A three-judge panel for the District III Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling in a case involving a woman who stole from money from her late uncle while serving as his caretaker prior to his death. The estate’s representative noticed suspicious activity on the uncle’s bank accounts, and was able to determine that the niece/caretaker has stolen the funds. The uncle’s estate then filed an action against the niece in small claims court, seeking $10,000 in damages, which is typically the statutory limit on damages in small claims court. The circuit court below ordered the niece to pay more than $50,000 in damages and fees to the uncle’s estate, which consisted of $10,000 in actual compensatory damages, $20,000 in exemplary damages, $20,000 in attorney fees, and almost $2,000 in double costs. However, the niece appealed, and the appellate court disagreed with the lower court’s ruling, cutting the damages award to about $6,000.
First, the appellate court found that the estate could only receive exemplary damages in a trial by jury, rather than by the court, as occurred in this case. The court also found that the misappropriation of funds claim filed in small claims court was a tort claim, rather than a civil liability theft case. Therefore, the estate was limited to the small claims cap of $5,000, rather than the $10,000 that the judge had awarded. Likewise, since the appellate court so drastically reduced the damages award in this case to $5000, the estate was not entitled to double statutory costs because its damages award was less than its previously offered settlement amount of $7,500. Finally, since there was no specific provision to authorize an attorney fees award in this type of litigation, the appellate court overturned the attorney fees awarded by the lower court in this case.
If your loved one has suffered financial abuse at the hands of medical staff at a nursing home or another healthcare provider, you may have a valid claim for damages. This sort of situation makes it essential to contact an experienced Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorney in order to protect your rights and obtain the financial relief that you deserve. Healthcare providers have an obligation under the law to refrain from financially exploiting those whom they are supposed to be protecting. Hold negligent Wisconsin healthcare providers responsible for their actions. Contact Boller & Vaughan today and learn how we can help you.
Wisconsin’s Caregiver Law was enacted in order to provide protection for particularly vulnerable individuals in regulated settings, such as a nursing home, assisted living facility, or other long-term care facility. Under this law, individuals who […]
Every year across the United States, millions of individuals aged 65 and older fall. More than one in four of those individuals fall each year, but many fail to report their falls to their doctor. […]
"*" indicates required fields
We live in Friendship, Wisconsin, and Boller & Vaughan came to our doorstep to discuss our mother’s wrongful death claim on a Saturday morning. Not only were we pleased with the large recovery, we were so thankful to have lawyers who were willing to explain to us every twist and turn along the way. It is great to know there is a law firm that will fight for the rights of elderly people all over Wisconsin.
Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan were incredible in working on my case and my daughter’s case. I was out of work and in the hospital with a new baby. Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan protected our rights and it was a pleasure to work with them. I hope never to be in another motor vehicle accident, however, if I am and I am injured, I will contact Boller & Vaughan immediately.
I was referred to Michelle through a friend. I have never had a better experience. It took a little over a year to get my settlement but the staff there stayed in constant contact and kept me in the loop. Oh, and Michelle actually got me MORE money than we discussed. I will refer anyone to this firm. Words cannot do justice the thanks that I have for Michelle and her staff (Mary especially) thank you guys so much!
After my husband died as a result of a motor vehicle accident, Boller & Vaughan spent countless hours talking with me, meeting with me in person, and making sure that I was okay. The drunk driver who hit us did not have any insurance, and we had to make a claim through our own insurance. Boller & Vaughan was fantastic at explaining the law to me and the handling of our claims.
After my son was injured in a daycare setting, Ms. Vaughan took the time to thoroughly investigate our case and my son’s injuries. Michele was approachable and had answers to our questions. Talking with her helped to relieve many of our anxieties.