Wisconsin Supreme Court Update: June 2023

JurisdictionWisconsin,United States
Law FirmMeissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols
Subject MatterInsurance, Government, Public Sector, Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Insurance Laws and Products, Constitutional & Administrative Law, Court Procedure, Trials & Appeals & Compensation, Personal Injury
AuthorMr Caleb R. Gerbitz
Published date13 June 2023

The Wisconsin Supreme Court handed down decisions last month on issues involving healthcare, constitutional law, and employment issues. Read on for all the latest.

Cases Decided

Gahl v. Aurora Health Care, Inc., No. 2021AP1787-FT


Decision Filed: May 2, 2023

Public Citation: 2023 WI 35

In October of 2021, Allen Gahl, acting as power of attorney for a Covid-19 patient, petitioned the circuit court for an order compelling Aurora Health Care to administer ivermectin to the patient. The circuit court issued a temporary order providing a process by which ivermectin would be administered to the patient'an order the court of appeals promptly stayed and later reversed. In a majority decision authored by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley and joined by six of the court's seven justices, the court affirmed. It held that the circuit court erroneously exercise of discretion because it failed to reference any legal basis on which Gahl had a reasonable probability of success on the merits, which is one of the required showings for issuance of preliminary relief. The court did not consider any of the three legal theories Gahl raised on appeal to support the circuit court's order because a reviewing court could not identify any legal theory the circuit court actually relied on. Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley authored a lengthy dissent in which she argued that the majority incorrectly applied the erroneous exercise of discretion standard because it did not look for reasons to sustain the circuit court's decision.

Wisconsin Justice Initiative, Inc. v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, No. 2020AP2003

Constitutional Law

Decision Filed: May 16, 2023

Public Citation: 2023 WI 38

In April of 2020, the people of Wisconsin ratified a constitutional amendment colloquially known as Marsy's Law. It was aimed at expanding victim rights and included several multi-faceted provisions. In this case, an organization called the Wisconsin Justice Initiative brought a state constitutional challenge, claiming that the short summary of the proposed amendment included on voters' ballots insufficiently described the contours of the amendment. Six justices rejected the challenge, expressing relatively broad agreement that the ballot question was sufficient.

What's really interesting about this case, though, are the sharply divided opinions it generated. The majority opinion, authored by Justice Hagedorn and joined primarily by the more traditionally conservative wing of the court, took the...

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