Readers’ Picks: Unusual Wisconsin Supreme Court Decisions in 2017-18

Now that the court has filed its last substantive decision for the 2017-18 term, it’s time to take stock of readers’ “nominations” of decisions with surprising or humorous aspects.  As promised to those who furnished information, I have not identified them or their law firms.[Continue Reading…]

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 2017-2018

These tables are derived from information contained in 59 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions filed between September 1, 2017, and the end of the court’s term in the summer of 2018.  The total of 59 decisions does not include (1) orders pertaining to various motions, petitions, and disciplinary matters, and (2) a case dismissed because review had been improvidently granted (Mark Halbman v. Mitchell J. Barrock).

In addition to the 59 decisions noted above, three deadlocked (3-3) per curiam decisions were filed (In Re: Partnership Health Plan, Inc. v. Office of the Commissioner of Insurance; Wingra Redi-Mix, Inc. v. Burial Sites Preservation Board; and Wingra Redi-Mix, Inc. v. State Historical Society of Wisconsin).  As we have not been informed how individual justices voted, these cases are included only in the “Number of Oral Arguments Presented” table. 

It is also worth noting that State v. David Hager, Jr. and State v. Howard Carter were consolidated after oral argument and handled in a single decision.  For our purposes, this is counted as one decision rather than two.

The tables are available as a complete set and by individual topic according to the subsets listed below.

Four-to-Three Decisions
Decisions Arranged by Vote Split
Frequency of Justices in the Majority
Distribution of Opinion Authorship
Frequency of Agreement Between Pairs of Justices
Average Time Between Oral Argument and Opinions Authored by Each Justice
Number of Oral Arguments Presented by Individual Firms and Agencies


The Supreme Court’s 2017-18 Term: Some Initial Impressions

Now that the court’s final three substantive decisions have been filed, the time has come for the first in a series of posts on the justices’ activities in 2017-18, comparing them to our findings from previous years.[Continue Reading…]

Fantasy League Honors its Stars

With the filing of the last substantive decision of the term earlier this month, the 2017-18 fantasy league season has concluded—and the Gavels of the State Public Defender’s Office have three-peated as champions.  The Gavels rebuffed spirited challenges from the Waivers and the Affirmed, both of whom finished with 73 points.  Although this total would easily have won the league championship in 2015-16, it proved insufficient to overcome the Gavels two years later.  They seized the lead in mid-January and clutched it with an ever-tightening grip all the rest of the way, finishing with 95 points and eclipsing their own record of the previous year.

Those unable to attend last week’s awards banquet may not be aware that Hannah Schieber Jurss was saluted as this season’s MVP for the 30 points that she contributed to the Gavels’ victory.  Her stunning total of five oral arguments even surpassed the number delivered by the most active attorney from the Department of Justice—this year, the Solicitor General himself—a rare accomplishment indeed.  Several other firms (most notably Quarles & Brady) were also recognized for their impressive performances, which are evident in the following table.

As the season comes to a close, the Executive Committee at SCOWstats would like to take this opportunity express gratitude for the recent listing in Feedspot’s compilation of theTop 60 Wisconsin Blogsin 2018.

Fantasy League Update

The court did not file any decisions this past week—hence, no change in the standings.

Fantasy League Update

Once again, the decisions filed this week brought points to all of the league’s teams.  However, the Affirmed stood out from the pack by tallying 16 points—all from John McAdams v. Marquette University: Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (10 points for a brief, oral argument, and favorable outcome), Gass Weber Mullins (5 points for a brief and oral argument), and Foley & Lardner (1 point for an amicus brief). 

This decision also distributed points to the Citations (2 points from Godfrey & Kahn for 2 amicus briefs), the Writs (1 point from Michael Best & Friedrich for an amicus brief), and the Waivers (1 point from Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren for an amicus brief).

As a result, the Affirmed pulled even with the Waivers in second place.  They also gained ground on the Gavels of the State Public Defender’s Office, although the league-leaders maintained some breathing room with a 10-point performance in State v. Patrick H. Dalton (brief, oral argument, and favorable outcome).

Click here for the current standings.

Crowd-Sourcing Invitation

This is a monthly reminder to readers to “nominate” any Wisconsin Supreme Court cases from the 2017-18 term that contain surprising aspects.  I will maintain a collection of cases submitted and post them at the end of the summer.  “Surprising aspects” could include (1) decisions featuring odd combinations of justices dissenting or in the majority; (2) arguments in a majority or separate opinion that one might not expect from the author in question; (3) an unusual source in a footnote; (4) a popular-culture reference out of the blue; (5) a humorous passage; (6) a case in which a husband and wife delivered oral arguments on opposing sides; (7) something else unusual about the law firms involved—in short, pretty much anything unexpected.

Please email me your nominations (, as many as you wish, confident in the assurance that I will not reveal the names of nominators or their firms when I display our harvest at the end of the summer.  Please also include a brief explanation (just a sentence or two would likely suffice) indicating the case’s curious feature.  A number of nominations are already in hand, and I hope that the collection will continue to grow.

Fantasy League Update

This week’s flurry of decisions[1] distributed points across the entire league.  In fact, at least two members of every team scored—except, of course, for the Gavels, who are powered solely by the Office of the Public Defender (and who collected five points for a brief and oral argument in State v. Kyle Lee Monahan).

Here is the scoring for the other four teams:

The Waivers: 13 points
Quarles & Brady, 11 points (a brief, oral argument, and favorable outcome in Cintas Corp. No. 2 v. Becker Property Services LLC and an amicus brief in Tetra Tech EC, Inc. v. Wisconsin Department of Revenue).
Hawks Quindel, 1 point (an amicus brief in Wisconsin Bell, Inc. v. LIRC).
Henak Law Office, 1 point (an amicus brief in State v. Kyle Lee Monahan).

The Affirmed: 8 points.
Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, 7 points (a brief and oral argument in E. Glen Porter, III v. State of Wisconsin, an amicus brief in Wisconsin DWD v. Wisconsin LIRC, and an amicus brief in Tetra Tech).
Axley Brynelson, 1 point (an amicus brief in Ascaris Mayo v. Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund).

The Citations: 6 points.
DeWitt Ross & Stevens, 5 points (a brief and oral argument in Tetra Tech).
Godfrey & Kahn, 1 point (an amicus brief in Mayo).

The Writs: 6 points.
Habush Habush & Rottier, 5 points (a brief and oral argument in Mayo).
Nash, Spindler, Grimstad, & McCracken, 1 point (an amicus brief in Mayo).

With their impressive performance, the Waivers chopped eight points off the Gavels’ lead and have pulled within striking distance if they maintain their recent pace.

Click here for the current standings.

[1] We are excluding Kristi Koschkee v. Tony Evers, which was an order pertaining to two preliminary motions.

Fantasy League Update

The Waivers stood out in the decisions filed this week, gaining 11 points in Adams Outdoor Advertising Limited Partnership v. City of Madison—10 points from Boardman & Clark (brief, oral argument, and favorable outcome) and another point from von Briesen & Roper (amicus brief).  With this performance, the Waivers leaped over the Affirmed into second place.

The league-leading Gavels from the State Public Defender’s Office also distinguished themselves, picking up 10 points for a brief, oral argument, and favorable outcome in State v. Andre L. Scott.

Click here for the current standings.

Fantasy League Update

This week’s pair of decisions brought points to three teams but did not reorder the standings.  At the top, the Gavels of the State Public Defender’s Office added 5 points (for a brief and oral argument in State v. Cox), while, at the bottom, the Citations picked up 3 points from Tracey Wood & Associates (brief but no oral argument in State v. Pico).  The Waivers gained a point from Henak Law Office (an amicus brief in State v. Pico), leaving them just a single point behind the second-place Affirmed.

Click here for the current standings.