Business Law

Does negotiating in my lawsuit make me look weak?

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In a word, No. It makes you look rational. Disputes happen. When they cannot be resolved, lawsuits happen. For better or worse, they are often a necessary part of doing business. At some point, if a dispute cannot be resolved, you have to have a third-party step in, and the best format we have derived […]

Business Litigation

What are my rights as a minority member of an LLC?

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The governance of Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) in Wisconsin is governed by Chapter 183 of the Wisconsin statutes. Those statutes set out the default rules regarding management and membership in an LLC. In an LLC, the owners are called members and have a membership percentage, rather than shareholders with shares of stock like a corporation. […]

Business Litigation

What if there is a judgment against my company?

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When your company is sued, the person suing you is looking for money. However, the mechanism for doing this is obtaining a judgment. After a trial or a motion for summary judgment the Judge (or Jury) will make a finding that you owe some money, and that finding will be reduced to a judgment. The […]

Business Litigation

How do I preserve my lien rights as a contractor in Wisconsin?

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Lien laws are both stringent and confusing. Any contractor who improves real property is given an extraordinary power of being able to place a lien on the property in the event of non-payment, before obtaining a judgment. However, in order to maintain that right, there are strict requirements for notice to the land owner that […]

Business Law

Are the goods you are importing from China subject to seizure?

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Governor Walker’s upcoming trip to China in April, 2013 is a good opportunity to remember potential issues involved in exporting and in particular, importing, from foreign countries. According to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation over the last decade Wisconsin Companies have exported nearly $1.4 billion in goods to China.

Business Formation

WDFI Warns of Corporate Records Service Scam

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The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions has said in a news release on Thursday that numerous business owners have been receiving a solicitation for information and credit card numbers to pay a fee to “Corporate Records Service.” The form comes pre-filled with very specific corporate information (available on-line) which makes it seem official. The WDFI […]

Business Formation

Do I need a license for my business in Wisconsin?

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There are a number of different regulations and licenses that a small business has to deal with. The most often overlooked is the requirement from each city for specific licensing. The State of Wisconsin requires licenses for a number of businesses from Accountants and Acupuncturists to Wild Rice Harvester and X-Ray Services. You can see […]

Business Litigation

Contractors Beware – Theft by Contractor is Easier Than You Think

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Most contractors represent a shining example of the all-American hardworking small business owner. Unfortunately, a few bad apples have a tendency to poison the public’s perception of the whole bunch. Thus, the Wisconsin Legislature has codified its “Theft by Contractor” statute under Wis. Stat. 779.02 setting forth very draconian rules about the use of customer […]

Other

Do I have a claim for Adverse Possession?

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When property disputes come up, one issue that is always raised is whether or not there is a claim for adverse possession. The concept of adverse possession comes from the common law concept that if someone utilizes, cares for, and treats property as his/her own for a long enough period of time, then they own […]

Business Litigation

Is My Automatically Renewing Contract Enforceable?

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The Wisconsin legislature, effective May 1, 2011, has implemented strict notice requirements for any automatically renewing “Business Contracts” entered into after May 1, 2011. The rule is codified through Wis. Stat. 134.49, and sets forth that any automatically renewing contract that does not make the following disclosures, will be held to be unenforceable as to […]

Business Litigation

What lien rights do I have as a commercial sub-contractor?

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The short answer is potentially a fair amount of rights, though as with many things it depends. In general residential work, the main mechanism for enforcing payment for both general contractors and sub-contractors is through the use of construction liens. This may not always be the case in commercial projects as it makes a difference […]

Business Formation

Why do I need an Operating Agreement for my LLC?

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There are two key documents with regards to forming an LLC in Wisconsin. The first is the Articles of Organization, which is filed with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (WDFI). The second is the Operating Agreement, which outlines the agreement between the members (which could be thought of as the “partners” in the business.) […]

Business Litigation

What do I do if I have been sued with a frivolous claim?

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The dreaded “frivolous claim” is always a difficult situation. First, you have to show that it is actually “frivolous”, and second, you may still end up spending a fair amount on attorneys’ fees getting even a frivolous claim dismissed. It is sometimes difficult to define what exactly is frivolous. In most lawsuits the Defendant feels […]

Business Litigation

What if my employee is sabotaging my company?

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While your employees may not owe a duty of loyalty to you personally , the Wisconsin Supreme Court has held that employees do owe their employer a duty of loyalty. In Burbank Grease Services, LLC v. Sokolowski, an employee was accused of stealing trade secrets of the Company while employed to benefit a competitor. The […]

Business Litigation

Can I just close my doors if my business is sued?

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Unfortunately, as is the case with many legal questions, the answer is maybe. There are a number of factors to look at before that question can be answered, and most likely you would need to see a lawyer to evaluate each individual case. Generally speaking a party suing your business, if they obtain a judgment […]

Business Litigation

What happens if I get sued? – Part 5 Trial

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After all of the discovery, motions, and attempts at settlement are completed it is time to go to trial, where the case will be decided. I have seen numerous reports making varied estimate, but the general consensus seems to be that only 2-5% of cases actually go to trial, the other 95-98% are resolved in […]

Business Litigation

What happens if I get sued? – Part 4 Mediation

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While mediation is voluntary, in most counties in Wisconsin, including Milwaukee and Waukesha County, the Court will order the parties to attend mediation. This does not mean that the parties must settle at mediation, only that they will attend. What Happens at Mediation? Mediation usually takes place after most of the discovery has been completed […]

Business Litigation

What happens if I get sued? -Part 3 Motions

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While there are a number of motions that may be filed during and after the discovery process, such as motions to compel discovery, or motions for protective orders, what I want to talk about are motions which directly effect the outcome of the case. So even though the title of this section is titled “Motions” […]

Business Litigation

What happens if I get sued? – Part 2- Discovery

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After the initial pleadings are entered, there will generally be a scheduling conference between the Attorneys and the Judge to set the schedule for the case. Part of that schedule will include a date in which all discovery must be completed. Litigation has been described as playing poker with everyone’s cards face up. While this […]