Charles Kramer has been appointed to work as a Associate in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin General Liability Department of Hennessy & Roach, P.C. Charles earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics at the University of Chicago and he went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from University of Wisconsin Law School. He has over twenty-five years of experience representing general liability matters spanning insurance defense, subrogation, coverage, legal malpractice and ethics defense, construction defect, worker’s compensation, ERISA, partition cases and condominium cases.
University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, WI – Juris Doctor
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL – Bachelor of Arts in Economics
- Member of the State Bar of Wisconsin
- Defense of General Liability claims in Wisconsin
1. American Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Golke, 2009 WI 81, 319 Wis.2d 397, 768 N.W.2d 729.
Plaintiff insured a home destroyed by fire. After the fire, Plaintiff’s cause and origin investigator opined that the cause of the fire was faulty roofing work done near a fireplace chimney. After the cause and origin expert came to his conclusion, Plaintiff sent letters to the Defendants advising them of the subrogation claim and advising them of an opportunity to inspect the house before it was torn down for reconstruction. One of the Defendant’s insurers responded to the letter by denying the claim. The other two Defendants did not respond to the Plaintiff’s letter. The fire-damaged house was later repaired, destroying the fire scene. After suit was filed, the trial court dismissed the case for spoliation of evidence. Plaintiff appealed. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals certified the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded 5-2 that no spoliation of evidence occurred because the Plaintiff had discharged its duty to preserve evidence. The court concluded that a party could intentionally destroy evidence without facing spoliation sanctions if 1. it had a good reason to do so, 2. gave reasonable notice of a possible claim, 3. the basis for that claim, 4. the existence of evidence relevant to the claim, and 5. reasonable opportunity to inspect that evidence. It also concluded that First Class Mail was an acceptable means of delivering reasonable notice of the claim. Based on the letters that Plaintiff sent to the potential Defendants, the court concluded that Plaintiff had discharged its duty to preserve evidence. Accordingly, it reversed the dismissal of the case.
- State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Hague Quality Water, Int’l, 2013 WI App 10, 345 Wis. 2d 741, 826 N.W.2d 412 aff’d,2014 WI 5, 352 Wis. 2d 308, 841 N.W.2d 819
Plaintiff insured a home which had been flooded by a allegedly defective water softener. It filed suit to recover its subrogation interest. The Defendant moved to dismiss on grounds of the economic loss doctrine. The trial court agreed with the Defendant and dismissed the case. Plaintiff appealed. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision. It concluded that the “other property” exception to the economic loss doctrine applied to the case. The court looked to the two further exceptions to the “other property” exception, the integrated system exception and the disappointed expectation. The court of appeals concluded that the floors and woodwork damaged in the flood were not an integrated system with the water softener. It reasoned that the” drywall, flooring, and woodwork were not damaged by a failure of the water softener to soften water but by a defect independent of the water softener’s function of softening water.” Accordingly, the damage caused by the water softener’s failure was not the result of mere disappointed expectations. Since neither exception to the other property exception applied, the court reversed the dismissal. The Defendant then appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. That court affirmed as the result of an equal division.