2010 News

2010 News

A Victory for Public Employees

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that public employee personal emails, sent from work email addresses, are generally not subject to disclosure under the Wisconsin Public Records Law. Attorneys Tamara Packard and Lester Pines filed an amicus brief on behalf of Madison Teachers Inc. urging the Court to protect employee personal emails from public scrutiny. In the lead opinion, Chief Justice Abrahamson adopted the primary arguments advanced by Attorneys Packard and Pines (sections C and D of her opinion), noting that those considerations were important in reaching the conclusion that she did. July 2010.

Supreme Court Vacates $2 Million Judgment

Attorney Lester Pines and secured a significant victory in the Wisconsin Supreme Court today. In a 7-0 decision, the Court vacated a $2 million default judgment against CWPB’s client, Zurich American Insurance Company. The Court agreed with Pines that there were numerous mistakes, procedural and otherwise, made by opposing counsel and the circuit court personnel, and that the circuit court erred when it denied Zurich’s motion for relief from the default judgment. July 2010.

Pines Receives Leadership Award

On June 2, 2010, Lester Pines received a Leadership Award from Fair Wisconsin, the state’s most respected advocacy group for LGBT equality. Pines was recognized for his legal efforts to protect and advance the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in Wisconsin. In accepting the award, Pines said that his commitment to equality came from the civil rights and women’s movements, which taught him “that just because things have always been done a certain way does not mean that they must forever remain that way” and that he believes, to paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that “people should be judged on the content of their character, not their sexual orientation.” June 2010.

State Agency Ordered to Pay Client’s Fees

Dane County Circuit Court Judge John Markson has ordered the Medical Examining Board to pay the attorney’s fees and costs incurred by a physician represented by Attorney Lester Pines. Judge Markson first found that the Board’s legal position had not been substantially justified when it commenced and continued its case. He then found that Attorney Pines and Pines Bach LLP were uniquely qualified to represent the physician. Assessment of fees against administrative agencies in judicial review proceeding is rare.

In making the award of over $173,000, Judge Markson noted that the charges involved “the intersection of criminal, civil, and administrative law . . .” and that the defense of those charges “called upon a special knowledge of various areas of law. . . . Attorney Pines and his firm provide expertise in all of these areas.” The judge also said that this range of expertise “is unusual,” and that “there are very few attorneys who bring the expertise that Attorney Pines and his firm bring to this type of case, given the layers of complexity and the layers of application of different substantive and procedural areas of the law. It probably wouldn’t be entirely true to say that Mr. Pines was unique in this community in that respect, but it would be accurate to say that he is one of very few attorneys who could supply this expertise in this very important case.” May 2010.

Sexual Conversation Not a Crime

Attorney Lester Pines obtained dismissal of felony charges brought against a teacher for having a sexual conversation with a student. On a motion to dismiss the criminal complaint, the trial court agreed that the discussion was not a crime because it did not involve the teacher communicating obscene content to the student. The teacher faced jail time and sex offender registration had the charges not been dismissed. April 2010.

Physician Cleared

Judge John Markson of the Dane County Circuit Court set aside and dismissed all factual findings, sanctions and license limitations that the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board had imposed on Dr. Frank Salvi. The court’s ruling culminated three years of effort by Attorney Lester Pines on Dr. Salvi’s behalf. Judge Markson found that the Board had made numerous serious legal errors and that the “facts” that it found were not supported by the evidence. March 2010.

Packard Recognized for Success

Attorney Tamara B. Packard has been selected by the Wisconsin Law Journal as one of the 2010 Women in the Law. This award is to “honor outstanding achievement by the top women in the practice of law.” Those chosen, “by achieving success, have also paved the way for success for other women in the law.” A luncheon honoring Wisconsin’s Women in the Law will be held in Milwaukee on May 21. March 2010.

Bach Shares Knowledge

Attorney Steve Bach, widely recognized as one of the best family Law attorneys in Wisconsin, shared his knowledge and skills with other Wisconsin attorneys as one of the faculty for a State Bar-sponsored continuing legal education seminar. Titled Build your Practice: Handling a Basic Divorce, the day-long comprehensive program introduced attorneys to issues and resolutions unique to divorce proceedings and supplied valuable information to successfully manage divorce actions from beginning to end. March 2010.

Character Approved

For the third time in a year, Attorney Tamara Packard helped a client successfully pass the character and fitness evaluation by the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners and gain admission to the Wisconsin Bar. January 2010.

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