Bitcoin in Bankruptcy: Commodity or Currency?

It is hard to peruse media outlets without hearing about bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrency. But what is Bitcoin?  Is it just another form of currency, or is it a commodity? It depends on who you ask, and bankruptcy courts are beginning to weigh in on the subject. Read More… “Bitcoin in Bankruptcy: Commodity or Currency?”

Do I Really Need a Wisconsin Will?

Most people do not like the thought of dying and do not want to dwell on what happens to their assets if they pass away.  Therefore, there is a natural inclination not to want to think about dying, much less, pay somebody to help you set forth a plan on what happens to your assets at death.  Unfortunately, many families find out the hard way the complications that are created upon death by not doing constructive planning before they pass away.  Read More… “Do I Really Need a Wisconsin Will?”

How Long Is Too Long For An Unpaid Leave of Absence As A Reasonable Accommodation?

Employers, for far too long, have been left to guess how long of an unpaid leave they must grant their employees as a reasonable accommodation for a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  While there had been prior decisions that provided some guidance, it seemed every time there appeared to be some basis to figure out ‘how long was too long,’ a contrary decision would come down due to the vague and speculative nature of these circumstances.  In Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., 2017 WL 4160849 (7th Cir. Sept. 20, 2017), the Seventh Circuit provided some finality to the issue (hopefully). Read More… “How Long Is Too Long For An Unpaid Leave of Absence As A Reasonable Accommodation?”

Balancing Humanity and Liability in the Workplace

A friend, who is a supervisor in a company, shared with me that she was “afraid to care” when it came to the employees she encounters on a daily basis.  She felt that knowing any personal information about her subordinates – whether it be how and ill family member was doing or what he or she did the past weekend – would only lead to knowledge that could invite or support a future claim against the company.  This struggle between wanting to develop professional, interpersonal relationships with subordinates and the fear of providing ammunition for a future discrimination claim is not an uncommon one amongst supervisors.  It struck me as a sad commentary on what the exponential growth of lawsuits in the employment sector has done to the important interpersonal and professional relationships in the workplace. Read More… “Balancing Humanity and Liability in the Workplace”

Five Dollars for a Not-Quite Foot Long: 7th Circuit Tosses Subway Class Action Settlement

On August 25, 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a settlement agreement entered into between a putative class of consumers and Subway was “utterly worthless” and reversed and remanded the District Court’s Order approving that settlement.  The class had alleged that Subway’s famous Footlong sandwiches often came up short. Read More… “Five Dollars for a Not-Quite Foot Long: 7th Circuit Tosses Subway Class Action Settlement”

Wisconsin Supreme Court Prepares to Weigh Private Rights, Riparian Rights, and the Public Trust Doctrine

On September 20th, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Movrich v. Lobermeier, 372 Wis. 2d 724, 889, N.W.2d 454, 2016 WI App 90 (2016). This case puts at odds two revered values: the public trust doctrine and the right of alienation by private property owners. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals found that the public trust doctrine prevailed over the private property owner’s rights. Read More… “Wisconsin Supreme Court Prepares to Weigh Private Rights, Riparian Rights, and the Public Trust Doctrine”

A Cautionary Tale: Hesitate Before Accessing Employees’ Personal Email Accounts

A recent Federal District Court decision highlights the pitfalls of accessing a former employee’s personal Gmail account. Employers should be aware of the risks of accessing such information even when they have a legitimate business reason for accessing it. Read More… “A Cautionary Tale: Hesitate Before Accessing Employees’ Personal Email Accounts”

Voluntary Receivership: An Overlooked Option for Obtaining a Going Concern Premium in a Business Sale

Many Wisconsin business advisors fail to consider using a receivership under Wisconsin’s Chapter 128 as a tool for selling a going concern business. Yet, in many instances, it is the optimal method for such a sale.

For the past 15 to 20 years, Wisconsin lenders have used Chapter 128 receiverships to sell going concern businesses. A Lender, however, may only compel such a receivership when it can demonstrate that the borrower is insolvent on a modified balance sheet basis.

In contrast, any business may, at any time, voluntarily subject itself to a Chapter 128 receivership. There is no insolvency requirement. Read More… “Voluntary Receivership: An Overlooked Option for Obtaining a Going Concern Premium in a Business Sale”

Handscanners, the Mark of the Beast and Religious Accommodations

A recent decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia) provides an excellent reminder about the tricky nature of religious accommodation requests.  Employers should remember that no request, no matter how strange sounding, should be discounted and that every single request should result in an analysis of whether a reasonable accommodation exists.  Had the employer followed these simple rules, it could have utilized an available, cost-free accommodation and avoided what likely amounted to close to nearly $1 million in defense costs and damages. Read More… “Handscanners, the Mark of the Beast and Religious Accommodations”

Mortgage Servicers Beware of Possible Sanctions in Chapter 13 Bankruptcies

Residential mortgage servicers should take notice.  A recent case from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Vermont handed down what may be the first instance of punitive sanctions under Federal Bankruptcy Rule of Procedure 3002.1.  The Court levied a $375,000 sanction to a mortgage servicer for its failure to comply with Rule 3002.1’s notice requirements despite the court’s repeated instructions to do so.  This rule could spur similar cases for violations of Rule 3002.1, especially for repeat offenders. Read More… “Mortgage Servicers Beware of Possible Sanctions in Chapter 13 Bankruptcies”