Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Court of Appeals reverses Circuit Court decision in Oshkosh Pub Crawl lawsuit

OSHKOSH, Wis. February 15, 2017 – The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has reversed a Winnebago County Circuit Court decision that had dismissed a City of Oshkosh lawsuit against Joseph Kubiak for costs associated with the Oshkosh Pub Crawl event.

The City of Oshkosh requires organizers of special events within the City to apply for a permit and pay for any extraordinary services associated with their event. For several years Mr. Kubiak has organized an event within the City consisting of a pub crawl along Main Street.

The Pub Crawl is a drinking event where primarily college students walk downtown and patronize local taverns. The event requires Police and Fire Department services, as well as barricades and clean up services from the Public Works Department. When Mr. Kubiak refused to obtain a permit and pay for the City services associated with the event, the City filed a lawsuit seeking reimbursement. After holding a trial in early 2016, the Circuit Court ruled that the City’s Special Event Ordinance was unconstitutionally vague because it did not define the word “organizer.” The Court of Appeals has determined that the ordinance was, in fact, constitutional.

Later, the City revised the ordinance to include more specific examples of conduct that does or does not define someone as an organizer. These changes made the ordinance easier for the public to understand and for staff to apply.

The City believes that the charges for the services provided to the Pub Crawl event were reasonable and necessary to ensure a safe event, and believes that the costs of providing those services should not be paid by City taxpayers, but should be paid by the person who organized and profited from the event.

The Court of Appeals decision sends the case back to the Circuit Court for further proceedings consistent with their decision. At this time, the City is reviewing the Court’s decision and its options pertaining to this matter.


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