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An affiliate of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

Defense of Free Enterprise

WMC brings lawsuits challenging laws, orders, regulations, ordinances or other government actions that hinder free enterprise and/or stymie market forces. The Litigation Center also takes steps to support similar efforts taken on by others.

WMC v. Tony Evers
Court: Wisconsin Supreme Court/Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District IV/Waukesha
Status: In briefing in Wisconsin Supreme Court
WMC Involvement: Plaintiff
WMC filed this lawsuit asking for an injunction to stop Governor Evers’ release of business names that have had employees who have tested positive for COVID-19.
WMC was made aware that information on more than 1,000 businesses would be released on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, by the Evers Administration if they had at least two employees who tested positive for COVID-19 – regardless of where the employees contracted the virus.

Lowes Home Centers, LLC v. Village of Plover
Court: Supreme Court of Wisconsin
Status: Case Closed
WMC Involvement: Amicus
This lawsuit was part of the battleground in the ongoing so-called “dark stores” policy debate. For years, municipal government lobbyists have attempted to change state law to allow them to assess “occupied” stores at higher values than otherwise identical “vacant” stores. A coalition led by WMC has opposed these changes, saying they unlawfully tax business value, and citing longstanding precedent in Wisconsin that the value of real estate is what matters, not the business occupying it.

CREE, Inc. v. LIRC
Court: Wisconsin Supreme Court
Status: Awaiting Opinion/Decision
WMC Involvement: Amicus
This case concerns an employer’s ability to protect itself and its workers. In this case, a job applicant sued a business because, he alleged, it unlawfully refused to hire him due to his criminal record. His record included numerous convictions for physical and sexual violence against women. Under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act, an employer may refuse to hire an applicant based on his conviction record if the circumstances of his offenses “substantially relate” to the circumstances of the position sought.

Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Company, Inc. v. Employers Insurance Company of Wausau
Court: Wisconsin Court of Appeals
Status: Awaiting Opinion/Decision
WMC Involvement: Amicus
This case involves an insurance dispute that could significantly impact the ability of companies to buy and sell subsidiary businesses (including assets and liabilities). This dispute centers on an insurance policy’s “anti-assignment” clause, which states that an assignment of interest does not bind the insurance company without its consent. The issue in this case is whether a generic anti-assignment clause applies to liabilities that an insured business incurred while its insurance policy was in effect but before the business was sold to another company. If an anti-assignment clause applies this broadly, insurance companies would receive a windfall because their coverage would be narrowed while their potential liability remains the same. Simply put, many businesses would be difficult to sell if anti-assignment clause applied this broadly.