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WISCONSIN LAND CONTRACT

A land contract is a contract between a buyer and seller of real property wherein the seller provides financing to buy the property. There is usually not a lending institution involved. Under this arrangement, the seller actually retains the “legal title” to the property while allowing the buyer to take possession of it in transferring “equitable title”. The sale price is typically paid in periodic installments, often with a balloon payment. When the payment price has been paid, the seller is obligated to convey all legal title of the property to the buyer.

LAND CONTRACT RISKS
Land contracts are often used where the buyer cannot obtain conventional financing or when the buyer is a person of close relationship to the seller. There are, however, many risks for both the buyer and the seller in such circumstances. For instance, if there is a mortgage recorded against the property from a conventional lending institution, the land contract will be subordinate to the first place conventional loan. Also, if the seller of the real estate does not obtain the consent of the senior place mortgage holder, the “due on sale” clause involved in the applicable mortgage documents may require payment of the remaining balance on the mortgages as soon as equitable title is transferred. Therefore, it is crucial to have consultations with the first place mortgage holder if the land contract is considered. Buyers attempting land contracts without the assistance of an attorney may be unaware that there other mortgage loans recorded against the property!

CONSULT AN ATTORNEY
Land contracts often give rise to legal disputes; therefore, it is extremely advisable to have an attorney assist you in either offering or accepting a land contract. Often these transactions are attempted by friends and family thinking that the matter can be handled informally and easily. However, the reality of the matter is that there are often complex issues that the parties are unaware of that are implicated in transferring equitable title in a land contract

In Green Bay, please consult with one of the attorneys at Wanezek & Jaekels, S.C., including Attorney David Daul, with regard to the issues associated with a land contract before entering into such an arrangement. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of land contacts and other real estate and property matters. Call 1.920.437.8191 for a consultation.

CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

In some unfortunate situations, citizens are the victims of police brutality, neglect or abuse while confined in a State institution or suffer some other harm at the hands of a State or Federal employee.

REMEDIES FOR CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
Fortunately, the law provides a remedy for persons who suffer such abuse.  The law in this area is extremely technical and the government often enjoys immunity from suits.  However, if the involved claims are properly drafted and supported by facts, immunity may be unavailable to the government and you may be entitled to damages for the injury suffered.  Examples of such situations may involve failure to render proper medical care while confined, allowing a child to be assaulted while in a state care facility, and police brutality, among other examples.

LOCAL ATTORNEY CAN HELP
Please consult with Green Bay attorney David Daul of Wanezek & Jaekels, S.C., if you have a case which you feel merits consultation or otherwise wish to pursue.

If you have possible civil rights claim, or another claim against a Wisconsin governmental body, call 920.437.8191, or email attorney Daul at [email protected].

OSHA DEFENSE

If you are a builder or a manufacturer or otherwise involved in skilled trades or manufacturing, you no doubt have had experiences with the Occupational Safety Hazard Administration (“OSHA”).

UNJUSTIFIED OSHA CITATIONS
OSHA is a regulatory agency charged by the Federal government with enforcing the code of Federal regulations as it relates to safety. Often times inspections by OSHA are unannounced. In some situations, OSHA can give citations that are well justified and warranted, but in others there are often arguments that the citations are not justified are unwarranted or that they do not conform to the due process required under law. There are numerous defenses that can be made to such unwarranted citations.

OSHA CITATION DEFENSE
Often times, OSHA will be willing to submit to a mediation to resolve the case wherein the matter can be resolved with lower fines and reduced severity of citations. However, in some cases, OSHA citations are much more difficult and a formal hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge may be necessary to resolve the matter. You will be disadvantaged if you attempt to resolve your citations with OSHA without legal representation. Often times the process of resolution can be extremely frustrating especially if OSHA takes a position that is unreasonable.

Consult Attorney David Daul (920.437.8191) if certain citations you or your corporation have received are unjustified or unwarranted. Our firm has substantial experience in dealing with these matters and has had good success in resolving them in the past.

GARNISHMENT

If you have successfully obtained a judgment against a debtor, the next logical question is what do you do with that judgment? There are a number of enforcement techniques that you can prosecute to obtain the money to satisfy the judgment.

- For judgment collection assistance, contact attorneys David Daul & Greg Babcock at the Green Bay, WI law firm Wanezek & Jaekels, S.C.

JUDGMENT COLLECTION: WAGE GARNISHMENT
First, the judgment is docketed with the Clerk of the Courts in the county where the lawsuit was brought. Thereafter, the debtor will be required to make certain financial disclosures indicating what assets they own and what sources of income they have. Often times debtors are reluctant to give this information and it may be necessary to conduct both a supplementary examination and a motion for contempt if they refuse to cooperate. Eventually, you will likely obtain information regarding the debtor’s financial situation in which case you may begin a garnishment.

A garnishment is a process wherein a legal action is begun to collect on a debt by deducting a amounts from the debtor’s paycheck or personal savings or checking account. It is incumbent upon the debtor’s employer to withhold the pay and pay it to you to satisfy the obligation once a garnishment action is properly begun. However, the process is quite difficult and complicated. You will likely need the assistance of an attorney to conduct a supplementary examination, a motion for contempt (if necessary), and in filing the garnishment. Our firm can assist you in this legal process.

There are certain limitations as to how much money can be removed from a paycheck during each pay period and garnishments typically expire after 13 weeks, however they can be renewed. Further, there are different types of garnishments: garnishment from payroll earnings and garnishment from accounts.

Please contact Attorney David Daul or Greg Babcock at 920-437-8191 to discuss the foregoing should you have a judgment enforcement issue.

REMOVAL FROM CONDOMINIUM

Real estate is sometimes put into a Condominium for the convenience of the property owners or to increase the marketability of the property.  However, in certain cases, when the Condominium becomes no longer economical or useful to the owner or owners, there may be a circumstance where the property should be removed from Condominium.

CONDOMINIUM REMOVAL PROCESS
In Wisconsin, the process of removal from Condominium involves obtaining the consent of any party which has a lien upon the property, such as mortgage holders, and then having the removal instrument duly recorded.  The resulting arrangement is that the former owners of the Condominiums become “Tenants in Common”.  This may or may not be advantageous to the Condominium owners, and it must be considered before a removal from Condominium occurs. Co-tenants, for instance, have an equal right to possess the property, and neither tenant can exclude the other.  Upon death, the interest of the deceased co-tenant will pass to the co-tenant’s heirs.

There are other facets of tenancy in common that may or may not be desirable.  Before such a real estate transaction is attempted, you should consult with a local Wisconsin attorney who has significant experience in this area, such as Green Bay Attorney David Daul, of Wanezek & Jaekels, S.C.  Please call David for further consultation at (920) 437-8191.

WISCONSIN LABOR LAWS PROVIDE EMPLOYEE PROTECTIONS

In some circumstances, employers do not pay employees the full amount of monies which are owed to them.  Wisconsin has a number of Labor Standards Laws which offer protections to employees, but which vary considerably in their coverage and requirements.  Employers covered by these standards may also be subject, in some cases, to similar Federal Laws.

Fortunately, there are remedies for employees who are impermissibly denied pay, wages, leave, or who experience impermissible deductions.  Wisconsin’s Fair Labor Standards Laws are administered through the Department of Workforce Development.  You may retain an attorney to assist you in making claims against your employer.  If you are successful, you may obtain the unpaid benefits and any attorney’s fees incurred in prosecuting the action.Call Attorney David Daul, of Green Bay’s Wanezek & Jaekels, S.C., law firm to discuss your rights 920-427-8191.

- Overview of Employment Laws

EMPLOYERS MAY NOT RETALIATE
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against any employee who files a complaint, attempts to enforce a right permitted by statute, or testifies in a case or assists in a case under the State’s Labor Standards Laws.  The law’s protections also apply if an employer takes an adverse employment action against the employee because that employer believes the employee has exercised any of the above rights.

MEAL PERIODS
Employers are not required to provide meal periods to adult employees, but it is recommended in the law that employers provide 30 minutes or more for a meal period.  Employers must provide meal periods to all employees under the age of 18.  Meal periods provided to minors must be at least 30 minutes in length, and reasonably close to the usual mealtimes of 6:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m./noon, 6:00 p.m., and 12:00 a.m./midnight, or near the middle of the shift.  No minor may be employed for more than six consecutive hours without a meal period.  Employers must pay all employees for “on duty” meal periods.  An “on duty” meal period is one where the worker is not provided at least 30 minutes free from work, or where the worker is not free to leave the employer’s premises.  Employers are also not allowed to require that meals be accepted as part of the worker’s wages.

EMPLOYMENT MEDICAL EXAMS
Employers may require applicants for employment, or employees, to take medical examinations.  The employer may pay the costs of those examinations if they are a condition of being hired or remaining employed.

WISCONSIN’S MINIMUM HOURLY WAGE REQUIREMENTS
Wisconsin sets minimum hourly wages which employer’s must use to pay minors under the age of 18 and adults.  The Wisconsin law applies to all private and public employers including non-profit organizations, regardless of whether they are covered by the Federal Minimum Wage Law.  A separate minimum wage rate exists for employees who receive gratuities or tips from patrons.  Employers must pay wages under the schedule for “tipped employees” if they can establish by payroll records that, when tips and wages are added together at the end of a pay period, they at least equal the general minimum wage rate.  Deductions also may be made for board and lodging, within limitations, which vary by employment and the employee’s age.  Sub-minimum wages are authorized only to employers licensed by the Department of Workforce Development who employ persons with disabilities, operate rehabilitation facilities, or participate in bonafide student/learner programs.

EMPLOYMENT REST PERIODS
The law provides that all employees in establishments must be given 24 hours of consecutive rest in each calendar week.  The law does not provide that the rest must be given every 7 days.  An employer may legally schedule work for 12 consecutive days within a 2 week period if the days of rest fall on the first and last days of the 2 week period.  Some employers are exempt from this requirement.

OVERTIME RULES
Wisconsin has a general overtime pay requirement.  Workers, regardless of age, must be paid one and one-half (1 ½) times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, generally.  Certain occupations are exempted from overtime, such as administrative, executive, and professional employees, as well as certain outside sales and commissioned employees.  Often employers incorrectly categorize an employee as “exempt” and attempt to forego paying overtime.  This is often the subject of a dispute as to whether the exemption was appropriate or not.  There are many other facets to Wisconsin’s Employment Law that imparts certain rights in workers, such as the right of certain physical accommodations for manufacturing, mechanical and commercial establishments, sick and vacation pay.  Workers have rights to contest deductions that are inappropriate.

The law is quite complex and involves a statutory mix of Federal and State regulations.  If you feel that you have a Fair Labor Standards complaint, you should seek the assistance of legal counsel.  Attorney Daul has a vast amount of experience in this area and consults frequently with his clients on these subjects.

Contact Attorney David Daul at 920-437-8191.

LANDLORD LIABILITY FOR INJURY TO TENANTS

Green Bay, Wisconsin tenants are sometimes personally injured within leased premises.  For instance, the tenant of an apartment complex may injure themselves when a balcony railing gives way, a staircase has a defect, or any other circumstance where the property results in injury to the tenant.  The landlord is not immune to civil liability for such defects.  Under certain circumstances, if the landlord was aware of the defect and did nothing to repair it, or attempted to repair the defect and the defect results in injury to the tenant, then the tenant may have civil claims for liability against the landlord.

NEGLIGENT REPAIRS & DEFECTIVE PREMISES
Very crucial in any analysis of such a circumstance is what the landlord knew, or reasonably should have known, with regard to the defect that caused injuries.  Often there is ambiguity as to what the landlord actually knew; however, in some circumstances where there was a negligent repair, it is unquestionable that the landlord was aware of such defects.  If you have experienced such circumstances, please call contact Attorney David Daul at (920)437-8191 for further consideration.

– Learn more about your personal injury rights here or contact our law firm:Wanezek & Jaekels, S.C.

PROTECTIONS FOR RESIDENTIAL TENANTS IN FORECLOSURES

If you are a tenant and your landlord has their property foreclosed upon, there are a number of protections for you during and following the foreclosure process. 

NOTICE OF FORECLOSURE REQUIRED
First, the landlord/owner must notify the the tenants that a foreclosure action has been commenced against the property and if a judgment is entered, the date that the redemption period expires.  Second, the plaintiff (typically the lender) in a foreclosure action must provide tenants with notice when the foreclosure action is filed, when the foreclosure judgment is entered, and when the confirmation of the foreclosure sale is scheduled.  If a plaintiff in a foreclosure action fails to give the proper notices to the tenant, a tenant can seek damages up to $250, plus reasonable attorney fees.  These notice provisions allow tenants to be aware of what is happening with repect to where they live so they are not blindsided when they are told they need to vacate their apartment. 

TENANT STAY AND RENT WITHHOLDING
In addition to the notice provisions, tenants are also allowed to stay in their residence for up to two months following the month when the confirmation of foreclosure sale occurs.  The tenants can also withhold the last period’s rent in consideration for their security deposit paid.  Once the confirmation of foreclosure sale occurs and the tenant decides to stay for an additional two months, the tenant must make arrangements to pay rent to the new owner and not the former owner of the property. 

– Find our more about Wisconsin landlord-tenant and other real estate laws

These are just a few examples of the protections afforded to tenants when their landlord’s property has been foreclosed upon.  If you have further questions or desire additional information regarding a tenant’s rights, contact Attorney Greg Babcock at our Green Bay, Wisconsin office.

SMALL CLAIMS COURT

Many legal disputes involve relatively low dollar amounts. Wisconsin law provides special procedures for persons who wish to make legal claims for $10,000 and under, in Small Claims Court. Under this procedure, you may make most of the same types of claims that you would otherwise make in Large Claims Court however, there is a $10,000.00 limit to the damages that could be awarded. In some cases, it might be advantageous to bring a matter in Small Claims Court even if the total amount at stake exceeds $10,000.00. This is because Small Claims Court may offer an expeditious way to resolve the matter if the amount above $10,000.00 is small. For instance, it may be prudent to file a claim that may have a value of $12,000.00 in Small Claims Court because the matter can be resolved so much more expeditiously and promptly than it would be if it were in Large Claims Circuit Court. Normal rules of evidence and procedures do not apply for Small Claims Court and these matters tend to move through the Court docket at a much more rapid pace than Large Claims Circuit Court cases. For instance, on average a Small Claims case filed in Brown County, Wisconsin can anticipate resolution within 90 days within the initial filing — sometimes quicker. Persons are empowered to represent themselves in Small Claims but are often at a disadvantage if the opposing party is represented by an attorney. Conversely, a party that chooses to bring a Small Claims action represented by an attorney sometimes may have an advantage.

Our Green Bay, Wisconsin law firm routinely handles Small Claims for our clients and new or prospective clients. If you have a claim which may be a good match for Small Claims, please contact Attorney David Daul to discuss your case in greater detail. The attorneys at the Wanezek & Jaekels, S.C. law firm can help you in assessing the matter.

NEW LANDLORD-TENANT LAWS

The Wisconsin legislature passed a bill and was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker last month which will have significant changes to the landlord-tenant law in Wisconsin. The new laws became effective on April 1, 2012. This article will provide a brief overview of a few significant changes.

The new law allows for the severibility of rental agreement provisions, such that any unenforceable or void provisions may be removed and the remaining provisions of the rental agreement may be enforced. However, there are about eight provisions that can not be included in the rental agreement, and if they are, the entire rental agreement will be void and unenforceable against the tenant.

It will now be easier for a landlord to dispose of a tenant’s abandoned property. Prior law required a landlord to hold the tenant’s property for 30 days after providing a tenant written notice. Under the new law, the landlord can dispose of the tenant’s property immediately provided that the landlord has provided the tenant with this notice in the rental agreement. There are some exceptions to this including prescription medicine and some vehicles.

In certain circumstances, the landlord will be required to disclose all known housing code violations to the tenant prior to entering into a rental agreement. In addition, in most cases, a landlord must provide a tenant with a standardized information sheet which contains an itemized condition of the property at the time the tenant takes occupancy.

Some other notable changes include: a landlord’s entitlement to receive holdover damages after the tenancy terminates and the tenant has not vacated; new requirements for withholding from a tenant’s security deposit and the timing of the return of the security deposit; and the ability to accept past due rent by a landlord and still maintain an eviction action.

Violations of the new laws may constitute a violation of the unfair trade practices act. This is a very complicated area of law. If you are a landlord or tenant and need legal assistance or a review of your rental agreements, contactattorney Greg Babcock of our office for a consultation.

In the Green Bay and Northeast Wisconsin areas, the Wanezek & Jaekels law firm is ready to assist you.  Contact us today!

Obtain Legal Help You Can Rely On

To get in touch with one of our attorneys about your case, call our firm at (920) 437-8191 or fill out the form below.