Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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Applying Wis. Stat. 70.47(7)(aa) and Wis. Stat. 74.37(4)(a) in a manner that required submission to a tax assessor’s search as a precondition to challenging the revaluation of their property violated Plaintiffs’ due process rights. Plaintiffs brought this case claiming that the assessment of their real property was excessive and that sections 70.47(7)(aa) and 74.37(4)(a), as applied, were unconstitutional because they conditioned their right to challenge the assessor’s valuation of the property on submission to a search of the interior of their home. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the Town. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that sections 70.47(7)(aa) and 73.37(4)(a) were unconstitutionally applied to Plaintiffs. View "Milewski v. Town of Dover" on Justia Law

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An employee is not eligible for benefits under Wis. Stat. 102.42(1m) if the disability-causing treatment was directed at treating something other than the employee’s compensable injury. Plaintiff suffered from a soft-tissue strain, which was work-related, and a degenerate disc disease, which was not work-related. In the belief that it was necessary to treat her soft-tissue strain, Plaintiff underwent surgery, which, in actuality, was treating the unrelated degenerative disc disease. The procedure left Plaintiff with a permanent partial disability. Plaintiff filed a workers’ compensation claim, which the * Commission denied. The circuit court affirmed. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that, based on its interpretation of section 102.42(1m), an employee need only have a good faith belief that the treatment was required. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals and affirmed the Commission’s order dismissing Plaintiff’s claim for disability benefits, holding that Plaintiff’s claim must be allowed because her surgery treated her pre-existing condition, not her compensable injury. View "Flug v. Labor & Industry Review Commission" on Justia Law

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The thirty-day period under Wis. Stat. 68.13(1) during which certiorari review may be obtained for a town board’s highway order to lay out, alter, or discontinue a highway begins to run on the date that the highway order is recorded by the register of deeds. In this case, the circuit court granted the town boards’ motions to dismiss Appellant’s petitions for certiorari review of highway orders recorded in Rock and Walworth Counties. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for certiorari review in either Walworth County Circuit Court or Rock County Circuit Court because Appellant’s petitions were filed within thirty days of the dates on which the highway orders were recorded by the registers of deeds. View "Pulera v. Town of Richmond" on Justia Law

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The circuit court affirmed a determination by the Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) that Appellant was ineligible for unemployment benefits because she was terminated for substantial fault. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant was entitled to unemployment compensation because her actions did not fit within the definition of substantial fault as set forth in Wis. Stat. 103.04(5g)(a) where she was terminated for committing “one or more inadvertent errors” during the course of her employment. Remanded to LIRC to determine the amount of unemployment benefits Appellant was owed. View "Operton v. Labor & Industry Review Commission" on Justia Law

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Madison, Wis., Gen. Ordinances 3.14(4)(h) created the City of Madison’s Department of Transportation and Transit and Parking Commission and empowered the Commission to establish rules and procedures. In 2005, The Commission adopted a Rule prohibiting passengers from bearing weapons on the Metro Transit. Petitioners sought to harmonize the Rule with the Concealed-Carry Statute, Wis. Stat. 175.60, which authorized Wisconsin residents to carry concealed weapons upon obtaining the required license. Petitioners filed an amended complaint arguing that Madison, Wis., Gen. Ordinances 3.14(4)(h) offended the Local Regulation Statute, Wis. Stat. 66.0409. The circuit court dismissed the amended complaint, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Local Regulation Statute has withdrawn authority from the City, either through its governing body or its sub-units, to regulate the subjects identified in the statute in a manner more stringent than an analogous state statute; and (2) the Concealed-Carry Statute preempts the City’s authority to restrict a licensee’s right to carry concealed weapons on the City’s buses so long as the licensee complies with the statute’s requirements. View "Wisconsin Carry, Inc. v. City of Madison" on Justia Law

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The circuit court dismissed an action brought by Vilas County District Attorney Albert Moustakis who sought to restrain the Wisconsin Department of Justice from releasing records pertaining to Moustakis in response to a public records request by The Lakeland Times, a newspaper located in Minocqua. The request sought records of any "complaints or investigations regarding Vilas County District Attorney Al Moustakis" and records "regarding any investigation of [Moustakis's] conduct or handling of cases while district attorney." The request also sought "information related to complaints and investigations regarding Mr. Moustakis that were completed or ended without any action taken against him[,]" as well as "any communications between Mr. Moustakis and [Department of Justice] since he took office in 1995." The court of appeals affirmed the order of the circuit court. Finding no error in the circuit or appellate courts' decisions, the Supreme Court also affirmed. View "Moustakis v. Wisconsin Department of Justice" on Justia Law

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The Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) concluded that Joell Schigur had proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the Department of Justice (DOJ) took unlawful retaliatory action against her because she lawfully disclosed, or the DOJ believed that she lawfully disclosed, information under Wis. Stat. 230.81. The circuit court reversed the decision of the DWD. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) an opinion alone, as to the lawfulness or appropriateness of government activity, is not “information” as defined in section 230.80(5); (2) the communication at issue in this case was not a “disclosure” under section 230.81 because the information was already known to the persons receiving the communication; and (3) Schigur’s assertion that the DOJ believed that she disclosed information rested on a misinterpretation of section 230.80(8)(c) and therefore failed. View "State Dep’t of Justice v. State Dep’t of Workforce Dev." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, referred to collectively as the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA), filed a complaint against Defendant, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (Commission), arguing that Wis. Admin. Code ch. PSC 128 - titled “Wind Energy Systems” - is invalid because it was promulgated by the Commission without compliance with statutory rule-making procedures. The specific issue presented in this case was whether, under Wis. Stat. 227.115(2), the Department of Commerce was required as a matter of law to prepare a housing impact report before Wis. Admin. Code ch. PSC 128 was submitted to the Legislative Council staff for review. The circuit court granted summary judgment to the Commission, concluding that Wis. Admin. Code ch. PSC 128 was duly promulgated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) WRA did not demonstrate that a housing impact report was required as a matter of law for Wis. Admin. Code ch. PSC 128; and (2) invalidating Wis. Admin. Code ch. PSC 128 under the circumstances would infringe on the role of the legislature, which the Court declined to do. View "Wis. Realtors Ass’n v. Pub. Serv. Comm’n of Wis." on Justia Law

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The Journal Times of Racine and its editor (collectively, the Newspaper) commenced this mandamus action under Wis. Stat. 19.37(1)(a) after the City of Racine Board of Police and Fire Commissioners (Commission) denied the Newspaper’s request seeking information pertaining to a special meeting that the Commission held in closed session. The Commission subsequently provided the Newspaper the information it had requested. The circuit court granted the Commission’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that the Newspaper’s record request had become moot. The court of appeals reversed and remanded solely for a determination of whether the Newspaper was entitled to attorney fees and costs. The Newspaper appealed, arguing that the court of appeals erred in remanding the matter where the award should instead by made as a matter of law. The Commission also appealed, arguing that the Newspaper did not prevail in its lawsuit. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Newspaper did not prevail in substantial part in the action and was therefore not entitled to its requested relief. View "Journal Times v. City of Racine Bd. of Police & Fire Comm’rs" on Justia Law

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Oneida Seven Generations Corporation proposed a renewable energy facility and sought a conditional use permit to install the facility in the City of Green Bay. The City voted to approve the conditional use permit but later voted to rescind the permit on the grounds that it was obtained through misrepresentation. The circuit court affirmed the City’s decision to rescind. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the City’s decision that the permit was obtained through misrepresentation was not supported by substantial evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, based on the evidence presented, the City could not reasonably conclude that the statements by Oneida Seven’s representative regarding the facility’s operations were misrepresentations. View "Oneida Seven Generations Corp. v. City of Green Bay" on Justia Law