Justia Wisconsin Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Personal Injury
Sanders v. State of Wis. Claims Bd.
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the circuit court affirming the decision of the State Claims Board awarding Appellant $25,000 in compensation after finding Appellant was innocent of a crime for which he was imprisoned, holding that Wis. Stat. 775.05(4) does not compel the Board to make a finding regarding adequacy.Appellant pled no contest to first-degree intentional homicide and spent approximately twenty-six years in prison. After his second guilty plea was vacated Appellant petitioned the State Claims Board for compensation, seeking more than $5.7 million. The Board awarded the maximum under Wis. Stat. 775.05(4). Appellant sought judicial review, arguing that the Board should have made a finding regarding the adequacy of the amount awarded. The circuit court affirmed, but the court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals grafted onto the statute a process the legislature did not sanction. View "Sanders v. State of Wis. Claims Bd." on Justia Law
Fleming v. Amateur Athletic Union of United States, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Femala Fleming's action against Amateur Athletic Union of the United States, Inc. (AAU) as untimely under Wis. Stat. 893.54, holding that Fleming's negligence claim against AAU was not timely filed.Fleming argued that she timely filed her negligence action because the governing statute of limitations was Wis. Stat. 893.587. Specifically, Fleming argued that because she alleged AAU negligently hired, retained, and supervised the man who sexually assaulted her, section 893.587 governed her claim where her injury was "caused by an act that would constitute a violation of" an offense enumerated in chapter 948. The Supreme Court held (1) section 893.587 did not provide the governing statute of limitations for Fleming's negligence claim because Fleming did not allege that AAU committed an enumerated injury-causing act; (2) the governing time limit was the three-year statute of limitations under section 893.54, as extended by Wis. Stat. 893.16; and (3) therefore, the circuit court correctly granted AAU's motion to dismiss. View "Fleming v. Amateur Athletic Union of United States, Inc." on Justia Law
ACUITY v. Estate of Michael Shimeta
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the circuit court granting declaratory judgment for Acuity, a mutual insurance company, in this insurance dispute arising from a fatal automobile accident, holding that the court of appeals did not err.When Douglas Curley lost control of his vehicle and crossed the center line he hit another vehicle, killing Michael Shimeta and seriously injuring Terry Scherr. After Curley's insurer paid Shimeta's estate and Scherr $250,000 each both parties sought additional recovery under a policy that Acuity had issued to Shimeta before the accident. At issue was whether Acuity's underinsured motorist coverage entitled Shimeta's estate and Scherr to an additional $250,000 each from Acuity or whether the payments the parties received from Curley's insurer reduced their recovery to $0. The Supreme Court held that Acuity owed Shimeta's estate and Scherr $250,000 each, thus affirming the court of appeals. View "ACUITY v. Estate of Michael Shimeta" on Justia Law
Secura Supreme Insurance Co. v. Estate of Huck
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the order of the trial court granting judgment to the Estate of Daniel Keith Huck in this insurance dispute, holding that there was no error.Huck was killed by a motorist while he performed his job duties for the Village of Mount Pleasant. The Estate first received worker's compensation from Huck's employer's worker's compensation insurer (WC insurer) and then a settlement from the tortfeasor's insurer. By receiving the settlement from the tortfeasor the Estate was statutorily obligated to reimburse the WC insurer from the settlement. The Estate did as required and reimbursed the WC insurer $9,718.73 (the disputed amount). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Secura Supreme Insurance Company, from whom Huck had purchased an automobile insurance policy, was not statutorily authorized to reduce its liability limits by the total worker's compensation and tortfeasor settlement payments the Estate initially received but was obligated in part to reimburse. View "Secura Supreme Insurance Co. v. Estate of Huck" on Justia Law
Estate of Anne Oros v. Divine Savior Healthcare Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the district court granting Defendants' motion for the application of Wis. Stat. Chapter 655 and dismissing the wrongful death claim brought by Plaintiff on behalf of the estate of her mother, Anne Oros, and in Plaintiff's capacity as Oros's daughter, holding that dismissal was not warranted.Oros allegedly died as a result of negligence on the part of Divine Savior Healthcare, Inc. Divine Savior and its insurer (collectedly, Defendants) argued that Plaintiff could not bring a wrongful death claim as an adult child of Oros because the liability protections given to certain healthcare providers under Chapter 655 barred the claim. The circuit court concluded that Chapter 655 applied and dismissed the claim. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Plaintiff's wrongful death claim was not subject to Chapter 655 and that dismissal was not warranted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that dismissal under Chapter 655 of Plaintiff's wrongful death claim was not warranted. View "Estate of Anne Oros v. Divine Savior Healthcare Inc." on Justia Law
Brey v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court's grant of summary judgment in favor of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and instead granting summary judgment in favor of Elliot Brey, holding that Wis. Stat. 632.32(2)(d) does not bar an insurer from requiring that an insured sustain bodily injury or death in order to trigger underinsured (UIM) coverage under an automobile liability insurance policy.The circuit court determined (1) the State Farm automobile liability insurance policy issued to Brey's mother and her husband did not provide uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage to Brey for the death of his father in an automobile accident because Brey was an insured under the policy but his father was not; and (2) Brey could not recover under the policy because he did not sustain bodily injury. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that sections 632.32(1) and (2)(d) bar an insurer from limiting UIM coverage to only those insureds who sustain bodily injury or death. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that section 632.32(2)(d) does not require insurers to extend UIM coverage to an insured for bodily injury or death suffered by a person who was not insured under the policy. View "Brey v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Monroe v. Chase
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court dismissing, for failure to state a claim, Plaintiff's complaint alleging malicious prosecution, holding that a withdrawal of a prior proceeding may satisfy the favorable termination element of a malicious prosecution claim.In dismissing Plaintiff's complaint, the circuit court concluded that the complaint failed to establish that the prior proceeding was terminated in Plaintiff's favor. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) this Court hereby adopts the Restatement (Second) of Torts, section 674, cmt. j addressing whether a withdrawal constitutes a favorable termination; and (2) whether or not the withdrawal in this case constitutes a favorable termination remains a question for the fact-finder. The Supreme Court remanded this case to the circuit court to apply the analysis set forth in this opinion. View "Monroe v. Chase" on Justia Law
Graef v. Continental Indemnity Co.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the circuit court ruling that the exclusive-remedy provision of the Wisconsin Worker's Compensation Act, Wis. Stat. 102.03(2), did not bar Petitioner's tort action against his employer's worker's compensation insurance carrier, holding that the Act provided Plaintiff's exclusive remedy for the injuries alleged in his complaint.In his tort action against Continental Indemnity Company Plaintiff alleged that Continental was negligent in failing to approve payment for a refill of his antidepressant medication that was prescribed after a workplace injury and that, as a result, he attempted suicide. Continental filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that section 102.03(2) barred Plaintiff's tort action. The circuit court denied the motion, concluding that the Act's exclusive remedy provision did not bar Plaintiff's action. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the allegations in Petitioner's tort action, if proven, would satisfy the conditions for worker's compensation liability, and therefore, the exclusive-remedy provision applied. View "Graef v. Continental Indemnity Co." on Justia Law
Stroede v. Society Insurance
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court denying summary judgment to Jacob Tetting and his insurer, concluding that Tetting, who was an occupant of a bar when he injured another person, was not an "other lawful occupant of real property" entitled to immunity.David Stroede was drinking at a bar when he punched another person. Jacob Tetting, an employee of the bar who was patronizing the bar with his family, grabbed Stroede, and when he released him, Stroede fell down some concrete stairs and suffered injuries. Stroede brought this action against Tetting, the bar, and the bar's insurer. Tetting and his homeowners insurance provider (together, Tetting) filed motions for summary judgment asserting that Tetting was entitled to immunity and did not owe a duty of care to Stroede. The circuit court decided that Tetting was not a "possessor of real property" under Wis. Stat. 895.529 and was therefore not entitled to immunity. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Tetting was an "other lawful occupant" entitled to immunity. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Tetting was not an "other lawful occupant of real property" under section 895.529 and was therefore not entitled to immunity. View "Stroede v. Society Insurance" on Justia Law
State v. Muth
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals affirming in part the order of the circuit court that Appellant pay restitution to the victims of his crime, holding that a civil settlement did not preclude the restitution ordered and that the restitution order was a reasonable exercise of the circuit court's discretion under the applicable law and facts presented.Appellant collided with T.K.'s vehicle, resulting in T.K.'s death. Appellant and his insurance company reached a civil settlement with T.K.'s adult children. Appellant subsequently pled no contest to homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. The circuit court ordered restitution to the adult children. The court of appeals reduced the amount of restitution because the amount included income lost as a result of the adult children's spouses missing work due to Appellant's criminal conduct. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the court of appeals (1) properly determined that the civil settlement did not preclude the circuit court from ordering restitution; and (2) erred by reducing the restitution amount because a victim suffers actual pecuniary damages when his or her spouse does not work, as the victim is a member of the marital community that is affected by the loss of income. View "State v. Muth" on Justia Law