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Municipal Law & Civil Rights
Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.’s Municipal Law & Civil Rights Team has successfully defended counties, cities, villages, towns, school districts, and other municipal entities against a broad spectrum of alleged violations of constitutional rights and rights created by state law. Their technical skill and success have earned them a reputation for aggressive, effective defense of such claims.
 
Many of our lawyers had substantial experience in the public sector before entering private practice. The team includes lawyers who formerly served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and an Assistant New York City Attorney.
 
Our attorneys have extensive experience in defending the kinds of claims frequently brought against government entities. In fact, we estimate that, over the last decade, we have defended well in excess of 300 lawsuits of this kind.

Our Approach

We have found that the majority of municipal and constitutional claims can be disposed of favorably without trial. Our approach has always been to aggressively engage in a pretrial motion practice, including summary judgment. However, when necessary, our lawyers have the experience and technical training to effectively represent our clients at trial.
 
We manage each claim or lawsuit by bringing together our best talent as a team to comprehensively address the challenges presented by the claim or suit. The breadth of practice at WHD provides us with access to knowledgeable practitioners in virtually any related practice area, enabling us to efficiently analyze a claim or suit and pursue the most expeditious defense.

Representative Engagements

Members of the Municipal Law & Civil Rights Team have:
  • Obtained summary judgment in many civil rights cases on behalf of numerous Wisconsin counties in cases involving death or catastrophic injury to individuals in the custody of law enforcement.
  • Obtained summary judgment in numerous other civil rights actions arising in the law enforcement context, including claims of false arrest, excessive force, failure to protect, cruel and unusual punishment, and denial of due process.
  • Successfully defended municipalities in complex class action litigation in the police, jail, and discrimination contexts, including on appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
  • Successfully defended government officials in jury trials involving catastrophic injury, alleged due process violations, alleged zoning violations, and state law torts such as defamation.
  • Successfully represented municipalities in cases on appeal, including before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Served as municipal attorney and special counsel for cities, towns, and villages throughout Wisconsin, as well as the attorney liaison to several police and fire commissions and municipal ethics committees.

Our Team

Just as any professional group thrives when all of its staff and equipment are top-of-the-line, so does our firm. We believe that quality must expand into all aspects of operations. To that end, we take great pride in the contributions of our support and technical staff through their expert use of our state-of-the-art word processing, document management and time and billing systems. These efforts allow us to manage our work efficiently and complete our projects in a timely, professional manner. Our ultimate goal at WHD is the success of the client. We focus on results to formulate new ideas for achieving the client’s goals.