Rice v. Milw. Co. Bd. 2013

Case Name: Rice v. Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors

Type of Case: Open Meetings

Court: Milwaukee County Circuit Court

Case Number: 13-CV-4222

Filed On: May 6, 2013

Current Status: Judgment on the pleadings granted to defendants

On March 14, 2013, the Finance, Personnel and Audit Committee of the Milwaukee County Board met in closed session to authorize a representative to enter into negotiations with a decertified union that had formerly represented most of the county’s employees.  However, the agenda for the meeting merely quoted vague statutory language about exemptions from open meetings requirements.  On April 10, 2013, a quorum of the County Board attended a legislative hearing in Madison without giving prior notice, as required by state law.

On behalf of former county supervisor Joseph Rice, WILL filed a verified complaint with the Milwaukee County Corporation Counsel, the Milwaukee County District Attorney, and the Wisconsin Attorney General.  None of those entities decided to take action, and on May 6, 2013, we filed a lawsuit in Milwaukee County.

On January 21, 2014, the County filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that even accepting everything in our complaint as true, that doesn’t establish a violation of the open meetings law.  The parties briefed the issue, and the ciruit court heard argument on March 24, 2014.  On May 5, 2014, Judge Noonan granted judgment to the defendants, concluding that even if all the facts we alleged were true, they didn’t comprise a violation of the Open Meetings Law.

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