"Evers' judges" is our effort to present information about Gov. Tony Evers' appointees to the bench. The information is taken from the appointees' own judgeship applications.
Italics indicates a direct quote from the judge's application.
Name: Jack L. Dávila
Appointed to: Milwaukee Country Circuit Court
Appointment date: April 9, 2020. (Elected April 2021)
Law School – Marquette University
Undergraduate – University of Wisconsin-Madison
High School – Cedar Grove-Belgium High School, Cedar Grove, Wisconsin
Recent legal employment:
November 2013-present – The Previant Law Firm, Milwaukee
September 2011-October 2013 – Tabak Law, Milwaukee
U.S. Army, 2002-2006
Bar and Administrative Memberships:
State Bar of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court-Eastern District of Wisconsin
General character of practice:
Personal injury, worker's compensation, and Social Security disability matters in Wisconsin state courts and before the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and the Social Security Administration.
My personal injury practice has included representation in auto collision, product liability, premises liability and wrongful death actions. In civil matters I have experience in all aspects of the litigation process, including the initial filing of the summons and complaint, the discovery process (including depositions), motion practice and trial representation.
Describe typical clients:
My clients are diverse and come from all walks of life. They are regular, hard-working men and women who were injured either on the job or as a result of someone else's negligence. A significant portion of my clients come from Wisconsin's Hispanic community.
Number of cases tried to verdict: One
List up to three significant trials, appeals, or other legal matters in which you participated as a judge or lawyer in the past seven years
Noyce v. Department of Workforce Development Uninsured Employers Fund, et al.
Noyce v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, et al.
These cases involved a worker's compensation appeal to Wisconsin Court of Appeals and a third-party claim arising out of the same case in Jefferson County. My firm represented the injured worker, David Noyce....I was involved in these cases from approximately 2013 to 2018.…I was involved in all aspects of these matters....This case was significant because it involved complex issues of the interplay between worker's compensation law and third-party negligence law, including statutory interpretation and a question of adherence to longstanding precedent. Ultimately, the biggest reason it was a significant case is because our client suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and, as a result, was unable to return to the work force. His future depended upon the outcome of this case and I am proud that we were able to help him obtain some financial security and hope for his future.
Loontjens v. Sentry Insurance et al.
This was initially a Milwaukee County case before it was removed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin before Judge J.P. Stadtmueller. My firm represented plaintiff John Loontjens.…I was involved in this case from approximately 2013 to 2015. I was involved in all aspects of the litigation arising out of this case....Judge Stadtmueller denied summary judgment, allowing the case to move forward. This case was significant because we were able to assist our client who lost an eye while on the job when he was struck by an exploding tire rim that was negligently designed.
Meitner v. JLG Industries et al.
This was a Dodge County case before Judge Brian Pfitzinger. My firm represented plaintiff Bruce Meitner.…I was involved in this matter from approximately 2016 to 2018....This matter ultimately settled prior to the judge ruling on the motion for summary judgment. Our client was injured when an aerial lift he was working on collapsed from a height of approximately 30 feet, causing him to fall to the ground and suffer injuries to his leg. This case was significant because we were able to help our client obtain some measure of security for his family after he suffered severe injuries to his leg and as a result was unable to return to his employment as a construction worker.
Experience in adversary proceedings before administrative bodies:
Represents injured workers in worker's compensation matters before the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and the Labor and Industry Review Commission. Attends adversarial hearings before a DWD administrative law judge and submits appellate briefs to the Labor and Industry Review Commission, circuit court or Wisconsin Court of Appeals.
Describe your non-litigation legal experience (e.g., arbitration, mediation).
Participated in many mediations as part of client representation.
Position or involvement in judicial, non-partisan, or partisan political campaign, committee, or organization:
Previous runs for public office: None
All judicial or non-partisan candidates endorsed in the last ten years:
Ed Fallone Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, 2019
Professional or civic and charitable organizations:
Voces de la Frontera Action, board of directors, November 2016-present
Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association, treasurer/board of directors, June 2014-May 2018
Wisconsin Association for Justice, member, November 2013-present
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, member, 2016-present
American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, member, 2018-present
Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, member, 2019-present
League of United Latin American Citizens, member, 2019-present
Significant pro bono legal work or volunteer service:
Since 2009, first as a law student and since 2011 as an attorney, I have Volunteered at the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic since 2009; volunteer attorney at Voces de l Frontera Legal Clinic since 2016.
Why I want to be a judge – For the past two decades the common thread of my life has been service. From serving in the United States Army, to pro bono work during law school and as an attorney, to my practice representing injured people during a difficult time in their lives, to community service, I have always felt called to help others and serve my community. Serving as a judge would allow me to serve my community on an even greater level.
Many of my clients are members of the Latino community. I have seen firsthand the toll it takes on regular working people and their families to be injured and out of work for months, or even years, while waiting for their day in court. I have represented undocumented immigrants who are fearful of seeking legal recourse due to their immigration status. I have insight into the overwhelming feelings of confusion and helplessness that those with little means experience when they are forced to become involved in our justice system. As a judge I will ensure that everyone who enters the courtroom, no matter who they are, what they look like, what zip code they live in, or what their immigration status is, will be treated equally and with dignity and respect.
I come from humble beginnings. I grew up in the small town of Cedar Grove, Wisconsin in Sheboygan County, the son of two longtime union members. My mother is a retired public school teacher and school librarian, and my father is a retired machinist who immigrated to the United States from Puerto Rico. My father arrived in this country with an eighth grade education and learned English while working in Chicago’s factories. Both of my parents emphasized education as the key to being successful in life. After graduating from college I enlisted in the United States Army and served as a Spanish linguist non-commissioned officer from 2002-2006. I quickly saw that in basic training everyone was treated the same, no matter what they looked like or where they were from. In this sense the military and the justice system serve as great equalizers; everyone who enters the courtroom should be treated the same no matter who they are.
For the past decade I have invested time in organizations that serve Milwaukee’s Latino community. I serve on the board of directors of Voces de la Frontera Action and volunteer at the Voces Legal Clinic. I also volunteer at the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic at the United Community Center. I appear regularly at the Mexican Consulate in Milwaukee to give presentations on access to the justice system for injured immigrant workers.
My upbringing, military service, law practice, pro bono work and commitment to community service have shaped who I am, and I would bring this experience to the bench. Serving as a judge would be a continuation of my record of service to our country and community, and would provide me with an even greater opportunity to serve my community.
Describe which case in the past 25 years by the Wisconsin Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court you believe had a significant positive or negative impact on the people of Wisconsin.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This ruling by a divided United States Supreme Court has done immeasurable damage to our politics and our justice system by allowing unlimited amounts of special interest money to be spent on elections at every level of our government, including judicial elections. Perhaps more than any other branch of government, unlimited spending on judicial races has the potential to undermine confidence in our system of government and in our justice system. The judiciary is supposed to be the branch of our government that is above politics, and public confidence in the judiciary is what gives it legitimacy. If this confidence is undermined due to the appearance of political bias the judiciary could lose its legitimacy in the eyes of the public.
The decision in Citizens United was made worse when the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to enact Rule petition 17-01 in 2017. The petition would have created an objective standard for when judges or justices must recuse themselves when they have received the benefit of campaign contributions or assistance from a party or lawyer.
The Citizens United decision coupled with the rejection of Rule petition 17-01 in Wisconsin has greatly impacted the people of our state by undermining confidence in our elected judiciary. I believe these decisions ultimately must be addressed in order to reestablish full confidence in the independence of the judicial branch of our government.
"Perhaps more than any other branch of government, unlimited spending on judicial races has the potential to undermine confidence in our system of government and in our justice system." – Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jack L. Dávila
Two or three judges whom I admire and why:
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Pedro Colón
As the first Latino elected to serve in the Wisconsin Legislature, Judge Colón has been a trailblazer in the Latino legal community and a source of inspiration for me even before he knew who I was. People like Judge Colón paved the way for young Latino kids to see that they could bring their talents to political and judicial life in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin. I got to know Judge Colón when we both served on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association. I admire him as a judge and as a longtime leader in Milwaukee’s Latino community.
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren
I clerked for Judge Bohren when I was a law student at Marquette. Judge Bohren is exemplary in his judicial demeanor and the way he treats parties appearing before him. On several occasions I was present for hearings in which pro se litigants who were backed by very vocal supporters and not knowledgeable or respectful of the legal system attacked our system of justice. I really admired the way Judge Bohren handled these situations, remaining calm and measured and never demeaning or disrespecting any of these individuals. As I got to know Judge Bohren, from our private conversations I came to learn that politically he leaned conservative. I witnessed him make decisions as a judge based on the law and the facts of the case, not based on his personal political views, which is very important to the role of a judge.
Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens
I have always admired Justice Stevens. I admire his sacrifice during World War II when, although he was born into a wealthy family, he decided to enlist in the United States Navy and earned a Bronze Star during his service. I also admire his long and brilliant legal career, which saw him take part in many of the seminal legal decisions of our era. In a time when most politicians and jurists are unwilling to admit they have made a mistake or cling to their views despite evidence to the contrary, Justice Stevens was willing to change his views over time when warranted even as he served on the nation’s highest court. This is epitomized in his quote that “Learning on the job is essential to the process of judging.” Perhaps most admirable was his reputation of always being a gentleman and unfailingly polite to his colleagues, his clerks and to the lawyers appearing before him at oral argument.
The proper role of a judge:
The proper role of a judge is to make decisions based upon the law and the facts of the case while ensuring that everyone who appears before him or her is treated with dignity, respect and fairness.
I believe that fundamental to the role of being a judge is that he or she must know the community that he or she serves. Knowing the community means understanding the issues that affect it. Understanding the issues that affect the community will assist the judge in having a better understanding of the problems people face in everyday life and how this affects them when they become involved in the justice system.
I have made Milwaukee my home for the past eleven years and I am very dedicated to community service and to understanding the issues that affect our community. If appointed, I would bring this commitment to our community to my role as a judge.
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