Vol. 78, No. 9, September
Insurance Law, 5th Edition
By Arnold P. Anderson (Madison, WI: State Bar CLE Books,
2004). Two vols., 1,300+ pgs. $245. Order, (800) 728-7788.
Reviewed by David Sparr
I just finished my "best read" of the month! A new novel, you say?
Perhaps the latest legal thriller from Turow, Grisham, DeMille, or
Patterson? No, it is an insurance book, and no, it wasn't what I read
when I was trying to get to sleep. Arnie Anderson's latest update of
Wisconsin Insurance Law is a wonderful, indispensable resource
for those who do personal-injury plaintiff or defense work, or for any
lawyer who has a question about auto, fire, or general liability
policies or coverage. This two-volume set will save you much time: it is
well organized by topic and type of insurance policy and has a great
index and table of cases. Anderson provides us with a primer on how to
read and interpret insurance contracts.
This is an exhaustive work. Anderson discusses a multitude of
subjects, including coverage issues and exclusions, duties of the
insured when buying and responsibilities of the agent and the insurance
company when selling coverage and when reporting and handling claims,
uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage and issues,
general liability, fire, and auto policies, and subrogation, to name
just a few. He provides a nice discussion and summary of the case law in
the UM/UIM section both before and after the 1995 anti-stacking
legislation and does a nice job making sense out of the cases in this
complicated area of the law.
As he discusses each topic, Anderson provides an analysis of case law
combined with his own opinions on what the courts did correctly or not
in applying prior case law. In the first party claims section, for
example, the author discusses court decisions that appear to have
intermingled and obscured the concepts of first- and third-party bad
faith. Anderson discusses the law and then provides practical solutions,
such as in the subrogation area, in which he answers the question of how
to proceed when an injured party and the tortfeasor's insurer want to
settle a claim, and there are subrogation claims. Having practiced in
the plaintiff personal-injury field for nearly 30 years, I find that I
can't agree with everything the author says, especially in this
subrogation section, in which one of the cases cited was handled by me
at the trial court level. My reading of the subrogation case law
suggests that in most, if not all such cases, the subrogated carrier
must reduce its recovery in recognition of attorney fees and expenses
incurred in recovery from the at-fault party. Anderson disagrees.
The author has a sense of humor as he treats subjects that are
sometimes complex and contradictory. For example, in Chapter 11, where
he discusses "other insurance, excess and escape" provisions, Anderson
describes the decisions as "hair splitting and nitpicking elevated to an
This is a great set of books - you need it to improve your knowledge
and ability to properly represent your clients.
Does God Belong in Public
By Kent Greenawalt (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press,
2005). 296 pgs. $29.95. Order, www.pupress.princeton.edu.
Reviewed by Jeffrey P. Kippa
The chapter in this book entitled "Teaching Natural Science" could be
taken out and used as the basis for a persuasive piece entitled "Why
Creationism Does Not Belong in Public Schools." Less legal treatise and
This book does not, though, claim to be a legal treatise. It does
state very clearly in the introduction that it is based on the "central
principle that public schools should not teach religious views as true."
Author Kent Greenawalt concludes that paragraph with "this study helps
show why that assumption [that religion is not the same as other public
school subjects] has arisen and why it should continue." The author
spends the remaining 178 pages explaining why that assumption should
continue, and he does so in a clear and persuasive manner.
At times, this book seems to read like a "how-to" guide for public
school administrators. That is not meant to detract from the author's
writing skills. He demonstrates his breadth of knowledge in a concise
and easy-to-read fashion. Always up front about his opinion, the author
gives equal treatment to opposing views. The author effectively
highlights the current state of the law, while making the book
accessible to the layperson.
Following a brief history of public schools in the United States, the
book progressively moves from topics that courts have clearly decided to
those that will require further clarification. Issues such as prayer and
Bible-reading within the schools, while controversial, have been clearly
ruled on. The use of classrooms for extracurricular religious club
meetings has been dealt with by the courts and the legislature. The role
that religion can or should play in public school curriculums is much
cloudier. That issue also makes for the bulk of this text. The book
concludes with a section on the rights of students within the
Advance Health Care Directives: A Handbook
By Carol Krohm, M.D. & Scott Summers, J.D. (Chicago, IL:
ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2002). 374 pgs., CD-ROM. $99.95.
Order, (800) 285-2221.
Reviewed by Ellen J. Henningsen
Advance Health Care Directives: A Handbook for Professionals
is readable, comprehensive, thoughtful, and thought-provoking. Written
by an attorney and a physician, it probes the important question of why
such important documents are essentially a failure. Only about 20
percent of the adult population bothers to complete them, and most
agents don't even follow the wishes of their principals. The authors
encourage both attorneys and physicians to take a more active role in
promoting their completion. Attorneys are urged to take advantage of
society's aversion to probate by suggesting that guardianship is "living
probate," which can be avoided by completing power of attorney for
health care documents.
Because the book is written for a multidisciplinary audience, some
chapters may not be of interest to attorneys. The most useful chapters
for attorneys are: Competence and Incompetence (Chapter 4); The Attorney
Perspective (Chapter 7), which includes a helpful drafting checklist;
The Health Care Provider Perspective (Chapter 8); Involvement of Clergy
and Spiritual Advisors (Chapter 9); and Special Circumstances (Chapter
11). The appendix is a valuable resource, containing pertinent federal,
uniform, and state statutes; sample religious directives; citations for
state advance directive statutes; and sample letters. A CD-ROM includes
statutory forms from each state.
The book could have been improved by a discussion of an attorney's
ethical obligation to clearly identify who is the client and to take
direction only from the client, including separating the client from
adult children or other relatives or caregivers. The ABA's pamphlet
entitled "Why Am I Sitting in the Waiting Room?" would have been a
valuable addition to the appendix and the CD-ROM.
With the Terri Schiavo case still fresh in our minds, this book is an
excellent resource for attorneys and other professionals who wish to
encourage others to complete powers of attorney for health care.
Kohler: A Political
Biography of Walter J. Kohler Jr.
By Gregory A. Fossedal (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction
Publishers, Rutgers Univ., 2003). 146 pgs. $34.95.
Reviewed by James J. Casey Jr.
The Wisconsin governorship of Republican Walter J. Kohler Jr., from
1951 - 57, like the mayoralty of Frank P. Zeidler in Milwaukee during
this same period (1948-60), has not received much attention from
scholars. Kohler: A Political Biography of Walter J. Kohler Jr.
helps correct this neglect. This book is an excellent read because it
covers the various dimensions of Kohler's administration and helps
illustrate how history is still germane today.
Led off by a thought-provoking foreword by William Proxmire and an
introduction by Tommy Thompson, Fossedal treats the reader to history
and public policy lessons. The book amply illustrates that personality,
persuasion, and public policy are equally important when it comes to
executive leadership in government.
The book has equally informative chapters on Kohler's upbringing,
education, and political inculcation, not to mention his role in the
1954 Kohler Company strike. Much more interesting from a public policy
standpoint, however, are Kohler's policy preferences. By the book's end
the reader comes to fully understand the impact of his initiatives.
The 1951 tax cut Kohler championed was the largest federal or state
tax cut between the Coolidge and Kennedy administrations. November 1953
saw the creation of the Milwaukee County Expressway Commission. Kohler's
initiatives to expand the highway system led to a 25 percent increase in
Wisconsin highway miles between 1951 and 1957. This expansion led to his
successful initiative to improve road safety in 1955. His 1955 push for
greater coordination among state public universities ultimately led to
the creation of the U.W. System.
Politically, the end of Kohler's governorship in early 1957 was
followed by Democratic dominance in state politics until the election of
Tommy Thompson as governor. Kohler's 1958 special election loss to
William Proxmire to fill the seat vacated by the death of U.S. Sen.
Joseph McCarthy ended Kohler's political career but not his
effectiveness in forming public policy.
The book is an essential read for historians, political junkies, and
the general public. And it would not hurt high school students to read
this book as a way to better understand Wisconsin's more recent
It's Legal, but It Ain't Right: Harmful
Social Consequences of Legal Industries
Nikos Passas & Neva Goodwin, Editors (Ann Arbor, MI:
Univ. of Mich. Press, 2004). 279 pgs. $25.95. Order, www.press.umich.edu.
Reviewed by Joseph C. Mrazek
Despite the folksy title, this collection of 11 essays by professors
and NGO (nongovernmental organization) activists is not a populist book.
Part of a critical series entitled "Evolving Values for a Capitalist
World," this book is an academic project in both the positive and the
In their introduction, the editors polemicize against a global
economic-legal system in which "the rich get richer and the poor get
prison." Several of the pieces have scholarly heft, such as Loretta
Bondi's "Externalities of the Arms Trade" and John Warren Kindt's "The
Costs of Legalized Gambling: An Economic Approach." Reading most of the
essays is like attending a moderately interesting leftist lecture.
Other essays verge on snarky propaganda, such as "Titans of the Enron
Economy: Ten Habits of Highly Defective Corporations," which opens with
a sort of manifesto: "The pivotal lessons of the Enron debacle do not
stem from any criminal wrongdoing. Most of the maneuvers leading to
Enron's meltdown not only are legal but are widely practiced." That
essay goes on to offer a utopian 10-point "rehabilitation program" for
publicly traded companies, urging rapacious executives to get the
religion of corporate responsibility.
The same grim message recurs: certain industries and corporate actors
are harmful to the public; they must either be eliminated or be put on a
tight leash by some benevolent regulator. Of course legalized gambling,
tobacco use, and processed foods are bad for us. Pesticides and firearms
are deadly, and pharmaceutical companies have surely bought favorable
legislation. The illicit trade in antiquities, also covered here, seems
harmless by comparison. Sadly, neoliberal free trade may actually create
more economic and environmental problems than it solves.
But unhealthy products and antisocial practices by greedy players
will always plague free markets. These authors do offer useful
suggestions on how consumers - and attorneys - can fight the tide of
big-business-related corruption and environmental spoliation. But their
ideas get pummeled by a flood of arcane language and finally drown in a
sea of footnotes.
Top of page
To Review a Book...
The following books are available for review.
Please request the book and writing guidelines from Karlé Lester at
the State Bar of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158, (608)
Publications and videos available for review
- Anatomy of a Law Firm Merger: How to Make or Break the Deal,
Third Edition, by Hildebrandt International, (Chicago, IL: ABA Law
Practice Management Section, 2004). 208 pgs., CD-ROM.
- Annotated Model Code of Judicial Conduct, Art Garwin,
editor (Chicago, IL: ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Judicial
Division, 2004). 507 pgs.
- David Ball on Damages - The Essential Update: A Plaintiff's
Attorney's Guide for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases, by
David Ball, Ph.D. (Notre Dame, IN: NITA, 2005). 400 pgs.
- Maritime Security Handbook: Implementing the New U.S.
Initiatives and Regulations, by Jonathan K. Waldron & Andrew W.
Dyer Jr., Blank Rome LLP (Pittsburgh, PA: The Rowman & Littlefield
Publishing Group, 2005). 160 pgs.