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Wisconsin Legal Articles

Law related articles writen by lawyers
and experts witnesses practicing in Wisconsin

Diagnosing Traumatic Brain Injury with the DSM-5

The highly controversial, recently released, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5) addresses Traumatic Brain Injury in the chapter entitled “Neurocognitive Disorders." According to the DSM-5, the degree of the particular Neurocognitive Disorder Due to Traumatic Brain Injury can either be Major or Mild

Wisconsin Homebuyers: What You Need To Know About Contingencies

In real estate, a contingency is a condition included in a home purchase agreement, that must be completed before a deal can actually be finalized. If either party is unable to meet one, or more, of the contingent conditions, then the deal may be voided altogether. If you are buying a home in Wisconsin, you need to be aware how contingencies can be used to help you complete your purchase.

Don't Make These Mistakes in Your Divorce

Every divorce is different. The parties to a divorce have different needs and expectations. But across the board, any person going through a divorce should avoid these mistakes.

Bankruptcy Law in Wisconsin

What can bankruptcy accomplish for a person who is in debt in Wisconsin?

Safety Tips for the Motorcycle Season

As the weather warms up, more and more motorcycles are coming out of the garage, with riders ready to hit the road. Before you hop on your bike, remember to put safety first.

Wisconsin Marijuana Laws and Penalties

Wisconsin Marijuana Laws and Penalties for Possession, Paraphernalia, Growing and Intent to Deliver/Sell/Distribute

Wisconsin Recreational Vehicle Safety During the Winter Months

Every winter, Wisconsin is blanketed with acres upon acres of soft, fresh snow. This snow cover is ideal for snowmobile enthusiasts who carve out riding trails and enjoy the frozen scenery of winter. Like other recreational vehicles, such as ATVs and jet skis, snowmobiles can be dangerous. In 2014, a total of 181 snowmobile accident reports were filed in Wisconsin. Of these, 23 were fatal.

New Rules for Estate Recovery in Wisconsin

In 2014, the rules regulating the Wisconsin Estate Recovery program were updated to allow Medicaid and other long-term care insurance programs to recover funds from recipients of such coverage after they have passed on by claiming parts of their estates.

Business Ownership in the Family

Family owned businesses may thrive over multiple generations. To have lasting success, the family owned business needs to transition ownership from generation to generation. To preserve family harmony and maintain a healthy business, it may be best to transition ownership to family members that are active participants in the business, while allowing non-active family members an opportunity to “cash out” and direct their funds elsewhere as desired by their preferences.

Four Tips on Negotiating Startup Office Leases

Ready to move your startup out of the garage and into real office space? Here are some tips on negotiating your startup office lease.

Managing Retirement Benefits of Trust or Trusteed IRA

Congratulations on making the decision to plan for your retirement accounts through a trust or trusteed IRA. You’ve selected a cost-effective, responsible plan for your future. Now the question is, “What do I do in this plan?”

Planning for the Million Dollar Balance Retirement Account

A million dollar retirement account sounds like a significant sum. If something tragic were to happen, a retirement account of this size would seem to financially care for it’s beneficiaries for a long time. However, studies have shown that a typical inheritance is spent within 17 months.

What Happens After Filing an Initial Claim for Long Term Disability

What happens after filing an initial claim for Long Term Disability: The agony of ongoing and periodic LTD eligibility reviews. Throughout the duration of your LTD claim, you will be subject to ongoing and period eligibility reviews.

Taking a Medical Leave of Absence from Work

If you or your family is faced with a medical condition or issue that requires you to take leave from your job, you may have more protection than you think. Many employers must offer employees 12 weeks of leave for their medical conditions and medical conditions of their families necessitating leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The Powerful Patient: Documentation Before Applying for Medical Leave or Disability Benefits

Disabled individuals, or those with medical conditions that impair their ability to work, are often frustrated with the process of proving their disability or understanding what and how much of their medical information they must disclose. Frequently, they also express frustration with their doctor’s office in providing the necessary information. But patients are more powerful in these situations than they realize.

The Importance of Proof of Ownership

There are many advantages to owning a business, assuming that ownership can be proven. Owning a business allows for personal wealth appreciation as the value of the underlying business increases. Corporate stock and limited liability entity ownership or membership interests provide an added benefit of liability protection.

Always, Always, Always Read the Contract

Think about the last contract you signed. Did you know which sections were negotiable? Which provisions, with negotiated changes, could have enhanced the value received from the contract?

Wisconsin Changes Unemployment Insurance Law To The Detriment of Employees

As of January 5, 2014, Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance laws changed dramatically. The new law codifies and expands the definition of misconduct and creates a lesser standard which employers may use to prevent a n employee from collecting benefits. This article will briefly outline the changes to Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance law related to discharged employees.

No-Fault Attendance Policies Open Potential For Fault

Under a “no-fault” attendance policy, an employee accrues one point per absence, regardless of the reason for the absence. After an employee accumulates a pre-designated number of absences, the employee is usually subject to increasing levels of discipline (a “progressive disciplinary policy”), ending with termination.

The Perils of Not Hiring an Employment Law Attorney: Cautionary Tales

We see you rolling your eyes. “Oh, go figure, 2 employment attorneys preaching about the ‘dangers’ of not being represented by an employment law firm. Shiver me timbers!” Okay, so that last part got a bit pirate-y, but all we ask is that you please hold your presumptions about what we’re going to say here and why, at least until you’ve finished reading this. Now, BRING ON THE PULPIT!

Yay or Nay? Potential Certification Consequences under the FMLA

For those of you paying attention, that title rhymed. In any event, as we touched on in a previous article, certification is an important concept to understand in the FMLA process. It can be the difference between an absence being covered or not covered by the Family & Medical Leave Act.

12 Divided by 4 = Option 3... What? Wait for It

In our previous articles about the Family & Medical Leave Act, we noted that covered employers must grant eligible employees up to a total of 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period (the “12” in the title). There are 4 (yup, the title again) methods for determining that 12-month period. The constant, regardless of the method chosen, is that the method used must, must, must be communicated to employees.

Basic FMLA Responsibilities for Employers

We spent the last article providing an overview of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – who’s covered, who’s not, and where to find additional resources made available by the Department of Labor. But as an employer, what are your basic responsibilities when your company is covered by the Family Medical Leave Act?

Quick Facts about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Although we discuss the Family & Medical Leave Act on our website, we thought we would provide a second source of quick facts on the FMLA and provide links to some quick and easy-to-understand resources for anyone looking for more FMLA information.

Background Checks Can Lead to Liability in Wisconsin

Not handling the background check process correctly or misusing the information contained within the background check, also called a consumer report, can lead to liability for employers. Some potential background check pitfalls employers could face include:

Proof Workplace Discrimination Can Happen to Anyone

The attorneys at Walcheske & Luzi, LLC are continually surprised by the number of people who believe workplace discrimination could never happen to them. It is important to protect yourself and not assume others always have your best interest at heart. We’ve compiled workplace discrimination examples that demonstrate it can and does happen, and sometimes with a surprising twist. This one’s for the non-believers.

Clinical Integration and the Rochester Network Advisory Opinion

  By Ruder Ware
The Rochester Network Advisory Opinion is one of the few sources that we have to get a glimpse of what is required for a health care organization to "clinically integrate." Clinical integration is one method to reduce risk under the antitrust laws. Some of the details of the advisory opinion are discussed and analyzed by provider integration attorney John Fisher.

Medical Director Compensation and Compliance

  By Ruder Ware
Compensation to medical directors has become a 'hot-button" compliance issue. If not properly structured and monitored, a medical director arrangement can become a major compliance problem. Health care attorney John Fisher discussed some of the recent cases addressing medical director compensation and what they mean to health care providers.

Medical Director Compensation and Compliance

  By Ruder Ware
Compensation to medical directors has become a 'hot-button" compliance issue. If not properly structured and monitored, a medical director arrangement can become a major compliance problem. Health care attorney John Fisher discussed some of the recent cases addressing medical director compensation and what they mean to health care providers.

The False Claims Act – Application of the Lincoln Law to the Health Care Industry

  By Ruder Ware
The False Claims Act was originally focused on the defense industry during the Civil War. It was later expanded during the defense industry scandals of the 1980s. Now, the law is being applied liberally in the health care industry with very severe potential consequences for health care providers.

No Background Check Authorization, No Background Check for You!

For Wisconsin employers, a common question is "what happens if the job applicant refuses to sign the background check authorization form?" The obvious answer is, the employer cannot run a background check on the potential employee without a signed background check authorization form.

Background Checks and the Fair Credit Reporting Act

A natural segue from our last article regarding conviction records is to briefly touch on background checks and the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). For the truly ambitious, the you can read the complete FCRA text. Background checks are most commonly encountered during the hiring process. For that reason, we will focus on a scenario involving an employer and an applicant.

Conviction Record Discrimination under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act

Like arrest record discrimination, conviction record claims are not under federal law, but rather only under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act. Also like arrest record discrimination, the same “substantial relationship” exception can be applicable.

Arrest Record Discrimination in Wisconsin

Arrest record claims in Wisconsin are full of twists and turns, loopholes, and caveats. For this reason, they can easily get screwed up if you are not careful. We recommend that you always, always talk to an attorney about these situations.

It's the Cola: Pepsi Settles Conviction Record Discrimination Case

In January, Pepsi Beverages entered into a pre-litigation settlement of $3.13 million to resolve race discrimination charges that were filed with the Minneapolis EEOC. Through its investigation, the EEOC found reasonable cause that the criminal background check policy previously utilized by Pepsi had an adverse impact African Americans based on their race, in violation of Title VII.

Holier Than Thou Redux: New Case Tests Limits of the Ministerial Exception

Sometimes leaving the TV on for background noise can yield results. About 2 weeks ago, I caught a brief teaser for an upcoming story about a former Indiana Catholic school teacher, Emily Herx, who was fired by her diocese after they learned she was trying to have a baby. More specifically, after they learned she was trying to conceive using fertility treatments. Here’s what happened:

Holier Than Thou: Religious Organizations Free to Discriminate?

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court gave religious organizations more freedom in hiring and firing by expanding the “ministerial exception” to anti-discrimination laws, meaning that churches and religious employers cannot be sued for discrimination by employees who qualify as a “minister.” According to the Supreme Court, a minister is anyone who conveys or promotes the religious organization’s message. That’s a very broad and flexible standard, but that is as specific as the Court would get.

Wisconsin Governor Walker's Repeal of 2009 Wisconsin Act 20

Recently in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker repealed 2009 Wisconsin Act 20, which allowed victims of employment discrimination in Wisconsin to seek compensatory and punitive damages in state court. There has been a lot of talk about this Act and its repeal recently (the vast majority politically slanted one way or another). We thought we’d provide you with the straight facts about Governor Scott Walker’s repeal and the practical effects it will likely have.

Foreseeability in Premises Security Liability Cases

The underlying concept in most premises security liability cases is foreseeability. But that concept is not always fully understood. As relates to adequacy and sufficiency of security – the standard by which a business’s security will be measured – foreseeability as defined by most courts in the U.S. (with only a few minor exceptions, most notably Michigan) is a broad concept which is usually determined by a formal assessment of 4 distinct criteria:

It’s a Myth – Auto Accident – “Just Being There”

In talking to clients and prospective clients I often hear them remark that anyone involved in an accident is negligent “just for being there”. That is a myth, an urban legend, and something the insurance companies would like you to believe.

Truth in Auto Repeal and Reducing Clauses

Beware Wisconsin car insurance consumers: Beginning with auto insurance policies issued or renewed after November 1, 2011, uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage can be reduced by amounts payable by or on behalf of the uninsured driver or the underinsured driver, by the amounts paid or payable under any worker’s compensation law, or amounts paid or payable under any disability benefits laws. Wisconsin Statute §632.32(5)(i).

Are Medical Rankings Reliable?

When we go under the knife for surgery, we place our lives in the hands of the doctor performing the operation and the hospital where it is taking place. We trust that we will be treated with care and that all precautions will be taken to keep us safe. However, sad it may be, some doctors and hospitals simply do a better job than others when it comes to protecting the safety of patients.

Wisconsin Alters Personal Injury Law: a Danger to the Injured?

Aimed at improving the state's business climate, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law a comprehensive tort reform bill.

Wisconsin Boating Safety

Summer, sun and water are the perfect trio for many Midwesterners. With so many people out to enjoy the lakes, boating safety is critical.

Wisconsin Bans Text Messaging While Driving

In May, Wisconsin became the 25th state to ban the act of text messaging while driving any motor vehicle.

Wisconsin Implements New Drunk Driving Laws

Beginning in July 2010, Wisconsin drivers will face higher fines, more jail time and stricter penalties for driving under the influence (DUI). Signed into law by Governor Jim Doyle on December 22, 2009, the new rules are viewed by many lawmakers as far from perfect — but a move toward strengthening Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws.

Occupational Injuries and Occupational Diseases

Wisconsin law recognizes two types of on-the-job injuries that are compensable under an employer's workers' compensation insurance policy: accidental injuries and occupational diseases.

New Wisconsin Car Insurance Law Benefits Drivers

The New Year is already looking up for Wisconsin drivers! By January 1, 2010, all of the provisions of the Truth in Auto Insurance law will be in effect - holding auto insurance providers accountable once again.

Recreational Vehicles and Motorcycles Are a Recipe for Fun and Danger

Although the warm-weather season in Wisconsin can be short, Wisconsin residents love to make the most of it. We enjoy our numerous lakes, forests and scenic roadways on personal watercraft, all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles. These recreational vehicles bring people closer to the great outdoors with the added thrill of adventure. Even in the wintertime, the cold weather doesn’t keep residents indoors, with snowmobiles providing the same benefits.

The Physician Assistant Expert Witness and Medico-legal Consultant: A Guide for Attorneys and Experts

Brief overview of PA scope of practice and supervising physician role and relationship. Recommendations for the use of PA experts to provide opinions on the standard of care.

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