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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s judgment entered in favor of Plaintiffs regarding their asserted right to install a pier and to access the Sailor Creek Flowage directly from their shoreline property. Defendants, who owned the waterbed of the Flowage where Plaintiffs’ property met the water, appealed, arguing that the presence of navigable water over their property did not affect their right to prohibit Plaintiffs from installing a pier into or over the portion of the waterbed of the Flowage that Plaintiffs owned. The Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiffs’ private property rights are not sufficient to place a pier into or over the waterbed of the Flowage without Defendants’ permission based on the rights attendant to their shoreline property; (2) the public trust doctrine conveys no private property rights, regardless of the presence of navigable water; and (3) as long as Plaintiffs are using the flowage waters for purposes consistent with the public trust doctrine, their own property rights are sufficient to access and exit the Flowage directly from their shoreline property. View "Movrich v. Lobermeier" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s judgment entered in favor of Plaintiffs regarding their asserted right to install a pier and to access the Sailor Creek Flowage directly from their shoreline property. Defendants, who owned the waterbed of the Flowage where Plaintiffs’ property met the water, appealed, arguing that the presence of navigable water over their property did not affect their right to prohibit Plaintiffs from installing a pier into or over the portion of the waterbed of the Flowage that Plaintiffs owned. The Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiffs’ private property rights are not sufficient to place a pier into or over the waterbed of the Flowage without Defendants’ permission based on the rights attendant to their shoreline property; (2) the public trust doctrine conveys no private property rights, regardless of the presence of navigable water; and (3) as long as Plaintiffs are using the flowage waters for purposes consistent with the public trust doctrine, their own property rights are sufficient to access and exit the Flowage directly from their shoreline property. View "Movrich v. Lobermeier" on Justia Law

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Although Wis. Stat. 103.465 explicitly refers to a covenant not to compete, the plain meaning of the statute is not limited to covenant in which an employee agrees not to compete with a former employer. Plaintiff imposed a non-solicitation of employees provision as part of Defendant’s employment agreement. The provision prohibited Defendant from soliciting, inducing, or encouraging any employee of Plaintiff to terminate his or her employment or to accept employment with a competitor, supplier or customer of Plaintiff. Plaintiff claimed that Defendant engaged in actions that violated the non-solicitation of employees provision. The circuit court concluded that the provision was reasonable and enforceable under section 103.465. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant’s non-solicitation of employees provision was a restraint of trade governed by section 103.465 and was unenforceable under the statute because it did not meet the statutory requirement that the restriction be “reasonably necessary for the protection of the employer.” View "Manitowoc Co. v. Lanning" on Justia Law

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A defendant may not seek expunction after sentence is imposed where both the language of Wis. Stat. 973.015 and State v. Matasek, 846 N.W.2d 811, require that the determination regarding expunction be made at the sentencing hearing. Defendant in this case pled no contest to crimes relating to an incident of shoplifting. After the judgments of conviction were entered and the sentence was imposed, Defendant filed a postconviction motion for sentence modification seeking entry of amended judgments of conviction finding that Defendant was eligible for expunction. The circuit court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a defendant may not seek expunction after sentence is imposed. View "State v. Arberry" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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At issue was whether the court of appeals erred in concluding that the City of Milwaukee complied with Wis. Stat. 70.32(1) in its tax assessment of property owned by Metropolitan Associates. Also on appeal, Metropolitan asked the Supreme Court to substitute the court’s judgment for the circuit court’s judgment regarding the credibility of witnesses and the relative weights to assign to various pieces of evidence. The Supreme Court held (1) the City’s assessment of Metropolitan’s property complied with the statute; (2) the circuit court’s findings of fact regarding the reliability of respective appraisals were not clearly erroneous; and (3) the circuit court’s findings were sufficient to support its determination regardless of whether the presumption of correctness was employed. View "Metropolitan Associates v. City of Milwaukee" on Justia Law

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In this case requiring the Supreme Court to interpret and apply Wis. Stat. 971.04(1) and (3), the Supreme Court held (1) section 971.04(3) did not apply to the facts of this case because it does not place any limitation on a defendant’s ability to waive the right to be present at any portion of trial; and (2) Defendant, by his conduct, waived his section 971.04(1) right to be present at trial. The court thus affirmed the decision of the court of appeals, which determined that Defendant waived his statutory right to be present at trial. View "State v. Washington" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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When an officer conducts a valid traffic stop, part of that stop includes checking identification, even where the reasonable suspicion forming the basis for the stop has dissipated. The Supreme Court in this case affirmed Defendant’s conviction for operating a motor vehicle under the influence, seventh offense, holding (1) asking for a driver’s license does not impermissibly extend a stop because it is part of the original mission of the traffic stop; and (2) the circuit court correctly denied Defendant’s suppression motion because Defendant’s stop was reasonably executed, and no Fourth Amendment violation occurred. View "State v. Smith" on Justia Law

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Debra Sands appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Menard, Inc. Sands and John Menard, Jr., were involved in a romantic relationship from late 1997 to April 2006. Sands alleged that from 1998 until 2006 she cohabitated with Menard and they engaged in a "joint enterprise" to work together and grow Menard's businesses for their mutual benefit. Menard and his affiliated entities argued that by failing to comply with Supreme Court Rule 20:1.8(a), which regulated business transactions between lawyers and their clients, Sands was precluded from seeking an ownership interest in any of Menard's various business ventures. As to the claim she characterized as a “Watts” unjust enrichment claim, the Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded Sands failed to allege facts which, if true, would support her legal conclusion that she and Menard had a joint enterprise that included accumulation of assets in which both she and Menard expected to share equally. Furthermore, the Court held SCR 20:1.8(a) could guide courts in determining required standards of care generally; however, it could not be used as an absolute defense to a civil claim involving an attorney. Finally, the Court concluded the court of appeals properly granted summary judgment to Sands on Menard, Inc.'s counterclaim for breach of fiduciary duty, and to the Trustees on their motion for summary judgment dismissing Sands' claim. View "Sands v. Menard, Jr." on Justia Law

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State v. Douangmala, 646 N.W.2d 1, was objectively wrong because it failed properly to consider the harmless error statutes, Wis. Stat. 971.26 and 805.18, and is thus overruled. At issue in this case was whether Defendant’s motions to withdraw two guilty pleas for two separate criminal violations should be subject to harmless error analysis pursuant to Wis. Stat. 971.26 and 805.18. In his motions filed pursuant to section 971.08(2) Defendant argued that the circuit court’s immigration consequences advisement was defective and that his guilty plea resulted in losing the cancellation of removal defense. The circuit court denied the motions, finding that the immigration consequences advisement substantially complied with section 971.08(1)(c). The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the immigration consequences advisement did not substantially comply with the statute. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) applying the harmless error analysis to this case, the circuit court’s errors were harmless as a matter of law; and (2) therefore, Defendant was not entitled to withdraw his guilty pleas. View "State v. Fuerte" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s postconviction motion asserting that defense counsel at trial had been ineffective. Appellant was convicted of five crimes relating to her abuse and neglect of her son. Appellant filed a postconviction motion, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support her convictions and that defense counsel at trial had been ineffective. The circuit court denied the motion, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that trial counsel’s performance was not deficient. View "State v. Breitzman" on Justia Law