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  • June 19, 2019

    Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin: Efficient and Cost-effective Strategies

    Business clients count on their lawyers for advice about avoiding or handling disputes before or when they arise. For fast and accurate guidance and solutions, turn to Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin from State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE®, newly revised and expanded for 2019.

    June 19, 2019 – What keeps you awake at night? For business owners, it’s the fear of ending up in court, facing civil, regulatory, or criminal allegations that could cost them everything they have invested – and more.

    Help your business clients achieve peace of mind with guidance from Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin from State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE®, newly revised and expanded for 2019.

    Every lawyer gets civil procedure, contracts, and criminal law and procedure in the first year of law school, so what’s left to learn? Given that corporations are considered “persons” for many legal purposes, there is a lot more to learn.

    Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin focuses on some of the most salient facets of disputes involving entity clients. In the newly revised 2019 edition, you’ll find chapters on arbitration and mediation in business settings and other topics from authors Susan K. Allen, Franklyn M. Gimbel, Elizabeth A. N. Haas, Trent M. Johnson, Kathryn A. Keppel, Terry F. Peppard, Barry R. White, and Andrew J. Wronski.

    Who is Being Represented

    As discussed in chapter 2 of Business Litigation in Wisconsin, identifying the client can be both complex and crucial in business litigation. The attorney must clarify exactly who the client is – the company, the CEO, or an employee – before undertaking representation.

    For example, corporate counsel interviewing employees as part of a litigation defense must make absolutely clear to the employees that he or she represents the corporation, not them. Similarly, in a closely held corporation, the parties could have different interests. A sales manager could have individual liability, the company could have liability under respondeat superior, while the company’s president could have no liability. In short, clarity in representation is essential – and often difficult to attain.

    Where and By Whom the Dispute Should be Resolved

    Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is increasingly used for many types of disagreements and parties, but that doesn’t mean that if you know one kind of ADR, you know them all.

    Author Terry Peppard, in chapter 5 on the legal and practice considerations that make business arbitration unique, emphasizes the importance of understanding the distinctions and their ramifications:

    The arbitration of business disputes tends to involve economic and institutional, rather than interpersonal, relationships. Moreover, business arbitrations are apt to involve representation of the parties by sophisticated legal counsel, a fact consistent with the scope and scale of those economic and institutional relationships. These factors tend to infuse business arbitrations with elements of legal doctrine, process, and procedure not commonly found in other arbitral realms.

    Peppard presents the legal framework of arbitration, including the Federal Arbitration Act and Wisconsin’s version of the Uniform Arbitration Act, but goes on to explain that the federal and state statutes are less significant than parties’ own agreements. Because “rudimentary principles of contract formation and administration, and related business norms and practices, largely govern arbitration proceedings,” the role of the contract is discussed at length.

    Chapter 6, also written by Peppard and also a new addition to the revised book, deals with mediation in business settings. Similar to the approach in chapter 5, Peppard in chapter 6 provides a definition, sketches the legal environment, explains screening of disputes, summarizes systems and styles, explains the role of the contract, and devotes considerable space to the role of advocacy.

    The Substance of Business Disputes

    Depending on where and when they attended law school, lawyers representing business clients in Wisconsin might be unfamiliar with what has become an integral aspect of Wisconsin business litigation practice: the economic loss doctrine.

    This judicially created doctrine is intended to preserve the distinction between contract and tort. Although the doctrine appears straightforward in theory – when the only injury is an economic loss the parties to a contract are restricted to contract remedies – its application in practice is much more complex, requiring as much an exploration of its exceptions as its applicability.

    Among developments discussed in chapter 1 of Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin are cases in which Wisconsin state and federal courts held that the economic loss doctrine does not affect statutory causes of action, a conclusion that is particularly relevant in the consumer protection context.

    Chapter 1 also covers other business litigation-specific substantive law issues, such as product liability, misrepresentation, and fraudulent advertising causes of action.

    How to Order

    Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin is available both in print for $149 for members and $189 for nonmembers, and online via Books UnBound®, the State Bar’s interactive online library.

    For more information or to place an order, visit the WisBar Marketplace or call the State Bar at (800) 728-7788 or (608) 257-3838.

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