WisBar News: Wisconsin Supreme Court accepts 14 new cases, including collateral source payment case:

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    January
    04
    2012

    Wisconsin Supreme Court accepts 14 new cases, including collateral source payment case


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    Jan. 4, 2012 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has accepted review of 14 new cases, including one examining whether evidence that a widow received a $1.4 million life insurance payout prejudicially impacted the medical negligence trial against three doctors.

    Wisconsin Supreme Court accepts 14 new cases, including collateral source payment case

    Jan. 4, 2012 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has accepted review of 14 new cases, including one examining whether evidence that a widow received a $1.4 million life insurance payout prejudicially impacted the medical negligence trial against three Door County physicians.

    article title In ruling against the plaintiffs (Weborg family), a jury found no negligence on the part of the defendant physicians in the death of William Weborg, who initially sought care for chest discomfort in March 2004 and died six months later of severe coronary artery disease.

    The trial court admitted evidence that Weborg’s widow received $1.4 million in life insurance proceeds and monthly social security benefits. On appeal, the Weborg family argued that it was error for the circuit court to admit evidence of such “collateral source payments.”

    However, the court of appeals affirmed in Weborg v. Jenny, 2010AP258 (June 2, 2011), ruling that even if it was error for the collateral source payments to be admitted into evidence, there was no prejudicial effect. That is, such evidence would not have changed the outcome.

    A decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court could provide guidance regarding interpretation of Wis. Stat. section 893.55(7) as it relates to life insurance and social security benefits.

    Below are brief descriptions of the other cases accepted for review, derived from full summaries located on the Wisconsin Court System website at www.wicourts.gov:

    Aldrich v. LIRC, 2010AP1785 (employment discrimination)

    This dispute centers on plaintiff Joyce Aldrich’s employment discrimination claim against Best Buy and the interplay of state and federal law regarding timeliness of the claim.

    Milwaukee Journal v. City of Milwaukee, 2011AP1112 (public records)

    In this case, the supreme court will examine whether previous decisions authorized the City of Milwaukee to charge the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for the staff time required to separate and redact confidential information from the public records requested by the newspaper.

    Waldvogal Trucking v. LIRC, 2011AP329-FT (unemployment compensation)

    The supreme court will examine whether an employee who is ineligible for employment for using illegal drugs may receive unemployment benefits. A decision could clarify standards defining misconduct connected with the employee’s work within the meaning of Wis. Stat. section 108.04(5), relating to discharges for misconduct.

    State v. Smith, 2010AP1192-CR (criminal)

    The state seeks review of a decision reversing Roshawn Smith’s conviction for possession with intent to deliver more than 10,000 grams of THC as a party to the crime. Smith primarily argues that the circumstantial evidence was insufficient to support his conviction.

    DeBruin v. St. Patrick, 2010AP2705 (contracts)

    This certification examines whether, under the supreme court’s decision in Coulee Catholic Schools v. LIRC, 2009 WI 88, 320 Wis.2d 275, 768 N.W.2d 868, religious organizations are immune from common law breach of contract lawsuits brought by ministerial employees.

    Wis. Dolls v. Town of Dell Prairie, 2010AP2900 (liquor license)

    This case involves a dispute over a liquor license renewal between owners of Wisconsin Dolls, an adult-themed resort in Wisconsin Dells, and the Town of Dell Prairie and its town board. A decision could clarify the law related to the sufficiency of property descriptions in liquor licenses and the process by which liquor license are approved or denied.

    State v. Cain, 2010AP1599-CR (criminal)

    This case involves the circumstances under which a plea may be withdrawn. Lee Roy Cain, who pled no contest to a charge of manufacturing THC, later argued that the plea should be withdrawn because he directly denied the charged offense at the time of the plea.

    Kroner v. Oneida Seven Generations Corp., 2010AP2533 (employment and tribal law)

    In this case, the supreme court will decide whether an employment dispute was properly transferred from the circuit court to the Oneida Tribal Judicial System pursuant to Wis. Stat. section 801.54, which gives circuit court’s discretion to do so in certain circumstances.

    State v. Frey, 2010AP2801 (criminal)

    In this case, the supreme court will examine whether there are limitations on the way in which a dismissed charge can be used by a sentencing court and whether a trial court must provide prior notice to a defendant that it might consider dismissed charges in fashioning a sentence.

    Wis. Industrial Energy Group v. PSC, 2010AP2762 (public utilities)

    This certification involves a dispute over the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s approval process and whether a certificate of public convenience and necessity was needed for a Wisconsin public utility to construct a wind electric generating facility in Minnesota.

    State v. Ziegler, 2010AP2514-CR (criminal)

    This certification examines whether there was sufficient evidence to convict the defendant of interference with child custody, reviewing State v. Bowden, 2007 WI App 234, 306 Wis.2d 393, 742 N.W.2d 332 and Wis. Stat. section 948.31(2).

    State v. Miller, 2010AP557-CR (criminal)

    In this case, the supreme court will examine whether anonymous tips provided reasonable suspicion for police officers to initiate a stop of Joseph Miller’s vehicle. Miller pleaded no contest to possessing cocaine with intent to deliver as a party to a crime.

    State v. Martin, 2010AP505-CR (criminal)

    In this case, the supreme court will examine several issues related to Miranda warnings. In particular, the court will examine whether Miranda warnings are required if police questions are designed to prevent a suspect from making a false confession.