Wisconsin

Atty. Kindkeppel Honored as Fellow of the Wisconsin Law Foundation

Joshua J. Kindkeppel, attorney and shareholder with Eustice, Laffey, Sebranek & Auby, S.C., was recently nominated and accepted membership as a Fellow of the Wisconsin Law Foundation.  The Fellows organization was created in 1999 as a special means to honor members of the State Bar of Wisconsin who have both achieved significant accomplishments in their career and contributed leadership and service to their communities. Membership in the Fellows is considered a professional honor and includes the likes of Russ Feingold, Tommy Thompson, former members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and other well respected attorneys and retired judges.

Attorney Kindkeppel practices in the areas of business, real estate, employment, and civil litigation.  He was elected and served as president of the Dane County Bar Association in 2012-13, and collaborated with long-time Madison attorney Joseph Melli to create the Joseph A. Melli Mentorship Program to assist young Dane County attorneys. Kindkeppel is also active in the Sun Prairie Rotary Club, and serves on the planning committee for the Sun Prairie Kindness Retreats.

Three ELSA Attorneys Named Super Lawyers

Eustice, Laffey, Sebranek & Auby, S.C. is proud to announce that Kevin M. Laffey and Kimberly P. Sebranek have been named by Wisconsin Super Lawyers Magazine as two of the top attorneys in the state for 2011.  Additionally, Joshua J. Kindkeppel has been named a Wisconsin Rising Star as one of the top up-and-coming attorneys in the state for 2011.  Each year, no more than 5% of lawyers in the state receive these honors.

From the Super Lawyers website (www.superlawyers.com/about):

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Attorney Laffey is a shareholder in the firm with 26 years of experience representing financial institutions, businesses and individuals in the areas of business law, creditors’ rights, civil litigation, commercial transactions and real estate law.  He is a graduate of the UW-Eau Claire and received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Attorney Sebranek is a shareholder in the firm with significant experience representing financial institutions and commercial clients.  Attorney Sebranek focuses her practice in the areas of creditors’ rights, bankruptcy, banking, lender liability, business litigation and business formation.  She is a graduate of Berea College in Berea, Kentucky and received her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Attorney Kindkeppel is also a shareholder in the firm and is licensed to practice law in both Wisconsin and Minnesota.  This is the third time he has been recognized as a Rising Star. In addition, Attorney Kindkeppel was recently elected president-elect of the Dane County Bar Association and will assume that position for the 2012-2013 years.  Attorney Kindkeppel concentrates his practice in the areas of business law, civil litigation, real estate, employment law and administrative agency matters.  He is a graduate of Ripon College and received his law degree from the Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota.

If you would like to meet with one of our Super Lawyers about your legal needs, feel free to contact us at (608) 837-7386.

Disclaimer:  Please note that reading and/or commenting on this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship with Eustice, Laffey, Sebranek & Auby, S.C. absent an express agreement between the firm and the client.  Contacting Eustice, Laffey, Sebranek & Auby, S.C. or any of its attorneys or employees via this website or via email does not create an attorney-client relationship.

We would be pleased to communicate with you by email. However, please note that if you communicate with us-through this website, via email, or otherwise-in connection with a matter for which we do not already represent you, your communication may not be treated as privileged or confidential and may be disclosed to other persons..

National Estate Planning Awareness Week

If you are amongst the estimated 120,000,000 Americans who do not have up-to-date estate plans, you probably do not know that this week, October 17–23, 2011, is National Estate Planning Awareness Week.  In 2008, the House of Representatives passed a bill making the third week in October a week to build awareness of the need for estate planning and to educate the public regarding estate planning resources and services.

This bill was passed in response to the general lack of awareness that many Americans have as to the importance of estate planning and the consequences of not having a plan in place.  Many Americans assume that only the wealthy need estate planning, but in a time when life expectancies are rising along with the cost of healthcare and retirement planning is falling increasingly on the shoulders of the individual, no one can afford to be without a plan for the future.

So if you are one of those Americans without an updated estate plan, this is a great time for you to take that step to safeguard your future security and that of your family and loved ones.  Careful estate planning can be an essential tool to ensure that you have adequate funds for retirement, that the assets you have built up over your lifetime are preserved for the benefit of your family and heirs, and that, should you in the future be unable to make healthcare or financial decisions, the person of your choice is designated to do so for you.

If you are interested in learning more about the estate planning options that would be most appropriate for your situation, you can visit the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) website for educating the public about the many aspects of estate planning (http://www.estateplanninganswers.org/) or you can call and make an appointment to speak to one of our firm’s estate planning attorneys..

Massachusetts Court Forces Innocent Motorists to Pay Court Costs

I was doing my normal internet sweep this morning when I came across this troubling story.  The Massachusetts Supreme Court recently ruled that a motorist who successfully defended himself in court on a traffic ticket is still responsible for fees he or she paid to contest that ticket.  In this case, the innocent motorist was charged $70 in fees to contest a ticket he, by decision of the court, should have never received.  Essentially, the driver could have paid $30 more (the citation was otherwise $100) and not had to go through the challenge process.

Obviously, parties should be responsible for court costs where a wrong was committed; however, I struggle to see the logic in imposing costs where a person should not have (technically) been in court in the first place!   The actual court decision notes that the Massachusetts courts handle hundreds of thousands of traffic citations each year and that the filing fees serve a legitimate purpose of dissuading frivolous challenges to those citations.  I wholeheartedly agree with that purpose; however, it seems to me that the motorist in this case should have had the costs refunded after he WON and the citation was thrown out.  This policy seems to create a pretty powerful disincentive to fighting traffic (or any other) tickets.

Now, I don’t practice in traffic law, but I do have friends who know a whole lot more about this area than I do.  They have advised me that Wisconsin courts do not force the same court costs on successful ticket challengers as those who are less successful (less successful meaning every outcome from the citation upheld entirely to being reduced to a lesser offense).  Indeed, Wis. Stat. § 345.47 (“Judgment of forfeitures, costs, fees and surcharges”) states, in part,

If the defendant is found guilty, the court may enter judgment against the defendant for a monetary amount not to exceed the maximum forfeiture provided for the violation, plus costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under ch. 814, and, in addition, may suspend or revoke his or her operating privilege under s. 343.30.

This means that a party who is found not guilty will not be responsible for the same costs at issue in the Massachusetts case.  Obviously, if the party is found guilty, or if the judge simply reduces the ticket to a lesser offense, they will likely be responsible for court costs, fees and surcharges (in addition to any monetary and/or other penalty the offense provides).

Just some food for thought as you make your morning commute.

P.S. Thanks to Claudia Lombardo of Holevoet Law Office, LLC for her traffic law expertise!.