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WSLL @ Your Service March 2013

What's New – Connie Von Der Heide

Upcoming Classes

There is still time to register for our March class, "HeinOnline: The Information Source You Need, Where You Need It." This is our first class to be offered as a webinar, so sign up today and take advantage of our introductory webinar rate of just $20! For details and registration information, please visit our Classes webpage.

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This Just In… – Pete Boll

New Title! Ethics in The Practice of Elder Law, by Roberta K. Flowers and Rebecca C. Morgan.
American Bar Association, 2013.
WSLL Call Number: KF 390.A4 F59 2013

Specifically targeting attorneys new to the practice of elder law, Flowers and Morgan provide an overview of the most common ethical issues that arise. Using hypothetical situations, thought provoking questions and detailed discussions, the authors provide a framework for analyzing unique ethical issues faced by elder law attorneys. Appendices include a detailed discussion of the Aspirational Standards of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), relevant ABA Ethics Opinions, client checklists and sample letters.

Updated! Wisconsin Governmental Claims and Immunities Handbook, 2012 supplement by Joseph P. Guidote, Jr., et. al.
State Bar of Wisconsin, 2012.
WSLL Call Number: KFW 2599.G6 W57 2008 supp. 2012

Compiling relevant state and federal government immunity statutes in one concise source, this handbook includes chapters on all types of immunity, notice procedures, and the Federal Tort Claims Act. Some of the updates included in the 2012 supplement:

  • The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has held that governmental immunity is waived if not raised in the defendant's responsive pleading. Discretionary immunity is also an affirmative defense deemed waived if not raised in a responsive pleading or by motion.
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court has held that governmental immunity is a defense that belongs to units of government, such as municipalities, while discretionary immunity is a defense to liability that belongs to governmental subdivisions, officers, or employees.
  • The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has held that a contractor satisfied the third prong of the Envirologix test for discretionary immunity by a showing that the contractor was not aware that the reasonably precise specifications posed any danger.
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court has applied a three-factor test in determining exemptions to the notice requirement under Statute 893.80(1).

New Titles RSS Feed
See our latest New Titles list for a list of new books and other resources.

For assistance in accessing these or other resources, please contact our Reference Desk.

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Accessing Wisconsin Appellate Briefs – Angela Humiston

Mandatory electronic filing of cases to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals has greatly improved access to appellate briefs for legal researchers in Wisconsin. Since the inception of e-filing 3 years ago, the court has amassed a wealth of readily accessible appellate briefs within the WSCCA database. E-filed briefs are available for cases filed on or after July 1, 2009.

To find appellate briefs for a given case in WSCCA, use the links provided within the case's docket, found on the 'Case History' page (see illustration 1). Or, search the appeal number under the 'Filed Documents' tab (see illustration 2 below). Other fields available under the "File Documents" tab allow for searching across the entire database.

WSCCA case history

Illustration 1: WSCCA "Case History" button, and links to briefs found on a "Case History" docket screen

WSCCA Filed Documents

Illustration 2: The WSCCA "Filed Documents" Screen

The "Full Text Search" field allows you to search for words or phrases within mandatory e-filed briefs from attorneys. Unfortunately, the database does not recognize Boolean "and" "or" and "not" operators - but you can refine a full text search by also entering a "Document Title," as assigned by the clerk of courts. Examples of Court of Appeals document titles include: appellant, respondent, reply, amicus curiae, guardian ad litem, cross-appellant, cross-respondent, cross-reply, and intervenor. It's trickier to limit search results by using Supreme Court document titles, which include: First Brief-Supreme Court, Response Brief-Supreme Court, and Reply Brief-Supreme Court. Searchers must use caution when limiting by Supreme Court document name, as results can be inconsistent.

Briefs for cases decided on or after July 2009 (318 Wis. 2d) that were not electronically filed are also available. Such briefs are being scanned into the WSCCA database as time permits, but they are not full-text searchable. Briefs of this type that are not currently available may be requested through the State Law Library's Order a Document service or from the Supreme Court & Court of Appeals Clerk's Office. Appendices to briefs, petitions for review, and briefs for confidential case types are not available on WSCCA but can also be requested from the Clerk's Office.

If you have questions about accessing Wisconsin appellate briefs, please feel free to contact our reference staff by email wsll.ref@wicourts.gov or phone 608-267-9696, or call the library's toll free number 800-322-9755 and ask for the Reference Desk.

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Tech Tip in Brief – Heidi Yelk

Stay safe when downloading "freeware"

In this column I've often recommended freeware or shareware programs for download. Usually, this software has already been tested and evaluated by software junkies at sites such as CNet, Softonic or PCWorld. Nonetheless, users should take precautions when downloading free software. What can you do to avoid installing trouble?

  • Protect your computer with a virus/malware protection package. Virus protection programs are generally inexpensive – some are even free. A program that installs updates on a regular basis will keep your protection up to date.

  • Know how to install and uninstall programs on your computer. When installing free software, pay close attention to each step. Often, a third-party add-on will be included unless you opt out of the offer. (The one I notice most often is the "Ask!" toolbar.) If you click through the installation process too quickly, you might inadvertently agree to unwanted software. In addition, some programs might install "under the radar" and might be malicious or simply annoying - so it helps to know how to uninstall such programs. Not sure how to do it? Check out this page from Lifehacker on uninstalling programs.

  • Download from reliable sources. As mentioned above, sites such as CNet offer software reviews that include download links. The files on CNet have been scanned and are free from viruses and spyware. While it's never a guarantee, using a trusted site can provide more confidence that the software will not install a malicious program.

  • Research the software. Before downloading freeware, read reviews and user comments found on technology websites. A quick web search on the product might also turn up any issues other users have encountered. Another interesting research tool is McAfee's "Site Report" search. This is a search box contained on the Site Advisor download page. To use "Site Report," type in a site URL (such as www.exp-systems.com/) which will generate a list of downloads found on that site. From that list, you can learn what kind of changes the software might make to your computer. For example, the report on PDF Redirect shows McAfee's test download did not make changes to the computer's system registry or the hard drive. Site Report is not a perfect tool, but it can be useful for gathering information.

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WSLL Recommends: Sautter's Employment in Wisconsin

Employment in WIEmployment in Wisconsin: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations, and Practices is a single volume work on state and federal laws that affect the employer/employee relationship and working conditions in the private sector. The author's purpose is to "provide a brief, plainly written summary," with each chapter focusing on an employment related topic:

  • Employment relationship
  • Employment-at-will and employment contracts, agreements and handbooks
  • Hiring and firing
  • Discrimination in employment
  • Wage and hours
  • Benefits
  • Safety in the workplace
  • Workers' compensation
  • Union organizing
  • Record keeping
  • Unemployment compensation
Attorneys and employers will appreciate this book's concise guidance on drafting documents, disclaimers, sample rules, policies, and procedures. Employment in Wisconsin, updated annually, was last supplemented in January 2013.

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Odds 'n' Endings – Carol Hassler

Tracking the Wild Update

Staff at the State Law Library take our website seriously. Between our County Legal Resources database and nearly 200 unique legal topic pages, we link to an estimated 10,000 external links on our website. Left alone, these links can quickly degrade as other websites change, move, or delete content. That's why we aggressively check our links with link checker software on a weekly basis to locate and correct errors. This allows us to find and correct problems quickly – sometimes even faster than major search engines!

Checking our links with software is only part of the solution, though. We rely on librarians who refer to our legal topics pages daily, and our users for help tracking updates. If you ever come across a broken link on our site, please contact the webmaster - and if you need help finding the updated web address, please ask a reference librarian for assistance.

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