The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the State’s commitment to the concept of caveat emptor, or buyer beware, as it relates to transfers of property, thus declining to adopt new law in the State of Wisconsin.
In Brennan v. Charter Manufacturing Co., the Court found that former lessors of a property cannot indefinitely be found liable for creating dangerous conditions that cause injury to subsequent owners. The Court held that a lessor’s duty to subsequent possessors who purchase real estate “as-is” ends when the lessor surrenders possession of the property.
The appealing party admonished the Court to abandon caveat emptor as an archaic proposition, and urged the Court to adopt a policy that would allow a lessor to be liable to subsequent owners.
In its decision, the Court declined to do so, noting that commercial buyers account for unknown risks when they negotiate the terms of their transactions. The Court also noted that adopting the law as the appellant suggested could upend real estate transactions as we know them today – thereby resulting in unending liability for former possessors of a property, who would be held captive essentially as insurers of that property in perpetuity. The Court rejected that result, thus guaranteeing that caveat emptor remains the standard for such transactions for the immediate future.
By: Heather Bessinger - Attorney
In a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger, the Court held that a court can award attorneys’ fees as a sanction for bad faith discovery conduct, but reasoned that the appropriate standard is a “but-for” test. That is, the award must be limited to those fees incurred by the non-offending party solely due to the purported misconduct. This decision is important because it clarifies that there are limits on the amount of legal fees that can be recovered for discovery disputes. In its unanimous decision, the Court noted that civil sanctions are intended to be compensatory rather than punitive, thus limiting fee awards to the actual losses sustained. Here, the goal is “rough justice,” meaning the courts are not expected to conduct a detailed accounting analysis; instead, they may estimate and account for the “overall sense” of the costs incurred in lawsuit.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago recently ruled that the prohibitions on gender discrimination includes discrimination against LGBT employees in the workplace. The Court’s decision in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana is a significant ruling for several reasons, but importantly, for the first time, a full federal appeals court has interpreted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits gender-based discrimination, to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The 7th Circuit relied, in part, on recent decisions by the Supreme Court regarding gay rights. It is likely that this decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court, so it is unclear what will happen in the next several years.
In the meantime, if you feel that you have been discriminated against in the workplace due to sexual orientation, Cade Law Group is ready to help you protect your rights. Contact us today for a no-charge consultation.