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Appellate Procedure: Finality of Order — Special Proceeding

State v. Denis L.R., 2004 WI App 51, affirmed on other grounds, 2005 WI 110
For Denis L.R.: Richard Hahn; Dwight D. Darrow

Issue/Holding: ¶10, n. 3: Dawn originally commenced this appeal by filing a petition for leave to appeal a nonfinal order. However, we determined that the order was final because it concluded a special proceeding with respect to the confidentiality privilege held by Dawn on behalf of Kirsten. Following our order, Dawn filed a notice of appeal.

Kirsten is the child-complainant, Dawn her mother and therefore privilege-holder. As the P-H, Dawn was allowed to intervene and litigate the privilege issue. What’s worth mentioning is the direct appealability of the order finding that the privilege had been waived. Wisconsin has a relatively unique, liberal approach in regard to what other jurisdictions might regard as ancillary, and therefore non-final, orders arising during the course of any given case. This probably tends to come up most frequently in sanction situations (fines levied against counsel, or contempt against a witness or even defendant), but this case illustrates another example. Just something to keep in mind.

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