The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ decision affirming the circuit court’s dismissal of Koss Corporation’s claim that Park Bank acted in bad faith in processing transactions initiated by Sujata Sachdeva and affirmed the dismissal of Park Bank’s third-party claims, holding that Park Bank was not liable to Koss Corporation. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Park Bank on Koss Corporation’ Uniform Fiduciaries Act (UFA) claim. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Wis. Stat. 112.01(1)(c) describes the term “good faith” as honest bank acts, even when negligently done, and “bad faith” pursuant to section 112.01(9), an intentional tort, may be shown by acts evidencing bank dishonesty; and (2) Koss Corporation failed to offer evidence of bank dishonesty on the part of Park Bank, and therefore, Park Bank was not liable for the intentional tort of bad faith. View "Koss Corp. v. Park Bank" on Justia Law
A wine grantor-dealer relationship is not included within the definition of a dealership in Wis. Stat. 135.02(3)(b). The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit certified to the Supreme Court the question answered above in order to determine whether Winebow, Inc.’s attempt to end its business relationship with two wine distributors was governed by the unilateral termination limitations of the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law (WFDL), Wis. Stat. 135.03. Winebow argued that its unilateral termination of its relationship with the distributors was permissible because the parties’ business relationship was not an “intoxicating liquor” dealership entitled to the protections of the WFDL. The Supreme Court held that the operative definition of “intoxicating liquor” for purposes of Wis. Stat. ch. 135 explicitly excludes wine, and therefore, a wine grantor-dealer relationship is not included within the definition of a dealership in section 135.02(3)(b). View "Winebow, Inc. v. Capitol-Husting Co., Inc." on Justia Law
Debra Sands appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Menard, Inc. Sands and John Menard, Jr., were involved in a romantic relationship from late 1997 to April 2006. Sands alleged that from 1998 until 2006 she cohabitated with Menard and they engaged in a "joint enterprise" to work together and grow Menard's businesses for their mutual benefit. Menard and his affiliated entities argued that by failing to comply with Supreme Court Rule 20:1.8(a), which regulated business transactions between lawyers and their clients, Sands was precluded from seeking an ownership interest in any of Menard's various business ventures. As to the claim she characterized as a “Watts” unjust enrichment claim, the Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded Sands failed to allege facts which, if true, would support her legal conclusion that she and Menard had a joint enterprise that included accumulation of assets in which both she and Menard expected to share equally. Furthermore, the Court held SCR 20:1.8(a) could guide courts in determining required standards of care generally; however, it could not be used as an absolute defense to a civil claim involving an attorney. Finally, the Court concluded the court of appeals properly granted summary judgment to Sands on Menard, Inc.'s counterclaim for breach of fiduciary duty, and to the Trustees on their motion for summary judgment dismissing Sands' claim. View "Sands v. Menard, Jr." on Justia Law
The Supreme Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Frederick Wells, holding that North Highland, Inc. failed present sufficient evidence to support either its claim of conspiracy to breach a fiduciary duty or its claim of misappropriation of a trade secret. North Highland alleged that Wells conspired to breach a fiduciary duty that a former North Highland employee owed to the company and that Wells misappropriated a trade secret. The court of appeals affirmed the circuit court order, concluding that North Highland failed to set forth facts establishing that there was a conspiracy or that a trade secret was misappropriated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the record was insufficient to support a conspiracy claim or a misappropriation of a trade secret claim. View "North Highland Inc. v. Jefferson Machine & Tool Inc." on Justia Law
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals, which affirmed the circuit court’s judgment dismissing a lawsuit filed by Petitioners, four golf professionals, against the City of Madison (the City pursuant to the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law (the WFDL). Petitioners filed a lawsuit against the City after the City informed them that it would not be renewing operating agreements with Petitioners to oversee clubhouse operations at certain golf courses. Petitioners alleged that the City failed to comply with the WFDL in ending the City’s relationship with them and seeking damages. The circuit court granted summary judgment to the City, concluding that the relationships between Petitioners and the City did not constitute “dealerships” protected by the WFDL. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the WFDL applies to the City; (2) the relationships between Petitioners and the City are “dealerships” under the WFDL; and (3) Petitioners’ lawsuit is not time-barred, and the City is not immune from the lawsuit. View "Benson v. City of Madison" on Justia Law
Defendants executed guaranty contracts in order to secure financing to run their business operations. Bank subsequently commenced foreclosure proceedings on the business. Afterwards, Bank commenced an action against Defendants seeking payment under the guaranty contracts. Defendants, in response, alleged several counterclaims and affirmative defenses. Bank filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Defendants' counterclaims and affirmative defenses were derivative of the corporation, and therefore Defendants lacked standing to raise them. Bank also asserted that Defendants' affirmative defenses were barred because they were subject to claim preclusion. The circuit court ultimately granted summary judgment to Bank. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Defendants' counterclaims and affirmative defenses were derivative and that they lacked standing to raise them in this action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Bank was entitled to summary judgment dismissing all of Defendants' counterclaims, as each of the counterclaims was derivative; (2) Defendants' affirmative defenses did not defeat Bank's demand under the guaranties for payment; and (3) the circuit court correctly granted summary judgment to Bank because Defendants failed to raise any genuine issue of material fact showing payment was not due. View "Park Bank v. Westburg" on Justia Law
Plaintiff was a minority shareholder in Defendant, a company that served the fantasy football league market. Plaintiff sought specific performance of the stock repurchase agreement that he and the majority shareholder had signed. At issue was whether Defendant should pay only the appraised value for Plaintiff's shares or whether Defendant should pay the stipulated share price, which was approximately six times more, where Defendant delayed terminating Plaintiff's employment until the stipulated price expired. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that this case required balancing of the equities that were due to a specific performance claim and consideration of the potential application of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The Supreme Court affirmed and remanded for the circuit court's determination of "where the bulk of the equities lie, including an evaluation of what the parties intended when they agreed to the stock repurchase agreement, and whether it should grant specific performance" as Plaintiff requested. View "Beidel v. Sideline Software, Inc." on Justia Law
This case arose from territory-related disputes between two franchisees, Paul Davis Restoration of S.E. Wisconsin, Inc. (Southeast) and Paul Davis Restoration of Northeast Wisconsin (Northeast). The results of an arbitration process included an award for Southeast against Northeast, which is the name under which EA Green Bay, LLC (Green Bay) did business. Green Bay opposed the subsequent garnishment action on the grounds that the judgment, entered against Northeast only, was unenforceable. The circuit court held that any valid judgment against Northeast was also enforceable against Green Bay. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) if the name under which a person or corporation does business is simply another way to refer to a single legal entity and constitutes no entity distinct from the person or corporation who does business, then a judgment against the "doing business as" or "d/b/a" name is enforceable against the legal entity from which it is indistinct; and (2) therefore, the judgment against Green Bay's d/b/a designation, Northeast, was enforceable against Green Bay. View "Paul Davis Restoration of Se. Wis., Inc. v. Paul Davis Restoration of Ne. Wis." on Justia Law
Robert Johnson filed a summons and complaint against Cintas Corporation, alleging he had automobile liability insurance coverage through Cintas. Johnson subsequently served his summons and complaint upon the registered agent for Cintas Corporation No. 2, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cintas. Johnson then amended his summons and complaint to name Cintas No. 2 as the correct defendant. The circuit court granted default judgment against Cintas No. 2 and denied that Cintas No. 2 was entitled to notice of the amended summons and complaint. The court of appeals reversed, holding that because Johnson's summons and complaint did not name Cintas No. 2 as a defendant, the circuit court lacked personal jurisdiction over Cintas No. 2, and therefore, the default judgment was void. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that service in this case was fundamentally defective because Johnson failed to name Cintas No. 2 as a defendant in his summons and complaint, and therefore, the circuit court lacked personal jurisdiction over Cintas No. 2, regardless of the manner in which Cintas No. 2 held itself out to the public or to Johnson specifically.
Crown Castle USA, Inc. commenced an action against Orion Construction Group, LLC in Pennsylvania seeking monetary damages to satisfy an account receivable. The court entered default judgment against Orion Construction, and Crown Castle filed its foreign judgment in the office of the clerk of court of Outagamie County. The county court commissioner ordered Orion Logistics, LLC, a non-judgment debtor third party, to testify at a supplemental proceeding. The court of appeals affirmed the order. At issue on appeal was whether Orion Logistics could be compelled to testify at the supplemental proceeding under Wis. Stat. 816.06 when it was not a judgment debtor. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that section 816.06 does not grant a judgment creditor the right to compel a non-judgment debtor third party to testify at supplemental proceedings.