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2008

Supreme Court accepts one new case

Madison, Wisconsin - February 28, 2008

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has voted to accept one new case. The Court also acted to deny review in a number of cases. The case numbers, issues, and counties of origin are listed below. Court of Appeals opinions/certification memos available online for the newly accepted cases are hyperlinked.

2007AP617 Star Direct, Inc. v. Eugene Dal Pra
This case examines the divisibility of clauses in a non-compete agreement between a product distributor and a sales representative.

Some background: In 2006, Eugene Dal Pra voluntarily left his employment with Star Direct, a distributor of products to convenience stores. He then began his own business distributing general merchandise under the name “Distributing Plus."

Dal Pra’s employment contract with Star included two provisions, which have become the focus of this petition for review. The Court of Appeals refers to these two clauses as “the customer clause” and “the business clause."

The circuit court held that both clauses were vague, overbroad, not reasonably necessary to protect Star, and that they were indivisible. The Court of Appeals affirmed, and concluded that the entire agreement was unenforceable because the clauses were indivisible under Mutual Service Casualty Insurance Co. v. Brass, 2001 WI App 92, 242 Wis. 2d 733, 625 N.W.2d 648.

Star contends the customer clause is reasonable and was written narrowly enough to preclude Dal Pra from soliciting only current customers, or those customers he had dealt with on behalf of Star within the last year. In addition, the company argues each clause is separate and divisible.

Dal Pra argues the restrictive covenants in the agreement were not necessary for Star’s protection, and that the restrictive covenants are indivisible. Many products sold in convenience stores are not sold by Star, and by prohibiting him from working in a substantially similar business, he would be restricted from selling items that do not compete with Star, Dal Pra contends.

A decision by the Supreme Court could help determine if the Brass case properly sets out the law governing divisibility of clauses in non-compete agreements under Wis. Stat. § 103.465. From Rock County.

Review denied: The Supreme Court denied review in the following cases. Supreme Court review is a matter of judicial discretion, not of right, and will be granted only when special and important reasons are presented. As the state’s law-developing court, the Supreme Court exercises its discretion to consider for review only those cases that fit certain criteria, but these criteria neither control nor fully measure the court’s discretion (see Wis. Stat. (rule) § 809.62). Except where indicated, these cases came to the Court via petition for review by the party who lost in the lower court.

Brown

  • 2006AP1981-CR State v. Sago
  • 2007AP891  Village of Hobart v. Brown Co.
    Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler did not participate. 
    Justices David T. Prosser, Jr.  and Patience Drake Roggensack dissent.
  • 2007AP1150-CRNM State v. Powless
  • 2008AP16-W  Morris v. Circ. Ct. for Brown Co.

Dane

  • 2006AP1631  Berberick v. Wolfinsohn
  • 2006AP1664  Diehl v. Schwarz
  • 2007AP1065  State v. Torry
  • 2008AP193-W Hagberg v. Circ. Ct. for Dane Co.

Dodge

  • 2006AP2267-CR State v. Kanas
  • 2007AP2379-W Norwood v. Bissonnette
    Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson did not participate.

Douglas

  • 2007AP546-CR State v. Jersett
    2007AP547-CR
  • 2007AP2685-W DuPuis v. Eaton

Eau Claire

  • 2007AP922  State v. Stanley

Fond du Lac

  • 2006AP2241  State v. Luchinski
    2006AP2242
  • 2007AP447-CR State v. Thomas

La Crosse

  • 2006AP79-W  Westerman v. Frank
  • 2006AP2945-52 State v. Wine

Milwaukee

  • 2005AP1265-CR State v. Rodriguez
  • 2005AP2671-CR State v. Gilmore
  • 2005AP2699-CRNM State v. Clark
  • 2006AP1593-CR State v. McGee
  • 2006AP1281  State v. Chambers
  • 2006AP2167  State v. Love
  • 2006AP2222  State v. Russell
  • 2006AP2615  State v. Nash
  • 2006AP2763  State v. Mantie
  • 2006AP2891  Tynan v. JBVBB, LC
  • 2006AP3000-CR State. V. Morgese
    2006AP3001-CR
  • 2007AP116  State v. Spiller
  • 2007AP342-CR State v. Davis
  • 2007AP1580-CR State v. Mason

Ozaukee

  • 2006AP2979  Roberts v. Tholl
    Justice N. Patrick Crooks did not participate.
    Justices David T. Prosser, Jr. and Patience Drake Roggensack dissent.

Racine

  • 2006AP3077  State v. Ljatifovski
  • 2007AP32-CR  State v. Hibbler
  • 2007AP1288-CRNM State v. Ayala
  • 2007AP2809-W Searcy v. COA

Rock

  • 2006AP3199-CR State v. Mereness
  • 2007AP52  Williams v. ATC
    Justice Patience Drake Roggensack dissents.

Sauk

  • 2006AP2464  Co. of Sauk v. Roemer-Rutter
  • 2008AP32-W  Maldonado v. Raemisch
    2008AP152-W Maldonado v. DOC

Taylor

  • 2006AP2861  Hardy v. Hoefferle

Walworth

  • 2007AP1162-CR State v. Salabounis

Waukesha

  • 2006AP2647  Jasin v. MBF
    Justice Annette Kingland Ziegler did not participate.
  • 2006AP3053  DeFever v. City of Waukesha
    Justice Patience Drake Roggensack dissents.
  • 2007AP1185-CR State v. Nowak
  • 2007AP2352-W Hohol v. Circ. Ct. for Waukesha Co.

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