Exciting news – Two Supreme Court Victories!
June 28, 2019
Mitchell v. Wisconsin – United States Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court held, in Mitchell v. Wisconsin , that a warrantless blood draw may be taken from an unconscious driver, when police have probable cause to believe the individual has committed a drunk-driving offense and the individual’s unconscious state deprives law enforcement of a reasonable opportunity to administer an evidentiary breath test. The Court held that the exigent circumstances exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement generally permits a warrantless blood draw in such a situation. The League filed an amicus brief in this case, written by Douglas Hoffer, Deputy City Attorney for Eau Claire. Notably, the League’s brief argued the case should be examined under the exigent circumstances lens, the only brief to do so, and the Court agreed.

Pinter v. Stetsonville – Wisconsin Supreme Court

In Pinter v. Stetsonville , the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that a former village employee’s oral rule of thumb regarding when to pump wastewater out of a village lift station did not create a ministerial duty. Accordingly, the village was immune from liability for a sewage backup in a nearby resident’s basement because village staff’s decision to first haul wastewater from its overwhelmed facility before directly pumping it into a nearby ditch was discretionary. The Court also held that, under a private nuisance claim, expert testimony was necessary to determine whether the village’s wastewater system was the legal cause of the sewage backup in the basement. The League attorneys filed an amicus brief in this case due to the potential widespread effect a negative decision would have had on Wisconsin municipalities.

The League will be providing a more in-depth discussion of these cases soon.
 Take the League Member Survey and help shape the League’s future!