HKM attorneys Casey B. Suszynski and Kyle Koebele recently obtained a favorable ruling under a novel legal defense. The Circuit Court for Burnett County, Wisconsin granted summary judgment on behalf of HKM’s client, an independent contractor and his major insurance carrier, on an issue of first impression within the state.
The case involved a construction accident that injured a homeowner and independent contractor. The independent contractor brought a direct action against the homeowner’s insurer. That action was settled, and independent contractor released all claims that he may have against both the homeowner and the homeowner’s insurer as part of the settlement agreement. Shortly after the settlement was reached the homeowner brought an action against the independent contractor and his insurer, based on the same facts which gave rise to the independent contractor’s now settled lawsuit.
HKM brought a motion for summary judgment on behalf of its clients, arguing homeowner’s claim was precluded under Wisconsin’s direct action statues and the common law compulsory counterclaim rule. Although the issue had never been addressed before in Wisconsin, the court agreed with HKM’s argument and granted its motion for summary judgment. The court ruled that the doctrine of claim preclusion and the common law compulsory counterclaim rule prohibited the homeowner from bringing his claims and dismissed his suit against HKM’s clients.
Casey B. Suszynski is an attorney in HKM’s Civil Litigation Group, focusing her practice primarily on products liability, insurance law, and civil litigation. She also has experience in business law, malpractice claims, negotiations, property disputes, construction defect cases, and collections. Casey is licensed to practice in Minnesota and Wisconsin state courts, as well as the U.S. District Court of Minnesota and the U.S. District Court of Wisconsin, Eastern and Western Districts.
Kyle Koebele is also an attorney in HKM’s Civil Litigation Group. He focuses his practice on products liability defense, commercial litigation and insurance related litigation. He is licensed in Wisconsin state courts.