Articles Posted in Construction 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 affirmed as modified the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s postconviction motion, holding that trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance and that there was no Brady violation in the proceedings below. Appellant was convicted of sixteen felonies based on allegations that he had repeated sexual contact with two juveniles and exposed them to pornography. Appellant filed a postconviciton motion asserting, among other things, ineffective assistance of counsel claims and a claim that the State violated its obligations under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). The circuit court denied the postconviction motion. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) even if trial counsel’s performance was deficient, there was no prejudice to Defendant; and (2) the State did not violate Defendant’s due process rights under Brady when it failed to disclose impeachment evidence about a government witness’s pending charges. View "State v. Wayerski" on Justia Law

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Musson Brothers, Inc. was conducting sewer removal and installation as a contractor for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) when Mark Showers' property was flooded. Showers filed a complaint against Musson and the City alleging that the two entities were jointly and severally liable for the negligent acts or omissions that caused Showers' building to flood. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the City and Musson, finding that the entities were entitled to governmental immunity. The court of appeals affirmed the summary judgment for Musson, finding that Musson was entitled to governmental contractor immunity as a statutory "agent" under Wis. Stat. 893.80(4). The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Musson failed to show it was acting as a governmental entity's agent for purposes of the alleged injury-causing conduct because it was not acting pursuant to "reasonably precise specifications" as required under section 893.80(4); and (2) in asserting the defense of immunity Musson failed to assert that the acts for which it claimed immunity were "acts done in the exercise of legislative, quasi-legislative, judicial or quasi-judicial functions" as required under section 893.80(4). Remanded. View "Showers Appraisals, LLC v. Musson Bros., Inc. " on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his convictions of four counts of child enticement after the circuit court declined to suppress an incriminating statement Defendant made to police officers who were conducting a follow up investigation of incriminating admissions that Defendant made to his probation agent during a compelled polygraph examination. Defendant claimed that his admissions to the agent were subject to use and derivative use immunity, and that the derivative use immunity covered the subsequent statement he made to the police, even though this statement was preceded by a valid Miranda warning. The Supreme Court reversed Defendant's convictions, holding (1) Defendant's statement to officers was subject to derivative use immunity and could not be used in any subsequent criminal trial; and (2) Defendant's compelled statement to his probation agent, his subsequent statement to the police, and any evidence derived from either statement must be suppressed in any criminal trial. View "State v. Spaeth" on Justia Law