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WSLL @ Your Service August 2013


What’s New – Connie Von Der Heide

MLRC: Business (Mostly) as Usual after Courthouse Fire

Milwaukee County Courthouse Annex LotNormally a secure parking area for Milwaukee County judges and other officials, the Annex Lot immediately adjacent to the Courthouse (building at right) was taken over by a sea of trucks during cleanup following a July 6 electrical fire in the Courthouse. Photo by Lynne Gehrke, MLRC Librarian

We are pleased to report that the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center (MLRC) sustained no permanent damage from the July 6 fire that broke out in a basement electrical room in the Milwaukee County Courthouse, knocking out power and causing smoke damage and odor throughout the building. MLRC and several other court offices resumed business at noon on Monday, July 15. More offices were able to reopen over the following days, and the building was fully open to the public again on July 24.

Lynne Gehrke, MLRC Librarian, reported that cleanup crews used small vacuum cleaners, paint brushes, tooth brushes, erasers, specialty mops, and other equipment to carefully remove particulate matter that had settled on books furniture, and equipment in the MLRC and in courtrooms and judges' chambers located throughout the building. With Milwaukee County having 47 judges, it's not surprising that one member of the cleaning crew told Lynne, "I won't be looking at another book again anytime soon!"

The week the MLRC reopened was the hottest and most humid so far this summer, and the building's air conditioning system was not yet fully functional. Staff turned off non-essential lighting and other electrical equipment to try and stay comfortable and keep their electricity "draw" to a minimum. Even in those conditions the MLRC was a busy place, and many customers expressed their gratitude that the Center was back open and staff was there to assist them with the services and materials they needed.

Milwaukee County Courthouse Cafeteria Cleaning crew works in the Milwaukee County Courthouse cafeteria, immediately adjacent to the MLRC. Photo by Kellee Selden-Huston, MLRC Library Assistant

Latest reports indicate that the Courthouse is currently operating on about 25% of normal power supply, and repairs to the electrical system will take several months - so all non-essential lighting and appliances must remain off and there could be periodic power disruptions. The MLRC is committed to providing the best possible service throughout this time, and they greatly appreciate everyone's patience and understanding.

Libraries Closed for Holiday

WSLL, MLRC and DCLRC will be closed on Monday, September 2nd in observance of the Labor Day state holiday. The DCLRC will also be closed on Friday, August 30th for a Dane County designated furlough day.

To submit a question while the Wisconsin State Law Library is closed, you may call 608-267-9696, email wsll.ref@wicourts.gov or Ask a Librarian online.
To submit a question to the DCLRC, call 608-266-6316 or email dclrc.ref@wicourts.gov. Library staff will respond to questions and requests on Tuesday, September 3rd.

Upcoming Classes

In September WSLL will host two training sessions on WestlawNext, a new research service now available on the public computers at WSLL, MLRC and DCLRC. More than just a “new look” for Westlaw, WestawNext employs a new search method based on issues and concepts, not just key words. Learn more at one of these upcoming sessions. Complete details and registration information are available on our Classes page.
Announcements of more fall classes in both Madison and Milwaukee will be posted soon, so please stay tuned!

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This Just In… – Pete Boll

New Edition! Wisconsin Employment Law 5th edition, 2013 revision, by Peter Albrecht, et al.
State Bar of Wisconsin, 2013.
WSLL Call Number KFW 2734 .W575

This three-volume comprehensive treatise has been completely updated with new content for the first time since 2009. More than thirty contributing authors address employment law topics in three major areas: the employment-at-will doctrine, private sector nonunion employment relationships, and employment relationship litigation. Recent legal developments discussed include:

  • The March 1, 2013 deadline under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for employers to notify employees about state health-insurance exchanges has been postponed pending development of a model notice.
  • The NLRB found that an employer may not limit an employee's social media activities if those activities are protected communications under section 7 of the NLRA or if the employer's response to an employee's social media activities constitutes an unfair labor practice under section 8 of the NLRA.
  • The Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) held that posting on a personal Facebook page about work conditions in a non-work forum was not misconduct for purposes of unemployment insurance disqualification.
  • The EEOC has taken the position that discrimination based on an individual's gender identity or transgender status constitutes a form of sex discrimination under Title VII.

New Edition! Open Meeting Laws 3d, by Ann Taylor Schwing with Constance Taylor.
Anchorage, Alaska: Fathom Publishing, 2011.
WSLL Call Number KF 5753 .S39 2011

Open meeting laws are designed to give citizens the information they need to understand decisions made by their elected representatives. Experienced attorney Ann Taylor Schwing’s latest two volume edition covers all aspects of the laws on open meetings. Topics addressed include.

  • The application of open meeting laws to committees as well as the public bodies that appoint them
  • Remedies for violations of open meeting laws
  • Litigation communication as a permissible reason for holding an executive session

Also included are a comprehensive index and tables of cases, statutes, secondary authorities, and attorney general opinions by state.

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Tech Tip in Brief – Heidi Yelk

Apps for Lawyers

When it comes to the most popular mobile applications (apps), it's not surprising that the social apps (and other time sinks) are what top the charts. But lawyers would never be interested in those, right?? Lawyers are interested in productivity. Fortunately, there are many apps - and lists of apps - that focus on boosting productivity.

If you're looking for a few good apps to help improve your efficiency, here are some useful collections to browse:

To save more time, here’s a short list of apps that appear on many “must have” lists for lawyers:

  • GoodReader (Apple) is used to view and annotate many document formats - dubbed the “Swiss Army Knife” of awesome by Mashable.
  • Depose (Android) is a tool for drafting and taking depositions.
  • Dropbox (Apple and Android) provides an easy way to share and move files. However, as noted in the Hytech blog (see link above), attorneys need to consider confidentiality risks when using cloud storage.
  • EzPDF (Apple and Android) PDF reader, with annotation capabilities.
  • UPad (Apple) lets you take handwritten notes on your iPad.
  • CamScanner (Apple and Android) - capture and manage documents with this scanning app.

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WSLL Recommends: Sack on Defamation

Sack on Defamation

The first edition of Sack on Defamation was published in 1980, with subsequent editions in 1994, 1999 and the current fourth edition in 2010. During the author’s 33-year private practice he specialized in national and international press law. Since 1998 he has served on the bench of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

This leading treatise provides a comprehensive and up to date analysis of the law of defamation, invasion of privacy and related torts - including insights into how the internet and other electronic media continue to have significant effects. The first several chapters cover:

  • Constitutional principles
  • The cause of action and its elements
  • Truth (fact) and opinion
  • Standard of conduct for both private and public plaintiffs
  • Absolute and qualified privilege
  • Damages and other remedies
  • Retraction
  • Related causes of action, such as invasion of privacy, injurious falsehood, interference with contract, negligent infliction of emotional distress, conspiracy, deprivation of civil rights

It goes on to provide practical guidance regarding:

  • Discovery – sources, confidentiality, and anonymity
  • Jurisdiction and Choice of law
  • Motion practice and Appeal

A final chapter on Insurance policies discusses risks and protections for publishers and broadcasters.

Other titles on defamation available at WSLL:

Defamation: a lawyer’s guide by David A. Elder
Law of Defamation by Rodney A. Smolla
Libel and Privacy by Bruce W. Sanford
Wisconsin Elements of an Action by Jay E. Grenig (volume 14 of the Wisconsin Practice series) contains chapters on both defamation and emotional distress.

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Odds ‘n’ Endings – Heidi Yelk

Happy Anniversary, Court of Appeals

August 1 marks the 35th anniversary of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Its creation in 1978 was part of a larger court reorganization that also introduced single level trial courts throughout the state.

In the early 1970's, twenty-four of the 50 states had an intermediate appeals court. Wisconsin did not. At that point it had both county courts and circuit courts, and most appeals went directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court – which was then a mandatory court, not a discretionary court as it is today. By 1977, that structure had resulted in a reported 778 cases pending in the Supreme Court, with 600 scheduled for carryover to the next term.

Court reorganization required amending the Wisconsin Constitution – a relatively lengthy process. It began in 1975 with joint resolutions passed in the 1975 and 1977 legislatures. Then, the measure went before the state's voters. Although it passed with strong support, the idea was not without detractors. The late Hon. John C. Shabaz (then a state representative) led an energetic charge against it, citing cost factors, along with his opposition to administrative provisions giving the Supreme Court authority over the entire court system and power to suspend or remove judges and justices.

There was also competition to determine where the new court would sit. While Milwaukee, Waukesha, Madison and Wausau were ultimately chosen as the 4 locations of the Court of Appeals, other cities that were considered included Stevens Point, Racine, Oshkosh, Green Bay, Superior, Eau Claire and LaCrosse.

The State Law Library has several volumes of original documents and historical perspectives from this monumental period in Wisconsin court history. See:

More August notables

August 11, 1919: The Green Bay Packers were founded
August 27, 1878: The type writing machine, famous for its QWERTY keyboard, was patented. It was invented in Wisconsin by Christopher Latham Sholes (Patent No. 207559)

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