Justia Civil Procedure Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Wisconsin Supreme Court
Hennessy v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming an order of the circuit court that domesticated a Mexican judgment in favor of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and against Daniel and Jane Hennessy, holding that Wells Fargo's judgment against the Hennessys was properly domesticated.On appeal, the Hennessys asserted that the circuit court erred in holding that the foreign judgment was valid and personally enforceable against them under Mexican law and erred in domesticating the Mexican judgment under principles of comity. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Wisconsin principle that a foreign country's law must be proven before a circuit court as a question of fact is hereby affirmed; (2) the circuit court's interpretation of Mexican law was not clearly erroneous; and (3) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by choosing to recognize the Mexican judgment in Wisconsin. View "Hennessy v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law
L. G. v. Aurora Residential Alternatives, Inc.
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the court of appeals dismissing the appeal of an order of the circuit court denying a request to compel arbitration and stay a pending lawsuit pending arbitration, holding that a circuit court order denying a request to compel arbitration and stay a pending lawsuit is final for the purposes of appeal.Respondent, a mentally disabled resident of Appellant, which owned and operated residential facilities, brought this lawsuit over an incident in which one of Appellant's employees sexually assaulted her. Respondent, however, had signed an arbitration agreement with Appellant, and Appellant filed a motion to compel arbitration and stay the proceedings pending the arbitration. The circuit court denied the motion, and Appellant appealed. Respondent moved to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction because the order was not a final and appealable order. The court of appeals granted the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) an application to stay pursuant to Wis. Stat. 788.02 is a special proceeding within the meaning of Wis. Stat. 808.03(1); and (2) a circuit court order that disposes of the entire matter in litigation between one or more parties in a section 788.02 special proceeding is final for the purposes of appeal. View "L. G. v. Aurora Residential Alternatives, Inc." on Justia Law
Waukesha County v. S.L.L.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals granting Waukesha County's motion to dismiss the appeal brought by Ms. L. challenging the circuit court's judgment extending Ms. L's commitment, holding that all three issues brought by Ms. L. on appeal were moot but that the Court would address two of those three issues.Specifically, the Court held (1) the circuit court still had personal jurisdiction over Ms. L. when it conducted the extension hearing and entered the extension order, and the County's notice did not fail any due process requirements; (2) the circuit court properly entered default against Ms. L. for failing to appear at an extension hearing; and (3) Ms. L.'s issue that there was insufficient evidence to support the circuit court's entry of the extension order was moot. View "Waukesha County v. S.L.L." on Justia Law
Cattau v. National Insurance Services of Wisconsin, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court's dismissal of Plaintiffs' claims alleging mismanagement of their retirement benefits, holding that, despite the court of appeals' erroneous holding that Data Key Partners v. Permira Advisers LLC, 849 N.W.2d 693 (Wis. 2014), has created a new pleading standard in Wisconsin, Plaintiffs failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.In affirming the circuit court's dismissal, the court of appeals held (1) the Supreme Court's decision in Data Key created a new, heightened pleading standard in Wisconsin; and (2) under this new standard, Plaintiffs failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) this Court unanimously concludes that the decision in Data Key did not change Wisconsin's pleading standard, as articulated in Strid v. Converse, 331 N.W.2d 350 (Wis. 1983); but (2) the Court is equally divided as to whether Plaintiffs stated a claim based on the Data Key/Strid standard, and therefore, the court of appeals' decision is affirmed. View "Cattau v. National Insurance Services of Wisconsin, Inc." on Justia Law
Maple Grove Country Club Inc. v. Maple Grove Estates Sanitary District
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals upholding the circuit court's dismissal of Petitioner's inverse condemnation claim against Respondent based on Petitioner's noncompliance with Wis. Stat. 893.80(1d), the notice of claim statute, holding that because the Respondent failed to raise noncompliance with the statute in a responsive pleading, Respondent waived this affirmative defense.Petitioner initiated this action bringing two causes of action against Respondent, one for inverse condemnation and the other for unlawful sanitary sewer charges and levy of taxation. Respondent filed an answer and a counterclaim but did not affirmatively plead that Petitioner had failed to comply with section 893.80(1d). The circuit court dismissed the inverse condemnation claim, concluding that Petitioner had failed to comply with the notice of claim statute. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) noncompliance with the notice of claim statute is an affirmative defense that must be set forth in a responsive pleading; and (2) Respondent waived the defense because it failed to set forth the defense in its answer and did not amend its answer to include the defense. View "Maple Grove Country Club Inc. v. Maple Grove Estates Sanitary District" on Justia Law
State ex rel. Department of Natural Resources v. Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District IV
The DNR appealed the circuit court’s decision restoring contested Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit conditions that the DNR had rejected. The DNR selected District II as the appellate venue. A single court of appeals judge issued an order sua sponte transferring venue from District II to District IV, noting that District IV was the proper venue because it encompassed the circuit court that issued the judgment from which the DNR appealed. The DNR then petitioned the Supreme Court for a supervisory writ requiring the court of appeals to transfer venue back to District II. The Supreme Court granted the petition for a supervisory writ, holding (1)Wis. Stat. 752.21(2) gave DNR the right to select appellate venue under the circumstances of this case; (2) it was the court of appeals’ plain duty to hear the DNR’s appeal in District II; and (3) the DNR met the requirements for the issuance of a supervisory writ. View "State ex rel. Department of Natural Resources v. Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District IV" on Justia Law
Sands v. Menard, Jr.
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
Estate of Miller v. Storey
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court’s small claims money judgment for the Estate of Stanley G. Miller against Diane Storey. In the small claims action, a jury found Story liable for theft of money from her uncle when she cared for him in the last year of his life. The circuit court awarded the Estate actual damages of $10,000 under Wis. Stat. 799.01(1)(d), exemplary damages of $20,000 under section 895.446(3)(c), attorney fees of $20,000 under section 895.446(3)(b), and double taxable costs under section 807.01(3). The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court held (1) section 3895.446 is an “other civil action,” and therefore, the damages cap is $10,000 under section 799.01(1)(d), and double costs are authorized under section 807.01(3); (2) attorney fees are included within the meaning of “costs of investigation and litigation” under section 895.446(3)(b); and (3) as to exemplary damages, the court of appeals properly reversed the circuit court because the circuit court’s ruling was contrary to the clear legal standard set forth in Kimble v. Land Concepts, Inc., 845 N.W.2d 395. View "Estate of Miller v. Storey" on Justia Law
State v. Floyd
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for possession with intent to deliver non-narcotic controlled substances as a repeat offender, holding that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress.A search of Defendant’s person revealed illegal drugs in Defendant’s possession. The search was warrantless but allegedly consensual. Defendant filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the officer extended the traffic stop without reasonable suspicion, and therefore, his consent was void. The circuit court denied the motion after a suppression hearing. Defendant filed a postconviction motion arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at the suppression hearing. The circuit court denied the motion. Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress and the denial of his postconviction motion. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the officer did not extend Defendant’s traffic stop because the request to perform a search of his person was part of the stop’s mission; (2) Defendant was lawfully seized at the time of the request, and Defendant provided his consent to the search freely and voluntarily; and (3) trial counsel did not perform deficiently. View "State v. Floyd" on Justia Law
Segregated Account of Ambac Assurance Corp. v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.
Appointing a registered agent under Wis. Stat. 180.1507 does not signify consent to general personal jurisdiction in Wisconsin.Plaintiffs filed this suit against Defendant, alleging that Defendant fraudulently misrepresented the quality of mortgages underlying certain securities. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. The circuit court dismissed the complaint, concluding that Wisconsin courts could not exercise general jurisdiction over Defendant. The court of appeals reversed, holding that by maintaining a Wisconsin agent to receive service of process, Defendant subjected itself to the general jurisdiction of Wisconsin courts and actually consented to personal jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant’s compliance with section 180.1507 did not, on its own, confer general jurisdiction in Wisconsin. View "Segregated Account of Ambac Assurance Corp. v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc." on Justia Law