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  • October 04, 2023

    The Challenges of Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin

    A recent case involving arbitration provides lessons for litigators in Wisconsin.
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    Oct. 4, 2023 – When disputes arise between businesses or between a business and an individual, a resolution can frequently involve arbitration.

    The arbitrator, who might be a retired judge or an attorney, is the neutral third party whose decision depends on how you present the case.

    But what happens when the arbitrator is not paying attention?

    In Loren Imhoff Homebuilder, Inc. v. Taylor,1 the arbitrator allegedly slept through substantial portions of the testimony given at a hearing on the merits.

    In light of Wis. Stat. section 788.10(1)(d) – a provision of the Wisconsin Arbitration Act – the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled that the award decided by the arbitrator was “fundamentally flawed.” The award was vacated and the case was remanded for a new hearing before a different arbitrator.

    The best lesson for litigators? Issues with the arbitrator are best raised during the hearing.

    This recent case and others are discussed in the supplement to Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin from State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE® – a book that boosts your ability to advise clients as plaintiffs or defendants in disputes involving businesses. It is available in print and through Books Unbound. It is in its third edition and is supplemented through 2022-23.

    The book's six chapters are packed with relevant case law, time-saving practice tips, checklists, cautions, caveats, sample language, and practice guides. See the Table of Contents for the full list of topics contained in this key resource for litigation practice.

    Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin

    The chapter topics are:

    • Business Torts;

    • Actions Against Corporations, Officers, Directors, and Shareholders;

    • Addressing Allegations of Corporate Crimes: Initial Considerations for the Corporate Counsel;

    • Determining Damages in Business Litigation;

    • Arbitration in a Business Setting;

    • Mediation in a Business Setting.

    The 2022-2023 supplement includes a number of changes, such as:

    • In opinions issued in 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin considered whether a meeting template was a trade secret and whether a list of former clients was a protected trade secret.

    • The Wisconsin Supreme Court has extended the Commercial Docket Pilot Project.

    • State and federal courts issued decisions in 2021 and 2022 in which they discussed whether parties to contracts had agreed to arbitration provisions in the contracts.

    • In a 2022 published opinion, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals discussed ways in which an arbitrator might jeopardize the legitimacy of an award.

    What is Books Unbound?

    Books UnBound® is the exclusive online digital resource from State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE® Books. Since 2010, many of the "brown binders" and other treatises that lawyers have relied on for decades have been available in a digital format, which was recently upgraded through a partnership with Lexum, a legal software company.

    "It's faster with a more modern look and feel, includes a more robust search function with Boolean and natural search options, and gives users one-click access to case law through Fastcase and primary law on official websites," said Carol Chapman, publications manager for the State Bar of Wisconsin.

    "It also provides an expanded ability to create and search your notes, including the ability to embed URL links, images, and other helpful information directly in the notes and to print your notes with both the highlighted book text and your user-added comments.


    1 Loren Imhoff Homebuilder, Inc. v. Taylor, 2022 WI App 14, ¶ 49, 401 Wis. 2d 510, 973 N.W. 2d 836.

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