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An affiliate of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

Container Life Cycle Management v. DNR

Court: Wisconsin Supreme Court
Case No.: 2019AP1007
Status: In Briefing
WMC Involvement: Amicus
This case involves a right fundamental to our government’s separation of powers: the right to judicial review of an executive-branch agency’s decision. In this case, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sent letters to a business informing it that, in DNR’s view, it was required to obtain a time-consuming and expensive permit. The business filed this lawsuit to challenge that determination. The Milwaukee County Circuit Court and Wisconsin Court of Appeals decided that the business had no right to judicial review at this stage in the process, reasoning that DNR had not made a “final” decision.

After the Wisconsin Supreme Court granted the business’s petition for review, the WMC Litigation Center filed an amicus brief in support of the business. Our amicus brief explains why this business has a right to judicial review and why a contrary conclusion would harm Wisconsin’s economy. On the latter point, our brief explains that a business should be able to contest a government agency’s decision that a specific permit is required before going through a costly, time-consuming process to obtain that permit. Our brief further explains that some businesses might decide to avoid a costly permitting process altogether by forgoing a planned construction or expansion of their facilities or by shutting down their operations in Wisconsin.