In 2011, Attorney Dawn Marie Harris won a $1.3 million jury verdict in a civil litigation matter following a week-long jury trial that was upheld in 2012 by both the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. This might be a small law firm, but we get big results.
Attorney Harris opened her own independent law firm in August 2008. Prior to opening her own firm, Attorney Harris was a partner and shareholder at O'Flaherty Heim, Egan, Ltd. for almost ten years, and was in charge of the firm's Employment and Labor Law Department for her entire tenure there. Attorney Harris brings dedication and experience that dates back to 1993. Her boutique law firm focuses on employment, labor, family, criminal, and civil law matters in a client-focused, compassionate and responsive manner. Calls are returned and deadlines are met. She participates in joint representation with her clients every step of the way.
This law firm represents many of the corporations in our area on employment and labor matters. However, as a result of working in La Crosse, which is a smaller urban area, she also has the opportunity to represent employees of non-client businesses.
Attorney Harris has tried hundreds of State and Federal cases in the employment and labor law realm. Her experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in administrative hearings before the State Department of Workforce Development and in unemployment compensation matters has been plentiful. Her experience encompasses age discrimination, gender discrimination, disability discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, military leave discrimination, violations of civil rights (§1983) claims, Family and Medical Leave Act disputes, Wages and Hours Division issues, termination decisions by employers, severance agreement proposals, employment policies and workplace procedures, evaluation of non-compete agreements, evaluation of contractual rights, and assessment of whether or not defamation actions are actionable.
Attorney Harris has also successfully represented and tried hundreds of family, child protection and termination of parental rights, civil and criminal cases. She is well respected in the courthouse for her work ethic and diligence to her clients.
Professional and Civic Involvement:
A fair sampling of key litigation in which Attorney Harris has been counsel since her admission to the bar in 1993 includes the following:
Jahn Transfer, Inc. v. Horizon Freightways, Inc. (2011) - La Crosse County Circuit Court week-long jury trial with jury verdict in favor of client in the amount of $1.3 million pending final Order of Court - issue of breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation. Affirmed by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals; Wisconsin Supreme Court denied review.
Frequent Topic Presenter on Employment Law Issues
Board Member of the La Crosse YWCA organization (2011-2016), Chair of Personnel Committee (2011-2015), Exec. Committee (2013-2015)
CRUSA Board Member (2013-2014)
Member and Past President (2009-2011) of Wisconsin Women's Alliance f/k/a La Crosse Noon Business and Professional Women's (BPW) Group
Winner of State Woman of Determination Award for Wisconsin Women's Alliance (BPW 2011)
Past Statewide Executive Board member for the Wisconsin Women's Alliance (BPW 2010-2012)
Member and Past President (2001-2003) of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
National SHRM member from 2001 - present
Author of Monthly Newsletter Legal Updates from 2001-2009 for La Crosse SHRM
Past President and Member, La Crosse Noon Optimistic Club (President 1999-2000, member from 1993 through 2003);
Former Volunteer Attorney, Central High School Mock Trial Competition (1994-1998)
Participant, WINS (Women In Networking Support)
Logan High School PTO (2012-present)
Lincoln Middle School PTO (2010-2014)
Emerson Elementary School PTO (2010-2012)
Past President, La Crosse Area Young Lawyers Association
Member, La Crosse County Bar Association
Member, Wisconsin State Bar
Member, Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers
Member, Association of Trial Lawyers of America
Cub Scout Leader (2006 through 2010); Popcorn Chair (2008-2010)
2009 Lady for Blessed Sacrament Mardi Gras
Member, National Federation of Independent Business Owners (NFIB) (2008-2011)
Coulee Catholic Schools vs. Ostlund, Labor and Industry Review Commission (2009) - Argued before the Wisconsin Supreme Court against La Crosse attorney Jim Birnbaum and the State Attorney's office dealing with the First Amendment - Free Exercise Clause issues, defining the ministerial exemption for grade school teachers in Catholic Schools.
V.H. v. Estate of B.B. (1996) - Minnesota Supreme Court decision which established Minnesota Court jurisdiction over the estate of a sexual abuser on behalf of a victim.
Perri v. Diocese of La Crosse (1995) - Court of Appeals decision finding religion teacher was ministerial, First Amendment applied to preclude court from exercising jurisdiction over challenge to non-renewal of contract.
Gioioso v. Diocese of La Crosse (1994) - Court of Appeals decision upholding dismissal of sexual abuse claims on personal jurisdictional grounds.
Gioioso v. State of Wis., Catholic Charities and Diocese of La Crosse (1994) (7th Cir.) - upholding dismissal of Sec. 1983 lawsuit.