2006 News

2006 News

CWPB Attorneys recognized as “Top Lawyers”

Attorneys Steve Bach and Lester Pines were recognized as “Top Lawyers” in Madison, as chosen by their area peers in a survey conducted by Madison Magazine. Results were published in its January 2007 issue. Attorney Steve Bach was identified for his work in Family law, and Attorney Lester Pines was identified for his Criminal Defense work. December 2006.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against the Carrier Corporation

Pines Bach LLP, along with Lieff, Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLC , of San Francisco, and Tousley Brain Stephens PLLC, and Edwards & Hagen PS of Seattle are plaintiffs’ counsel in a Michigan class action lawsuit filed against the Carrier Corporation for marketing and selling high efficiency furnaces with defective secondary heat exchangers. Attorney Tamara Packard, who is admitted to practice in Michigan, is the lead Michigan attorney on the case. December 2006.

Another Victory for Professional Police Association

In another victory for a Wisconsin Professional Police Association bargaining unit, Attorney Tamara Packard won in part an arbitration brought on behalf of the unit representing the Department of Public Works employees of the City of Baraboo. The unit had grieved the City’s decision to hire a non-City employee to operate a street sweeper after the 2004 Great Circus Parade. Applying the clause in the collective bargaining agreement which strictly limits the City’s ability to hire non-City employees to perform bargaining unit work, and recognizing that the operation of sweeping equipment is work regularly performed by DPW employees, Arbitrator Sherwood Malamud ordered the City to pay the employee who would have driven the sweeper his lost wages. December 2006.

Victory for Professional Police Association

Contributing another chapter in the ongoing debate over the Constitutional powers of Sheriffs, the Juneau County Circuit Court ruled that two deputies are entitled to utilize the arbitration process negotiated between their union, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, and the County, after the Sheriff assigned the detectives to perform the duties of jailers. The Court agreed with the WPPA, represented by Attorneys Lester Pines and Tamara Packard, holding that the deputies are entitled to arbitrate the question of whether the assignments were demotions or disciplinary, and the Sheriff could not avoid arbitration and act unilaterally by simply citing to his Constitutional powers to assign deputies to specific tasks. “The sheriff’s power to demote is not constitutionally protected and, here, the assignment to the jail, alleged to be a demotion[,] is arbitrable.” Read the Court’s entire decision. December 2006.

Super Lawyers and Rising Stars at CWPB

More than half of our lawyers have been named Wisconsin Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, as announced in Milwaukee Magazine. CWPB attorneys honored as Super Lawyers, and the practice areas in which they are honored, include: Attorney Lester Pines ( Criminal Defense), Attorney Steve Bach ( Family Law), and Attorney Jordan Loeb ( Criminal Defense). Attorney Steve Bach received the additional honor of being named in the top 50 Wisconsin Super Lawyers, all categories. CWPB attorneys honored as Rising Stars, and the practice areas in which they are honored, are: Attorney Tamara Packard (Employment & Labor), Attorney Elise Ruoho ( Family Law). 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 making CWPB a super law firm for our clients. November 2006.

CWPB attorneys lead Jewish Council

Attorneys Jordan Loeb and Lester Pines were both re-elected as vice-presidents of the Madison Jewish Community Council, south central Wisconsin’s Jewish federation, at the organization’s annual meeting. November 2006.

$80,000 Dispute Claim Settled

Attorney Lester Pines, assisted by paralegal Genny Gibbs-Benesh, who coordinates the Pines Bach LLP workers’ compensation practice, settled a disputed claim for $80,000 for a special educational assistant who was a member of Madison Teachers Inc. She was in her early sixties when she suffered a disabling back injury and subsequently retired from her position with the Madison Metropolitan School District. The District and its insurer had denied that she was disabled. October 2006.

Pines Debates Constitutional Marriage Ban

Attorney Lester Pines appeared as a panelist on a Milwaukee Public Television broadcast of the 4th Street Forum’s debate on the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage entitled: “Will the ‘Marriage Protection Amendment’ Make Us a Better Society?” This was one of numerous presentation he made this Fall in opposition to the amendment. October 2006.

Brief Filed in Response to Mark Green Petition

On behalf of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Attorney Tamara Packard filed this amicus curiae brief in response to the petition in the Wisconsin Supreme Court filed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Green seeking leave to proceed in an original action before that court to challenge the order of the Wisconsin Elections Board directing him to refrain from using $495,000 that he improperly transferred from his federal campaign account to his state campaign account. Before filing in the Supreme Court, Green had unsuccessfully sought an injunction against the Elections Board in the Dane County Circuit Court. The Supreme Court accepted the amicus brief. The case is pending for a decision as to whether the Court will allow Green’s action to proceed. October 2006.

Permanent Injunction Obtained on Behalf of Sierra Club

In a citizen’s lawsuit to enforce the provisions of the Clean Air Act, Attorney Lester Pines, representing the Sierra Club, obtained a permanent injunction from the federal court in the Southern District of Illinois against Franklin County Power of Illinois LLC, EnviroPower, LLC, and Khanjee Holding (US), Inc. prohibiting them from constructing a 500 MW coal-fired power plant in Benton, Illinois that they were attempting to build in violation of their Clean Air Act permit. Read the court’s decision. October 2006.

CWPB Counsels Class Action Lawsuit

Pines Bach LLP, along with Lieff, Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, of San Francisco, and Tousley Brain Stephens PLLC, and Edwards & Hagen PS of Seattle are plaintiffs’ counsel in a class action lawsuit filed in Wisconsin against the Carrier Corporation for marketing and selling thousands of high efficiency furnaces that have defective secondary heat exchangers. Attorney Lester Pines is the lead Wisconsin attorney on the case. Review the Plaintiffs’ Complaint. October 2006.

Packard Speaks Against Gay Marriage Ban

Topping off numerous speaking engagements on behalf of the Fair Wisconsincampaign to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment banning civil unions and marriage for gay and lesbian couples, Attorney Tamara Packard explained to Rotary club members in Waukesha and Waunakee how the amendment failed the Rotary “Four Way Test.” Read her presentation. October 2006.

Ruling: Calumet County violated Bargaining Agreement

At the urging of CWPB on behalf of its union client, Commissioner Susan J. M. Bauman of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, ruled that Calumet County violated its Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Calumet County Law Enforcement Employees Unit and the Wisconsin Professional Police Association/LEER Division when it unilaterally imposed a medical certification requirement on County employees represented by the Union. The County was ordered to make the employees whole for any losses incurred as a result of the certification requirement. September 2006.

Packard Negotiates Employment Separation Agreements

Attorney Tamara Packard negotiated employment separation agreements on behalf of numerous employees this summer. Because such agreements are private, we cannot report the specifics of any one case. However, these agreements, also referred to as “severance agreements,” typically involve an agreement to end the employment relationship in exchange for continued health and other benefit coverage, an agreement on how requests for references will be handled, and a cash payment to the employee, among other terms. In every case, Packard was able to improve on the terms initially offered to the employee. In several cases, the cash payment to the employee was substantially increased by Packard’s identification of potential discrimination and other claims which were settled in conjunction with the separation agreement. Summer 2006.

Action Wisconsin Education Fund Names Packard Board President

Attorney Tamara Packard has been re-elected to a one year term as President of the Board of Directors of Action Wisconsin Education Fund. The Education Fund is the charitable arm of Action Wisconsin, and provides educational resources on legal matters and other issues for Wisconsin’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens and their families. It also exists to educate the general Wisconsin public about the consequences of anti-LGBT prejudice. June 2006.

Pines Appears on Court TV

Attorney Lester Pines appeared on the Court TV in the documentary The Investigators: Tracing Audrey. where he discussed the legal strategy he and his co-counsel used in the defense in 2004 of Audrey Seiler, the University of Wisconsin student who feigned an abduction and was then charged with obstructing a police investigation by failing to be truthful with the detectives who interviewed her. May 2006.

Pines Successfully Defends former UW Vice Chancellor

Attorney Lester Pines successfully defended Paul Barrows, the former Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, against claims that he had sexually harassed an employee and a student. The University’s Academic Staff Appeals Committee unanimously exonerated Dr. Barrows. The Barrows matter has been the focus of significant media and legislative attention. Read the Committee’s decision. May 2006.

Madison School District Handed Cease and Desist Order

In another arbitration in a series interpreting Madison Teachers Inc.’s special agreement with the Madison Metropolitan School District governing the unique Four Block Schedule at LaFollette High School, Attorney Lester Pines successfully argued that the District’s failure to schedule time for LaFollette teachers to collaborate on their class planning, violated the agreement. The arbitrator ordered the District to cease and desist from any further violations. May 2006.

CWPB Attorneys Recover Over $14K in Attorney Fees

In a case before the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, AttorneyLester Pines recovered over $14,000 in attorneys fees from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection following their successful claim that the Department, in violation of the State’s civil service rules, had improperly transferred state career executive into a non-executive position. May 2006.

Significant Decision in MTI Case

In a significant decision in a case tried by Attorney Tamara Packard for Madison Teachers Inc, Arbitrator Henry Hempe ruled that the school district had no right to discipline a teacher who had shared with MTI’s attorney legitimately-acquired information relevant to a grievance, even through the employee might otherwise have been prohibited by confidentiality rules and laws from disclosing such information to third parties. The arbitrator explained that the union member’s “contractual right to choose a representative to present her grievance would be a hollow, meaningless right — indeed, an impediment — if the representative were not allowed the same rights as [the member] herself, possessed, to review potential evidence against her.” The case arose when a teacher was disciplined for sharing a student’s redacted special education materials with MTI’s attorneys and using those materials to defend herself in a prior arbitration. March 2006.

Loeb and Packard Named CWPB Partners

Pines Bach LLP is pleased to announce that Jordan Loeb and Tamara Packard have become partners in the firm. Jordan is a 1994 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School who concentrates in criminal defense and civil litigation. He joined Pines Bach LLP as an associate in 1998. Tamara is also a 1994 U.W. law school graduate. She concentrates her practice in civil litigation with an emphasis in labor and employment. She joined the firm as an associate in 1999. Both Jordan and Tamara have strong community ties in Madison and Wisconsin as a whole, and look forward to the continued development of Pines Bach LLP‘s connections to clients in Madison and throughout Wisconsin. February 2006.

CWPB Work Praised by Judge

“High quality” was the description given by Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Patricia McMahon about the representation of Action Wisconsin, Inc. by Attorneys Tamara Packard and Lester Pines. She praised their work, saying that their “written materials were consistently well prepared, timely filed. . .appropriately addressed the issues,” and demonstrated “a depth of knowledge of the case both factually and legally.” January 2006.

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