Yesterday, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals released its opinion in Farm-To-Consumer v. Wis. DATCP, 11AP2264, a closely watched case involving Wisconsin’s regulation of raw-milk production. A couple of local farmers had sought a declaratory judgment, invalidating a Wisconsin law criminalizing the distribution and sale of raw milk. The court of appeals’ decision was a long time coming (two years after it was submitted on the briefs), yet perhaps it should not have come at all.
The plaintiffs appealed from the denial of their motion for summary judgment. Appellate courts in Wisconsin typically do not have jurisdiction to hear appeals from the denial of a summary-judgment motion because decisions denying motions for summary judgment do not dispose of the entire matter as to the parties, a cardinal rule for creating final, appealable orders. The opinion from Wisconsin’s court of appeals appears to have missed the issue entirely.