Appellate Decisions

The firm's expertise in litigation not only extends across broad subject areas, but also to the highest levels of our court systems. Firm attorneys have represented clients before the United States Supreme Court, several Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, and of course, the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Some of the most notable and significant Wisconsin decisions include:

Wisconsin Supreme Court

Shannon v. Shannon, 150 Wis.2d 434, 442 N.W.2d 25 (1989)(insurance policy exclusions cannot be waived)

Estate of Wells v. Mount Sinai Medical Center, 183 Wis.2d 667, 515 N.W.2d 705 (1994)(parent may not recover for loss of companionship and society of her adult child)

Hagen v. LIRC, 210 Wis.2d 12, 563 N.W.2d 454 (1997)(worker's compensation claimant sustained only scheduled arm injury)

Reid v. Benz, 2001 WI 106, 245 Wis.2d 658, 629 N.W.2d 262 (in absence of breach of duty, a policyholder is not entitled to attorney's fees incurred to establish coverage)

Lane v. Sharp Packaging Systems, Inc., 2002 WI 28, 251 Wis.2d 68, 640 N.W.2d 788 (attorney-client privilege, work product doctrine in context of discovery)

Rocker v. USAA, 2006 WI 26, 289 Wis.2d 294, 711 N.W.2d 634 (motor vehicle handler statute applied to car wash to invalidate exclusion of employee injuries arising out of operation of customer vehicle)

Society v. LIRC, 2010 WI 68, 326 Wis.2d 444, 786 N.W.2d (Interpretation of amended Wis. Stat. § 102.17 (4) and determination that retroactive application was unconstitutional and that employer insurers have a constitutional right to have their liability fixed on the date of injury.)

Johnson v. Cintas Corporation No. 2, 2012 WI 31, 339 Wis.2d 493, 811 N.W.2d 756 (The Court held that service was fundamentally defective because the plaintiff failed to name the intended defendant in the summons and complaint.)

Krier, v. Vilione, 2009 WI 45, 317 Wis.2d 288, 766 N.W.2d 517 (Affirmation of summary judgment in favor of defendants dismissing claims based upon inadequacy of expert testimony in an accounting malpractice case.)

In Re Jacobson, 2005 WI 76, 281 Wis.2d 619, 697 N.W.2d 831 (Affirmation of limited discipline imposed in light of medical disability issues raised by PJM after taking over case following hearing and initial adverse result.)

Rainbow Country Rentals and Retail, Inc. v. Ameritech Publishing, Inc., 2005 WI 153, 286 Wis.2d 170, 706 N.W.2d 95 (Reversal of prior Wisconsin Supreme Court authority holding that Ameritech Publishing’s damage limitation was unenforceable on public policy grounds.)

In Re Loew (Affirmation of limited discipline imposed by referee based upon medical disability issues.)

Beecher v. Labor & Industry Review Commission, 2004 WI 88, 273 Wis.2d 136, 682 N.W.2d 29
(Held that a claimant does not need to undertake a job search before they can claim permanent act total disability in an "odd-lot" case.)

Schaefer v. Riegelman, 2002 WI 18, 250 Wis.2d 494, 639 N.W.2d 715 (Plaintiff’s legal malpractice complaint found invalidly executed due to failure to have signed by Wisconsin licensed attorney.)

Lane v. Sharp packaging Systems, Inc., 2002 WI 28, 251 Wis.2d 68, 640 N.W.2d 788
(Interpretation of privilege issues concerning suit by former officer and director of corporate client.)

Theuer v. Labor& Industry Review Commission, 2001 WI 26, 242 Wis.2d 29, 624 N.W.2d 110 (Established that employer-paid health insurance premium payments and other non-taxable fringe benefits were not to be included in the average weekly wage for worker's compensation payments.)

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Ford Motor Company, 225 Wis.2d 305, 592 N.W.2d 201 (1999) (Extension of economic loss doctrine to consumer transactions.)

Burks v. St. Joseph's Hospital, 227 Wis.2d 811, 596 N.W.2d 391 (Wis. 1999) (Established that when a hospital's violation of the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) results from a negligent medical act or from a decision made in the course of rendering professional medical care, and not merely an economic decision, the Patient Compensation Fund has an obligation to provide excess coverage.)

Doyle v. Engelke, 219 Wis.2d 277, 580 N.W.2d 245 (1998) (holding that matters outside the underlying complaint would not be considered in determining the CGL insurer’s duty to defend and interpreting the policy as not affording coverage for slander.)

Grube v. Daun, 210 Wis.2d 681, 563 N.W.2d 523 (1997) (Successful liability defense based on interpretation of hazardous waste statue and determination that application was intended for the general public and not a specific class; therefore, because the statute was not a “safety statute,” a violation would not constitute negligence per se.)

Martin v. Milwaukee Mut. Ins. Co., 146 Wis.2d 759, 433 N.W.2d 1 (1988) (amicus) (Interpretation and application of stacking clause in an insurance policy with non-named insureds.)

Warmka v. Heartland Cicero Mut. Ins. Co., 136 Wis.2d 31, 400 N.W.2d 923 (1987) (amicus) (Interpretation of statute of limitations applicable to insurer bad faith, where court held that insured’s claim for bad faith against its insurer was subject to the two-year statute of limitations for intentional torts.)

Mowry v. Badger State Mut. Cas. Co., 129 Wis.2d 496, 385 N.W.2d 171 (1986) (amicus) (Held that insurer did not commit bad faith in failing to settle within policy limits even though driver's liability for accident was probable and damages were concededly in excess of policy limits, where question of coverage under the policy was fairly debatable.)

Garrett v. City of New Berlin, 122 Wis.2d 223, 362 N.W.2d 137 (1985) (Interpretation of whether a manifestation of physical injury is necessary to successfully assert a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress.)

Wisconsin Court of Appeals

Johnson v. Cintas Corporation No. 2, et al. 2011 WI App 5, 331 Wis.2d 51, 794 N.W.2d 475 (On appeal undertaken by PJM after prior firm allowed default to be entered, determination that failure to properly name and serve defendant denied trial court jurisdiction over defendant and invalidated default.)

General Medical v. Kobs, 179 Wis.2d 422, 507 N.W.2d 381 (Ct. App. 1993)(covenant not to compete in context of employment; summary judgment)

Remiszewski v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 2004 WI App 175, 276 Wis.2d 167, 687 N.W.2d 809 (anti-stacking and reducing clauses were valid and enforceable in automobile policy providing underinsured motorist benefits)

Dakin v. Marciniak, 2005 WI App 67, 280 Wis.2d 491, 695 N.W.2d 867 (notice provided to successor in interest in initial complaint was insufficient to satisfy relation back statute, and discovery rule did not bar application of statute of limitations)

Markwardt v. Zurich American Ins. Co., 2006 WI App 200, 724 N.W.2d 669 (separation agreement between law firm and associate attorney, allocating contingent fees for personal injury cases transferred to attorney after he left his employment with law firm, was not inherently unreasonable)

Heikkinen v. USAA Cas. Ins. Co., 2006 WI App 207, 724 N.W.2d 243 (Jury instructions and special verdict finding insurance coverage if driver was operating auto on behalf of church and/or archdiocese were permissible)(case is presently pending in Wisconsin Supreme Court)

Kriefall v. Sizzler USA Franchise, Inc., 335 Wis.2d 151, 801 N.W.2d 781 (Ct. App. 2011) (Court of appeals reversed portion of judgment whereby successfully asserted basis for contractual indemnity before jury; currently pending before Wisconsin Supreme Court.)

City of Milwaukee v. N.L. Industries, Inc., 2008 WI App 181, 315 Wis.2d 443, 762 N.W.2d (Affirmation of the jury’s findings for defendant that the evidence was sufficient to prove that defendant did not intentionally cause public nuisance in the context of damages alleged from lead paint.)

Pagel v. Marcus Corp., 2008 WI App 110, 313 Wis.2d 78, 756 N.W.2d 447 (Granted summary judgment on premises liability defense; held that where the dangerous condition of a chattel is open and obvious to the reasonable user, no warning is required under Restatement (2d) of Torts § 388(1), and summary judgment dismissing a negligence claim premised on failure to warn is proper.)

Heikkinen, v. United Services Automobile Association, 2006 WI App 207, 296 Wis.2d 438, 724 N.W.2d 243 (Interpretation of insurance policy issued by Archdiocese found by trial court to provide coverage for PJM client, church volunteer acting within scope of volunteer duties.)

Dakin v. Marciniak, 2005 WI App 67, 280 Wis.2d 491, 695 N.W.2d 867 (Successful appeal defeating plaintiff's claim on determinations that there was insufficient notice and that the discovery rule did not bar the application of the statute of limitations.)

Markwardt, V. Zurich American Insurance Company, 2006 WI App 200, 296 Wis.2d 512, 724 N.W.2d (Appropriateness and validity of agreement between attorney and departing associate for division of fees on contingent fee cases taken by departing associate.)

Korntved v. Advanced Healthcare, Inc., 2005 WI App 197, 286 Wis.2d 499, 704 N.W.2d 597 (Established that health care provider was not vicariously liable for employee's act of disclosing information to her husband in violation of patient confidentiality when the employee was acting outside the scope of employment.)

Nunez v. American Family Mut. Ins., 2003 WI App 35, 260 Wis.2d 377, 659 N.W.2d 171 (Held that the prohibition in a "safety statute" applied where plaintiff jumped out of the back of defendant's pickup truck in a parade de-staging area, warranting dismissal of plaintiff's claim.)

Lane v. Sharp packaging Systems, Inc., 2001 WI App 250, 248 Wis.2d 380, 635 N.W.2d 896 (Interpretation of privilege issues concerning suit by former officer and director of corporate client.)

Dahmen v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 2001 WI App 198, 247 Wis.2d 541, 635 N.W.2d 1 (Held that in insured's action alleging claims for benefits under the UIM policy and for insurer bad faith, insurer was entitled to bifurcation of the claims and to stay of discovery on bad faith claim pending resolution of UIM claim.)

Meyer v. Michigan Mut. Ins. Co., 2000 WI App 37, 233 Wis.2d 221, 607 N.W.2d 333 (Interpretation and application of UIM coverage in insurance policies where the court held that UIM coverage can be stacked with primary coverage on separate vehicles.)

Conradt v. Mt. Carmel School, 197 Wis.2d 60, 539 N.W.2d (Ct. App. 1995) (holding that treating physicians are not given special deference in worker’s compensation proceedings and that LIRC is required to hold a credibility conference with ALJ only as condition precedent to overruling ALJ)

Aetna Cas. and Surety Co. v. Owen, 191 Wis.2d 744, 530 N.W.2d 51 (Ct. App. 1995) (Held that the pendency of an insured's action does not toll the statute of limitations for an insurer's independent subrogated claim arising out of an occurrence that caused the injury to the insured.)

Novak v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 183 Wis.2d 133, 515 N.W.2d 504 (Ct. App. 1994) (Held that insurer had no duty to defend upon exhaustion of the policy limit by payment of settlement to third party where language of policy expressly provided that the insurer would have no duty to defend after its limit of liability had been offered.)

General Medical Corp. v. Kobs, 179 Wis.2d 422, 507 N.W.2d 381 (Ct. App. 1993) (Successfully appealed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in a tortious interference claim.)

Sprangers v. Greatway Ins. Co., 175 Wis.2d 60, 498 N.W.2d 858 (Ct. App. 1993) (Interpretation of exclusions in insurance policy where court held that insurer had no duty to point out the exclusion to the insured.)

St. Claire Hospital of Munroe, Wisconsin v. Schmidt Garden, Erickson, Inc., 148 Wis.2d 750, 437 N.W.2d 228 (Ct. App. 1989) (Interpretation of a settlement agreement in the context of a product liability action and analysis whether the release in the agreement also released all claims and liability for the alleged defective condition of the product at issue.)

Hulsey v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 142 Wis.2d 639, 419 N.W.2d 288 (Ct. App. 1987)
(Interpretation and application of stacking clause in an insurance policy.)

Richie v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 140 Wis.2d 51, 409 N.W.2d 146 (Ct. App. 1987) (Interpretation of recovery limiting provision in automobile insurance policy, where the court held that if only one person received bodily injury in the automobile accident, the “each person” imitation in the policy applies no matter how many others may derive secondary claims from those injuries.)