Oct. 17, 2011 – A three-year-old child died and others became ill after ingesting E. coli contaminated meat at two Milwaukee-area Sizzler area restaurants in 2000. Now, Sizzler USA is fighting to obtain damages and attorney fees from the supplier of beef containing the strain.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court accepted review in Estate of Kriefall v. Sizzler USA Franchise, 2009AP1212/2010AP491, a case in which franchisor Sizzler USA obtained a $6.5 million lost profits award from the meat supplier, Excel Corp., for breaching an implied warranty of merchantability. Sizzler USA is also seeking $1.7 million in attorney fees and costs incurred in defending the personal injury suit.
The court is asked to examine legal issues related to damage/lost profit limitations for breaches of express and implied warranties, indemnification, and attorney fees.
The supreme court also accepted review in three other cases: Brenner v. City of New Richmond, 2010AP342; WPS v. Arby Construction, 2010AP878 and; State v. Sutton, 2010AP1391.
In Brenner v. City of New Richmond, the court will decide the proper legal standard for determining whether a constitutional taking has occurred in an inverse condemnation case involving a runway extension at the New Richmond Regional Airport. In 2007, the city of New Richmond extended the main runway at the airport by 1,500 feet to accommodate certain types of jets, condemning 62 acres of private land.
Nearby property owners petitioned for just compensation, and argued the expansion has led to negative impacts from low-flying planes. The circuit court dismissed the case, but an appeals court held that the plaintiffs were entitled to compensation if they could prove the expansion had a direct, immediate, and substantial effect on the use and enjoyment of their land.
The court will examine the scope of the claim preclusion doctrine in WPS v. Arby Construction, a case in which two people were killed in a propone gas pipeline explosion. Arby provided excavation and boring services under contract with the Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (WPS).
Under contract, Arby was required to defend and indemnify WPS and its insurers for certain losses. Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services Limited (AEGIS), which issued an excess indemnity policy providing coverage to WPS, is now seeking indemnification from Arby.
The circuit concluded, and an appeals court affirmed, that AEGIS was barred from seeking indemnification against Arby based on claim preclusion, because there was a stipulated judgment in a prior case in which AEGIS, Arby, and WPS were defendants.
Finally, in State v. Sutton, the supreme court will examine the proper procedural mechanism for raising a claim of ineffective assistance of post-conviction or appellate counsel when the defendant has finished serving a sentence and the direct appeal is concluded or expired.
- Derived from full summaries posted on the Wisconsin Court System’s website.