John A. Kassner
John A. Kassner has a statewide practice focused on protecting the constitutional and legal rights of property owners dealing with government in complex litigation and appellate work dealing with
- property rights
- eminent domain involving
- highway and road projects
- gas pipelines
- high voltage transmission lines
- park projects
- land use disputes
- regulatory takings of property
John has recovered compensation in excess of one million dollars for numerous clients on eminent domain, regulatory takings, property access and inverse condemnation claims.
John has successfully argued many cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the Western District of Wisconsin and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. (See representative cases) He has represented the Wisconsin Builders Association and the Wisconsin Realtors Association® on numerous actions before the Wisconsin Supreme Court on cases involving land use, riparian and property rights issues.
John litigated a complex Robinson-Patman Act case before the Western District of Wisconsin and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
An active member of the National Association of Home Builders, John currently serves on the NAHB Litigation Oversight Group and as the LANDS liaison to the NAHB Legal Action Committee. He is the Wisconsin Associate National Director to NAHB and a Life Director of the Wisconsin Builders Association.
John was an active participant in the Joint Legislative Council’s revisions of Wisconsin’s Condominium Statutes in 2000.
Representative cases include the following:
- Eberle v. Dane County Bd. of Adjustment, 227 Wis.2d 609, 595 N.W.2d 730 (Wis. 1999). Successfully represented property owner in temporary regulatory takings case filed under Wisconsin Constitution.
- Wisconsin Builders Ass’n v. Wisconsin Dept. of Transp., 2005 WI App 160, 285 Wis.2d 472, 702 N.W.2d 433. Successfully represented 11 separate trade associations in challenge to the validity of TRANS 233. Court of Appeals ruled that WisDOT had improperly attempted to regulate land divisions by certified survey map, condominium plat or boundary adjustment. In a subsequent circuit court action, the court invalidated all of the 1999 and 2001 amendments to TRANS 233.
- Olson v. Town of Cottage Grove, 309 Wis.2d 365, 749 N.W.2d 211, 2008 WL 2220920, 2008 WI 51. Successfully represented land developer before Wisconsin Supreme Court, overturning a trial court determination that the developer lacked standing to raise as-applied challenge to validity of local ordinance compelling compliance with a transfer of development rights policy.
- State v.Outagamie County Bd. of Adjustment, 2001 WI 78, 244 Wis. 2d 613. Appeared as Amicus Curiae for Wisconsin Builders Association in successful challenge to DNR rule prohibiting granting zoning variances for deviation from flood plain basement elevations. On the basis of arguments raised by his amicus brief, the Supreme Court requested a second set of briefs dealing with those arguments, and granted amicus curiae its own time for oral argument on issues raised therein.
- State ex rel. Ziervogel v. Washington County Bd. of Adjustment, 2004 WI 23, 269 Wis.2d 549, 676 N.W.2d 401. Appeared and participated in oral argument as amicus curiae on behalf of Wisconsin Realtors Association®. Participated in oral argument on time ceded by Ziervogels. Supreme Court accepted our argument that area variances should be considered pursuant to a far more lenient standard than that which is applicable to use variances.
- Town of Rhine v. Bizzell, 311 Wis.2d 1, 751 N.W.2d 780, 2008 WL 2582744, 2008 WI 76. The town’s zoning ordinance established a zoning district with no permitted uses in which everything was a conditional use governed only by health, safety and welfare as standards for approval. Appeared and participated in oral argument as amicus curiae on behalf of Wisconsin Realtors Association®. The Supreme Court invalidated the ordinance.
- ABKA Ltd. Partnership v. Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, 255 Wis.2d 486, 648 N.W.2d 854, 2002 WL 1611602, 2002 WI 106. Appeared and participated in oral argument as amicus curiae on behalf of the Wisconsin Builders Association, using time ceded to it by the Wisconsin Realtors Association®. The Court of Appeals had accepted the DNR’s contention that boat docks did not constitute real property and that they could be taken, at any time, without the payment of just compensation. We argued that riparian rights constitute property and that the taking of such property compelled just compensation. The Supreme Court did not affirm the ruling of the Court of Appeals that boat docks do not constitute property. To the contrary, it affirmed that boat slips appurtenant to residential condominiums do constitute part of that property. It effectively dodged the question by concluding that the condominium documents creating the ABKA dockominium were statutorily defective, permitting the court to avoid answering the question.
John is a frequent presenter at State Bar of Wisconsin seminars on Eminent Domain and Condominium Law.
In 2017, John organized and was one of the presenters at the Symposium on Property Rights and Land Use in Wisconsin, jointly sponsored by the Wisconsin Realtors Association, the University of Wisconsin Law School, the Federalist Society and his then current firm of von Briesen & Roper, s.c. A video link to that program can be found at https://wiseye.org/2017/07/20/uw-law-school-property-rights-and-land-use-in-wisconsin/. It focused on recent changes in property rights and land use law statutes in Wisconsin and two recent cases, McKee vs. Fitchburg, that was decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Murr vs. State of Wisconsin, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. It featured presentations by legislators that sponsored the new Wisconsin legislation, and by the attorneys that argued these cases to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and to the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as a synopsis of important recent land use cases by Attorney Michael Berger, who had successfully argued four land use cases to the U.S. Supreme Court.