Court of Appeals panel to hear oral argument in Stevens Point

Madison, Wisconsin - July 3, 2019

The public is invited to observe oral argument before a panel of Wisconsin Court of Appeals judges at the Portage County Courthouse on Monday, July 8 at 10 a.m.

Three judges from District IV of Court of Appeals, headquartered in Madison, will travel to Stevens Point to hear argument in Donald Isherwood v. Portage County Drainage District, Case No. 2018AP1271.

The visit is part of a public outreach and education effort designed to make the court system more accessible to more people without requiring extensive travel. District IV oral argument is normally held in Madison. The case being heard in Stevens Point originated in Portage County Circuit Court.

The case involves a dispute between the Portage County Drainage District and landowners regarding a district lateral that runs through the landowners' land. The district asks the Court of Appeals to reverse decisions of the circuit court that include an order granting a permit application by the landowners. The permit allows what the landowners characterize as a trout habitat reclamation project, but which the district characterizes as a series of unlawful obstructions involving approximately 200 trees and logs. Potential issues include the scope of authority granted to drainage districts by Wisconsin statutes and how circuit courts properly review actions of drainage districts.

As the state's intermediate appellate court, the Court of Appeals' primary role is to correct errors that may have occurred at the circuit court level. The Court of Appeals often decides cases on written briefs, but hears oral argument when it would be beneficial to the decision-making process.

During oral argument, attorneys present their strongest reasons the court should decide in favor of their clients, and respond to questions from the judges. The three-judge panel hearing the case consists of Judge Brian W. Blanchard, Judge JoAnne F. Kloppenburg, and Judge Michael R. Fitzpatrick.

Once complete, the case is taken under advisement, and a decision is rendered at a later date. Published opinions of the Court of Appeals establish precedent, unless and until overruled by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

District IV is one of four state Court of Appeals districts, and includes 24 counties in the southwest and central part of the state, including Portage.

Seating is available on a first-come; first-served basis in the Branch 1 Courtroom. The courthouse is located at 1516 Church St., Stevens Point.

Tom Sheehan
Court Information Officer
(608) 261-6640

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