants, Heartland Wisconsin Corp. and Town Bank, were creditors of a Milwaukee real estate investor and landlord (Debtor). The issue in this case was which defendant had priority over proceeds of the Debtor’s legal malpractice claim that was held in escrow pending resolution of their dispute. Heartland claimed that the Debtor validly assigned the proceeds of his legal malpractice claim, which gave Heartland a security interest in those proceeds that was superior to Town Bank’s interest. Town Bank claimed that it obtained a superior interest in the proceeds by levy and that proceeds from legal malpractice claims are not assignable. The Supreme Court concluded (1) the debtor lawfully assigned the potential proceeds from his legal malpractice claim as collateral for a debt to Heartland; and (2) Heartland perfected a security interest in the proceeds before Town Bank obtained a superior interest in the proceeds, and therefore, Heartland was entitled to the proceeds. View "Attorney's Title Guar. Fund, Inc. v. Town Bank" on Justia Law

Posted in: Commercial Law

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Crown Castle USA, Inc. commenced an action against Orion Construction Group, LLC in Pennsylvania seeking monetary damages to satisfy an account receivable. The court entered default judgment against Orion Construction, and Crown Castle filed its foreign judgment in the office of the clerk of court of Outagamie County. The county court commissioner ordered Orion Logistics, LLC, a non-judgment debtor third party, to testify at a supplemental proceeding. The court of appeals affirmed the order. At issue on appeal was whether Orion Logistics could be compelled to testify at the supplemental proceeding under Wis. Stat. 816.06 when it was not a judgment debtor. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that section 816.06 does not grant a judgment creditor the right to compel a non-judgment debtor third party to testify at supplemental proceedings. View "Crown Castle USA, Inc. v. Orion Logistics, LLC" on Justia Law

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This case centered on a dispute between Jack Link and his two sons, Jay and Troy. Jack and Troy filed suit against Jay seeking specific performance of an agreement that would require Jay to surrender his shares in Link Snacks. Jay filed counterclaims alleging Jack and Troy had breached fidicuiary duties owed to Jay by squeezing Jay out of Link Snacks to buy Jay's shares. The circuit court (1) granted specific enforcement of the agreement; (2) concluded that Jay had not been oppressed by Jack and Troy; and (3) remitted the jury's punitive damages award against Jack for breaching fiduciary duties to Jay. The court of appeals granted Jack partial dismissal of Jay's appeal and reversed the circuit court order remitting the punitive damages award against Jack. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the circuit court erred in remitting the award of punitive damages against Jack; (2) the court of appeals properly rejected Jay's oppression claim; and (3) Jay did not, under the benefit-estoppel doctrine, waive his right to appeal the circuit court's decision to limit the evidence Jay could present regarding his theory of damages relating to his breach of fiduciary duty claims. Remanded. View "Link Snacks, Inc. v. Link " on Justia Law

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Court-appointed receiver Michael Polsky filed a complaint against defendants Daniel Virnich and Jack Moores, owners and officers of Communications Products, for breach of their fiduciary duties to the corporation after Communications Products defaulted on a loan to its largest creditor. The Supreme Court accepted review but split three to three. On return to the court of appeals, the judgment was reversed. Polsky filed a petition to review, which the Supreme Court granted. The Court then affirmed the court of appeals. The current action involved Polsky's motion to disqualify Justice Roggensack, asserting that because Justice Roggensack had not participated in the case when it was previously certified to the Court and when the Court's decision remanded the matter to the court of appeals, she should have been disqualified from participation in the decision to affirm the court of appeals. The Supreme Court denied Polsky's motion, holding (1) the Court does not have the power to remove a justice from participating in an individual proceeding, on a case-by-case basis, and (2) due process is provided by the decisions of the individual justices who participate in the cases presented to the court. View "Polsky v. Virnich" on Justia Law

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Olsen's Mill, a grain elevator, and BNP Paribas, the elevator's largest creditor, entered into a voluntary assignment agreement for the benefit of creditors under Wis. Stat. 128 after Olsen's Mill defaulted on its obligations to Paribas. The circuit court approved of the assignment and ordered the sale of certain assets free and clear of Paribas's security interest without its consent. The court of appeals affirmed the order. On review, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals, holding (1) the circuit court erred by ordering the sale of Paribas's collateral free and clear of Paribas's security interest without its consent; and (2) the court contravened the statute by approving an offer that circumvented the order of distribution mandated by Ws. Stat. 128.17(1). Remanded for a determination of what remedy was available under the circumstances. View "BNP Paribas v. Olsen's Mill, Inc." on Justia Law