Litigation

Fox, O’Neill & Shannon represents individuals and businesses in all types of civil litigation, administrative proceedings and alternative dispute resolution proceedings. The firm regularly litigates business disputes, including contract, dealership, securities, unfair business practices, shareholder disputes, employment, restrictive covenant, trademark and insurance matters. The firm is well versed in both prosecuting and defending against civil claim levels.

FOS does not believe in wasting a client’s time or money by litigating just for the sake of litigating. Because of this, before resorting to the courts, the firm’s litigation attorneys discuss with the client their analyses and evaluations of a client’s dispute, and the feasibility and advisability of resolving that dispute short of formal litigation.

However, when a dispute cannot be informally resolved, FOS’s litigation attorneys go to court to win. The firm handles all aspects of the litigation, from commencement of a lawsuit or response to a complaint, discovery, pretrial motions, trial, judgment and any resulting appeal.

In addition to its Wisconsin litigation practice, FOS’s attorneys have been admitted to practice in and have successfully handled litigation in courts throughout the country.

Our litigation team collectively has received multiple honors and awards as Super Lawyers, Leader in the Law, Women in the Law, Up and Coming Lawyer and Top Lawyers.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Not all litigation is resolved in the courts. Many contracts and statutes call for disputes to be resolved through arbitration, mediation or other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

FOS is well versed in representing clients in all aspects of alternate dispute resolution processes, including arbitration and mediation. The firm’s litigation attorneys have represented clients in arbitrations and mediations administered by American Arbitration Association (AAA), Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS) and the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD, now FINRA). In addition, FOS attorneys have acted as mediators and arbitrators in alternative dispute resolution proceedings.

Appeals

The end of a trial is not necessarily the end of a civil lawsuit. The losing party may appeal the judgment against it to one or more appellate courts. FOS has decades of experience in obtaining successful appellate outcomes, in state and federal courts, either in affirming a judgment obtained in the client’s favor or reversing a judgment against a client.

FOS’s litigation attorneys have been admitted to practice and successfully prosecuted and/or defended appeals in appellate courts throughout the United States.

FOS’s appellate success is directly tied to its trial expertise. Retaining a positive trial outcome, or defending against an inappropriate adverse result, depends in large part on the groundwork of objections, offers of proof and other procedural steps laid by counsel at trial. With its decades of trial experience, and multiple experienced trial attorneys, FOS knows how to protect its clients, during trial, for a possible appeal.

Appellate practice is an increasingly specialized area. FOS is fortunate to have several attorneys whose initial legal experience was in the appellate court system, and who obtained invaluable first-hand appellate experience clerking for judges of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. FOS’s appellate expertise is further enhanced by shareholder Diane Slomowitz’s Wisconsin Law Journal column, “Briefs for the Brief Writer,” which regularly focusses on Wisconsin state and federal appellate practices and procedures. The firm is well prepared to serve its clients, from the filing of a notice of appeal, through the assembly of the appellate record, the preparation of appellate briefs, and the presentation of appellate oral argument.

Business, Commercial and Complex Cases

FOS’s business and commercial litigation team has successfully tried hundreds of substantive business disputes, in state and federal courts in and outside of Wisconsin. These include breach of contract claims, shareholder disputes, claims as to the breach or enforceability of restrictive covenants, confidentiality agreements and nondisclosure agreements, dealership disputes, securities claims, corporate buyout disputes, business usurpation lawsuits, white collar business claims, trade secret misappropriation claims, unfair competition cases, and business sale disputes.

FOS litigates cases throughout the country, and its litigation attorneys, are prepared to litigate wherever their clients’ needs take them. The firm’s legal research expertise, including online research, enables attorneys working on cases venued throughout the country to obtain and have before them all states’ laws, judicial decisions, and court procedures.

FOS’s litigation expertise extends beyond routine cases, involving relatively straight-forward claims, to complex cases involving complicated facts, parties, legal issues and jurisdictions. These include individual and class action anti-trust, trademark, unfair sales, securities, environmental and products liability disputes. Complex cases typically involve thousands of documents. To efficiently retain, categorize, analyze and use these documents in the most cost effective way, the firm uses sophisticated document search and management software and computer technologies.

To best serve each client, the litigators work closely with the firm’s transactional business practitioners, including the attorney or attorneys counseling the client as to its business affairs. This ensures seamless coordination and communication amongst all firm members, and the highest quality client representation before the trial and appellate courts.

Local Counsel

FOS’s litigation team assists out-of-state companies and individuals who are involved in litigation matters throughout Wisconsin, in state and federal courts. The firm’s litigation attorneys work with in-house and out-of-state attorneys to ensure that each client is fully and fairly represented in litigation occurring in Wisconsin. FOS offers extensive knowledge of local court rules and familiarity with local judicial procedures, including pro hac vice admission, judicial substitutions, out-of-state discovery, and electronic filing. FOS’s litigators further have experience with virtually all of the individuals who regularly work as mediators and arbitrators throughout Wisconsin.

A former partner and member of our litigation team, Judge Jeffrey A. Kremers, is currently the Chief Judge of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

FOS understands the importance that a referring attorney places on the relationship with his or her client. FOS’s attorneys will respect that relationship throughout the representation and afterwards.

Bruce C. O’Neill has practiced in the local courts and the Eastern District of Wisconsin for 40 years. He is a Court Commissioner in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, and was a clerk for a former Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Bruce was a 2014 Wisconsin Law Journal Leader in the Law.

Matthew W. O’Neill has developed an extensive litigation practice during his 20-years of practice. He formerly clerked for the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He is past President of the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association.

Diane Slomowitz has over 30 years of pre-trial, trial and appellate legal research and writing experience for FOS clients. She was one of the 2012 Wisconsin Law Journal’s Women in the Law. Before joining FOS, she was a clerk for the Honorable Martha Bablitch of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

Shannon A. Allen has had extensive litigation experience, including complex business lawsuits, over the past 20 years. She has repeatedly acted as local counsel in complex business litigation actions. She is one of the Wisconsin Law Journal’s 2014 Women in the Law.

Laurna A. Kinnel has regularly appeared before the trial courts in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Ozaukee counties, among others.

FOS’s counsel are highly rated by Martindale-Hubbell®. Our litigators have extensive connections throughout the Milwaukee metropolitan area, most having been born and raised families in Milwaukee. Bruce O’Neill, Matthew O’Neill and Shannon Allen have also been designated litigation Super Lawyers in Milwaukee Magazine for several years.

Municipal and Administrative Proceedings

Many disputes, including variance, special use and other zoning matters, are heard before municipal bodies. Judicial review, if at all, occurs under strictly limited standards. FOS has wide experience practicing before city, village and township municipal panels and other such bodies. The firm also has strong experience before state administrative bodies, including the Departments of Natural Resources, Transportation, and Workforce Development, and the Public Service Commission.

Personal Injury

FOS understands that, when a client suffers a personal injury caused by another’s fault, prompt action is needed to obtain a fair result. This allows the client to physically, emotionally, and economically heal as quickly as possible.

The firm’s approach to personal injury claims differs from those plaintiffs’ law firms which advertise heavily and take on a large volume of cases. FOS remains highly selective in the cases it accepts, and gives those cases a level of attention not typically seen with the high volume injury attorneys. The firm has litigated multiple types of personal injury claims, including automobile accident injuries, products liability and defective products cases, food borne illness claims (e.g., E. coli and salmonella), premises liability disputes, and negligence actions. FOS stands ready to help our clients achieve a fair and appropriate remedy for their injuries.

Trials

FOS’s litigation attorneys have extensive experience and expertise in trying all types of civil cases, on behalf of client plaintiffs and client defendants. These attorneys have obtained verdicts awarding multimillion dollar sums to plaintiff clients, and have successfully defended clients facing claims of similar amounts. The firm’s historical track-record of successful verdicts continues today.

No one wants to put the client through the time, expense and disruption of a trial. When a trial occurs, however, FOS’s litigation attorneys single-mindedly fight for their clients with all the legal, factual and trial resources available to them. From the selection of the jury to the opening statement, from the presentation of the client’s case to the cross-examination of adverse witnesses, from the presentation of trial motions to the submission of the jury instructions, from the closing argument to the reading of the verdict, the firm’s attorneys consistently and effectively advocate for and stand by their clients at every step of the trial.