2007 News

Another Ratepayer Victory

The Commission ruled that ratepayers should not have to pay for $22 million of costs incurred by Wisconsin Electric Power Company due to an extended outage at the Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant in 2005. The Commission ruled that the utility could have taken steps to prevent the extended outage. December 2007.

Pines Nominated for ATHENA Award®

In recognition of his many accomplishments, including supporting and assisting women in reaching their full leadership potential, Attorney Lester A. Pines has been nominated for the prestigious ATHENA Award®, administered by the Business Forum. The ATHENA Award® honors individuals who strive toward the highest levels of personal and professional accomplishment, who excel in their chosen field, devote time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and forge paths of leadership for women to follow. The 2008 Award recipient will be announced at the ATHENA Award® Program in Madison on March 11, 2008. December 2007.

Gabriel Joins Emerge WI Board

Attorney Theresa R. Gabriel was selected to join the Board of Directors of Emerge Wisconsin, a political leadership training program for women. The Emerge mission is to identify, educate, and inspire women who want to pursue careers in politics as Democrats at the local and state level in Wisconsin and to help them develop media skills and improve their knowledge of local issues. December 2007.

Proposed Settlement in Carrier Lawsuit

Wisconsin residents who have owned a Carrier 90+% high efficiency condensing gas furnace that was made and sold since January 1, 1989 may be eligible for cash and an extended warranty under a proposed nationwide class settlement. Attorneys Lester Pines and Tamara Packard were among the attorneys representing class members.

A notification program began December 3, as ordered by the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, to alert people who own or owned a high efficiency gas furnace that was made by Carrier Corporation ("Carrier") since January 1, 1989, about a proposed settlement of the litigation against Carrier.

The lawsuit includes anyone who owns or owned a Carrier 90+% high efficiency condensing gas furnace with a polypropylene-laminated ("PPL") secondary heat exchanger that was made and sold since January 1, 1989. Former owners are only included if their secondary heat exchanger failed. These furnaces were sold under the brand names "Carrier," "Bryant," "Payne," and "Day & Night." Carrier denies that it did anything wrong, and the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or an indication that any law was violated.

The settlement will make payments to people who had a secondary heat exchanger failure and offer an enhanced 20-year warranty on their high- efficiency gas furnaces. Those included in the settlement may send in a claim form to ask for a payment, or they can exercise other legal rights such as asking to be excluded from, or objecting to, the settlement. The deadline for exclusions and objections is March 21, 2008. The deadline to submit claims is August 1, 2008.

Notices informing people about their legal rights will be mailed, and are scheduled to appear nationally in newspapers and other publications, leading up to a hearing on April 22, 2008, when the Court will consider whether to approve the settlement.

The Court has appointed the law firms of Tousley Brain Stephens PLLC of Seattle, Washington; Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP of New York, New York; Pines Bach of Madison, Wisconsin; and Heins Mills & Olson, P.L.C. of Minneapolis, Minnesota as "Class Counsel" to represent the people included in the settlement.

A toll-free number, 1-866-517-2490, has been established in the case (called Grays Harbor Adventist Christian School v. Carrier Corporation, No. CV05-5437), along with a website, www.FurnaceClaims.com, where notices, a claim form, the settlement agreement, and a list of qualifying furnace models may be obtained. Those affected may also write to Furnace Settlement, PO Box 56636, Jacksonville, FL 32241-6636. December 2007.

Clancy Ruoho Joins Family Law Section Board

Attorney Elise Clancy Ruoho was elected to the Board of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin. This Section provides formal and informal opportunities for education in the family law area, monitors family case and statutory law, and develops legislation for improvement of these laws. November 2007.

Super Lawyers and Rising Stars at CWPB

Once again, CWPB attorneys have been named Wisconsin Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, as announced in the December issue of Milwaukee Magazine. CWPB attorneys honored as 2007 Super Lawyers, and the practice areas in which they are honored, are: Attorney Lester Pines (Criminal Defense), Attorney Steve Bach(Family Law), and Attorney Jordan Loeb (Criminal Defense). CWPB attorneys honored as 2007 Rising Stars, and the practice areas in which they are honored, are: Attorney Tamara Packard (Employment & Labor), and Attorney Elise Clancy Ruoho (Family Law). Steve Bach was additionally honored among the top 50 Super Lawyers, all practices.

Only 5% of Wisconsin lawyers are recognized as Super Lawyers, and only 2.5% are recognized as Rising Stars. The selection process involves peer nominations and reviews, and evaluation of individual attorney achievements. We are honored by this recognition from our fellow attorneys, and thank all of our attorneys and staff for again making CWPB a super law firm for our clients. November 2007.

Presidential Election

On November 4, at the annual meeting of the Madison Jewish Community Council, the Jewish Federation of South Central Wisconsin, Attorney Lester Pines was elected to a two year term as its President. November 2007.

Significant Arbitration

Attorney Lester Pines won a significant arbitration for the Wisconsin Professional Police Association. The decision held that demotions can encompass changes of duty and status even if the employee does not suffer a reduction in salary. November 2007.

Legally Speaking

Attorney Tamara Packard has been invited to write a legal column for the new Madison magazine, Our Lives, which is targeted to the LGBTQA community. The magazine publishes every other month, and Tamara's first column will appear in the January/February 2008 edition. The column will provide legal information about issues commonly faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. October 2007.

Pines Radio Appearance

Attorney Lester Pines appeared on Glen Gardner's radio program on WTDY-AM to discuss legal topics as part of CWPB's "Know the Law" presentations. October 2007.

"The Best Lawyers In America"

Attorneys Steven Bach, and Lester Pines have been chosen by their peers for inclusion in the 2008 edition of "The Best Lawyers In America" (Copyright 2007 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, S.C.). Bach was named in the areas of Family Law, Collaborative Family Law and Family Law Mediation; Cullen was recognized for his work in Communications Law, Energy Law and Labor & Employment; and Pines was chosen for excellence in White Collar Criminal Defense, Non-White Collar Criminal Defense and Labor & Employment.

Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 25,000 leading attorneys cast almost two million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their specialties, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. September 2007.

CWPB is On the Air

Listen to "Know the Law" Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:40 am on Madison's 1670 WTDY Radio. Pines Bach lawyers answer common questions about family law, small business, personal injury, employment, estate planning, criminal law and other legal matters. You can listen to podcasts of all of CWPB's Know the Law segments by going to WTDY's website. September 2007.

Family and Medical Leave Act Victory

Attorney Tamara Packard won a wrongful termination case against WEA Trust which had fired her client due in part to "excessive absences." The Wisconsin Equal Rights Division found that the Trust had violated Wisconsin's Family Medical Leave Act and ordered it to reinstate the employee with back pay, benefits and attorney's fees. Read the decision. September 2007.

Settlement Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

Attorney Lester Pines, whose services were provided through the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, resolved the claims of a Beloit police officer who served in the first Gulf War and whose state pension was not properly continued during his active duty service. August 2007.

Settlements in Personal Injury Cases

Attorney Lester Pines settled the claims of family members who were injured when a helicopter crashed into their house on Lake Wisconsin in Sauk County and setting it on fire, and the claims of a Walworth County police officer who was seriously injured in an collision while he was on duty. August 2007.

Local Counsel in Patent Case

Pines Bach is local counsel for Pitney Bowes, Inc. in a patent infringement case against Data-Pak, Inc. in the Western District of Wisconsin. Lead counsel are from Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi in Minneapolis. August 2007.

We Are Growing

Pines Bach is proud to announce the addition of a new associate to the firm. Theresa R. Gabriel joins the Labor & Employment and Litigation sections of the firm. She brings practical experience in labor-management relations and a passion for solving our clients' problems. Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Theresa! July 2007.

Barrows Case Against UW Settled

The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin approved a settlement with Paul Barrows, formerly the Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2006, after Barrows was exonerated on sexual harassment charges by the Academic Staff Appeals Committee, the Provost placed a letter of counseling in Dr. Barrows' file. As a result of the agreement, that letter of counseling was removed and the University paid Dr. Barrows $135,000 to resolve all outstanding claims. Dr. Barrows was represented by Attorney Lester Pines. July 2007.

Local Counsel in Patent Litigation

Pines Bach is local counsel for Enterasys Networks, Inc. in a patent infringement case in the Western District of Wisconsin. The case involves claims related to equipment used for managing internet traffic. Lead counsel are from the Boston office of the Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi law firm, which is based in Minneapolis. July 2007.

Judge Ziegler Admits Ethics Violation

Attorney Lester Pines successfully represented the State Ethics Board in its administrative complaint against Judge Annette Ziegler for her violation of the State Ethics Code. The case was settled when Judge Ziegler admitted the violation and agreed to pay a $5,000 forfeiture and to reimburse the Board for cost of prosecuting the complaint and defending Judge Ziegler's attempt to have the Wisconsin Supreme Court enjoin the Board's proceedings, approximately $12,000. Attorney Tamara Packard, along with Lester Pines, represented the Board before the Supreme Court. Read their brief in the Supreme Court and the Settlement Agreement. May 2007.

CWPB joins the Business Coalition for Benefits Tax Equity

Pines Bach has joined other businesses from around the country in the Business Coalition for Benefits Tax Equity. The Coalition supports eliminating the federal tax inequities that result when companies voluntarily provide health care coverage to the domestic partners of their employees. Other Coalition partners include Bausch & Lomb, Inc., General Mills, Inc., Motorola, and Xerox Corporation. Read more about the Coalition, and the federal bill pending to eliminate the inequities in federal tax law. April 2007.

CWPB Protects Employees' Retirement Benefits

Attorney Lester Pines represented 14 City of West Bend police officers in an appeal of their employer's refusal to report the officers as "employees" for a portion of their employment. The State of Wisconsin Retirement Board sided with the officer and its decision was upheld by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi. Link to the decision here. March 2007.