William R. Rettko

William R. Rettko

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Employment & Labor Attorney in Brookfield, WI

Rettko Law Offices SC
 | 15460 West Capitol Drive, Suite 200
Brookfield, WI 53005
Phone: 262-783-7200
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2005
Licensed Since: 1989
Practice Areas:
  • Employment & Labor: Employee (60%),
  • Civil Rights (30%),
  • Business Litigation (10%)
Attorney Profile

William R. Rettko, Attorney with Rettko Law Offices, S.C. was selected for inclusion in the forthcoming Top Attorneys of North America 2017 edition.

The accomplishments and achievements attained by Mr. William Rettko in the field of Legal Services warrants inclusion into the Top Attorneys of North America. William Rettko practices in the areas of appellate practice, civil rights litigation, constitutional issues, employment/labor law and police union representation.

He treats his job as a vocation and represents his clients' best interests. One of his most notable cases was Alexander v. Jones, with a verdict of $3,738,983.

William received his B.S.B.A., M.B.A. and J.D. from Drake University. He was included in the 10 Best Attorneys by the American Institute of Legal Counsel, selected as an Elite Lawyer of American Civil Trial Lawyers, Continental Who's Who Pinnacle Professional and named as a Multi-Million Dollar Advocate in 2016. 

Rettko Law is a well-known, established Wisconsin trial law firm recognized for its aggressive, dedicated representation who offers their clients legal services linked to a broad scope of employment law with the expertise, innovation and cost effective results.

About William Rettko

Admitted: 1989, Wisconsin

Honors and Awards:

  • Pinnacle Professional, Continental Who's Who, 2017
  • Honorary Member, Milwaukee Retired Police Association, 2017
  • 10 Best Attorneys, American Institute of Legal Counsel, 2017
  • Top Attorneys of North America, Who's Who Directories, 2017
  • Elite Lawyer, Elite Lawyers of America, 2016
  • 10 Best Attorneys-Employment & Labor Law, American Institute of Legal Counsel, 2016
  • PrestigiousTrial Lawyer, Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, 2015

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Christ King Parish - Legal Representation, 2017
  • Knights of Columbus, 2016
  • Tosa Rec Basketball - Coach - 2003, 2008
  • Christ King Basketball - Coach - 2003-2005, 2008-2010
  • Junior Hilltoppers - Coach - 2009
  • Cyclone Football - Coach - 2008
  • Eagle Football - Coach - 2005-2006
  • Tosa Baseball - Coach - 2002-2003 and 2006-2007
  • Christ King Parish Council - 2016-Present
  • Christ King - Finance Council - 2016-Present
  • Confirmation Teacher - Christ King Parish - 2015-2016
  • CYM Basketball Coach-2012-2014
  • Guesthouse -- Serve and donate meals-2013-Present

Scholarly Lectures and Writings:

  • Current Legal Issues Surrounding Public Safety Employment, Speaker, Major Cities Conference, Los Vegas, NV, 2014

Verdicts and Settlements:

  • Represented a terminated manager in the financial industry in an age discrimination lawsuit obtaining a settlement of $600,000, 2014
  • Representated an individual in a defamation lawsuit obtaining a 6 figure settlement, 2013
  • Will Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Silkscreening By Will v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Case No. 99-CV-009877.  Represented Silkscreening By Will and received a Jury Verdict on May 23, 2003 in favor of the plaintiffs in the total amount of $550,349.92 based on the plaintiff's bad faith claim on the defendant's handling of their fire damage claim.  The verdict included: $67,639 for building repair, $2500 for personal property of customers, $25,500 for debris remaoval, $160,000 for attorney fees and costs, and $250,000 for punitive damages with prejudgment interest of $44,710.92.
  • Morales v. Jones, 494 F.3d 590 (7th Cir. 2007).  On November 18, 2005, while representing the plaintiffs Detective Lieutenant Alfonso Morales and Detective David Kolatski, obtained a jury verdict of $20,000 for compensatory damages for each plaintiff, and $65,000 each in punitive damages for each plaintiff against the City of Milwaukee's Police Chief Arthur Jones and Deputy Chief Monica Ray for violating the plainitffs' First Amendment rights of free speech when they acted to transfer the plainitffs out of the Vice Squad to night shift patrol duty.  The defendants appealed and on July 17, 2007, the 7th Circuit reversed the verdict in favor of David Kolatski due to the subsequent holding in Garcetti v. Cebalos, and remanded the Morales' claim back to District Court for a re-trial.  see Morales v. Jones, 494 F.3d 590 (7th Cir. 2007).  The case settled in August 2008 for $112,000. 
  • Represented the Mequon Police Association on its collective bargaining agreement for the 2009-2010 contract.  In January 2009, was able to successfully, negotiate a 4% wage increase for all members of the association for 2009 and 2010. 
  • Ozaukee County v. Labor Association of Wisconsin, 2008 WI App 174.  This matter was challenged on behalf of the Labor Association of Wisconsin,  who opposed the Sheriff's request for declaration that his assignments to teams designated for transporting Federal and State prisoners to and from the Ozaukee County Jail fell within the Sheriff's constitutional authority regardless of the union's collective bargaining agreement requiring assignments on seniority.  On appeal, it was found that the Sheriff's assignments were outside of his constitutional authority and that all assignments would have to be made in conjunction with all collective bargaining agreement requirements. 
  • In the Matter of the Petition of MILWAUKEE POLICE SUPERVISORS' ORGANIZATION for binding Arbitration involving law enforcement personnel in the employ of the CITY OF MILWAUKEE.  On November 28, 2008, in follow up to an interest arbitration that occurred in May - June 2008, the Milwaukee Police Supervisors' Organization (MPSO) received an arbitration award for its 2004-2006 contract in which it broke the pay parity the City imposed on its ranks with the rank of Detective and certain supervisor ranks of the City's Fire Department.  More specifically, all MPSO members received an across the board wage increase of 3.2% for 2004, 3.4% increase for 2005, and a 3.3% increase for 2006.  In comparison, the City's parity policy would have resulted in a 3% wage increase across the board for the entirety of the 2004-2006 contract.  In addition, the MPSO was awarded a promotional process to make the Police Department's promotional process more transparent for MPSO members by requiring that the department provide MPSO members with information and feedback about their performance in the promotional process all of which the City had previously refused to provide.  Additionally, the MPSO was awarded an annual 1% lump sum payment for its Lieutenants based on their annual base wage earnings for working as Acting Captains.  This was an another item the City previously refused to pay and expected its Lieutenants to perform at the Lieutenant salary.  
  • Miller v. Jones, 444 F.3d 929 (7th Cir. 2006), followed by Miller v. Jones, 2007 WL 2916553 (E.D. Wis.).  In August 2008 settled plaintiff's First Amendment retaliation claim against the City of Milwaukee and Police Chief Arthur Jones for $160,000.  The plaintiff's claim was based on First Amendment retaliation allegeing that the defendants violated plaintiff's free speech rights when he spoke out against certain requestes made of the Chief that the Police Athletic League merge with the Boys and Girls Club.  It was further alleged by plaintiff that in retaliation for his opposition to the Chief's requests, the Chief caused the Police Athletic League's Board to remove plaintiff from continuing on as its executive director.
  • In the Matter of Charges Filed Against Captain Stanley Kay.  In March - April 2006, on behalf of the Cudahy Professional Police Association, a hearing was conducted with the Cudahy Board of Police and Fire Commissioners (PFC) on charges filed by the union against Captain Stanley Kay for violating various rules of the Cudahy Police Department in nine different incidents.  On April 19, 2006, the Cudahy PFC found that Captain Kay violated department rules on at least two occassions, but refused to take any disciplinary action finding that Captain Kay had not been given an opportunity by the union to explain his conduct before filing its charges, nor had the union conducted any kind of formal investigation.  The matter was then appealed to Milwaukee County Circuit Court Case No. 06-CV-004072 on the basis that the PFC acted on an incorrect theory of law by requiring the union to confront Captain Kay and conduct a formal investigation of charges before filing charges with the PFC.  On August 16, 2006, the Milwaukee County Circuit Court entered a decision requiring the Cudahy PFC to consider discipline against Captain Kay because the union, much like a citizen, is not required to confront the accussed or conduct any formal investigation, but is only required to prove its case with the PFC which it had done on two incidents.  
  • Gustafson v. Jones, United States District Court Case No. 00-C-1397.  In March 2006, while representing Officer Rod Gustafson and Officer Javier Cornejo settled their continued retaliation lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee, Chief Arthur Jones, Chief Phillip Arreola, and Deputy Chief Monica Ray in the amount $90,000.  This claim set forth various alleged acts of retaliation by the defendants that occurred after the filing of their initial lawsuit in 1994 that was ultimately finalized by the 7th Circuit @ 290 F.3d 895 on May 17, 2002. 
  • Alexander v. City of Milwaukee, 474 F.3d 437 (7th Cir. 2007).  Obtained a Jury Verdict on March 29, 2005 for the plaintiffs who were 17 white male Lieutenants of the Milwaukee Police Department against the City of Milwaukee, Police Chief Arthur Jones, and Police and Fire Commissioners Woody Welch, Carla Y. Cross, Eric Johnson, Leonard Sobczak, and Ernesto Baca.  More specifically, the jury found that the defendants discriminated against Lts. Steven Alexander, Keith Balash, Charles Berard, Micheal Brunow, James Cleveland, Joseph Farina, John Malloy Hagen, William Heinen, Wayne Jensen, Thomas Klusman, Edward Liebrecht, Ronald Quackenbush, Anthony Smith, Steven Spingola, Kim Stack, David Vahl, and Michael Young during the promotional process for Captain of Police.  All acts of discrimination by the defendants were found to be in violation of 42 U.S.C. sec. 1981, 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983, and Title VII.  Then on April 5, 2005, the jury awarded total compensatory damages to the 17 plaintiffs in the amount of $464,500 and total punitive damages of $1,734,000 or $102,000 for each plaintiff.  This was followed by the District Court awarding a total past and future wage loss to the 17 plaintiffs on August 29, 2005 in the amount of $1,540,483.  Then on February 3, 2006, the District Court denied all defendant motions after verdict and granted plaintiffs $447,701 in attorney fees and costs. The defendants appealed to the 7th Circuit who on January 18, 2007 upheld all findings of liability, but reversed the award for damages by remanding the matter back to District Court for further proceedings.The case settled in July 2007 for a payment by the defendants to the plaintiffs in the amount of $2.65 million.
  • Gustafson v. Jones, 290 F.3d 895 (7th Cir. 2002).  On January 24, 2000, received a jury verdict in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin while representing the plaintiffs who were Milwaukee Police Officers Rod Gustafson and Javier Cornejo against the City of Milwaukee, Deputy Inspector Arthur Jones and Police Chief Philip Arreola as a result of defendants' retaliatory transfer of Gustafson and Cornejo off of the Tactical Enforcement Unit to night shift patrol duty in violation of the officers' First Amendment right of free speech.The award was $10,000 for each plaintiff in emotional distress, $180,000 for each plaintiff in punitive damages, and $23,171.05 in interest from date of verdict to payment on July, 2002.  In addition, attorney fees and costs in the total amount of $269,944.10 was awarded.  Making the total award of $696,286.20.
  • Milwaukee Police Association v. City of Milwaukee, 2002 WI App 43, 250 Wis.2d 676, 641 N.W.2d 709.  Represented the Milwaukee Police Association (MPA) who contested the City's refusal to arbitrate the denial of Officers Rod Gustafson and Javier Cornejo's grievances that their transfers from the Tactical Enforcement Unit to night shift patrol duty was in violation of the MPA's collective Bargaining Agreement Article 7 and Article 55 as the transfers were in violation of the officers' First Amendment right of free speech.  The Milwaukee County Circuit Court first ruled that the matter was "not procedurally arbitrable."  However, the Court of Appeals found the matter was arbitrable.  The case was settled in July 2002 when both Officers Rod Gustafson and Javier Cornejo were transferred back to the Tactical Enforcement Unit.   
  • Smith v. Wisc Dept of Corrections - In 2016 received an award for terminated social worker with the Wisc DOC by proving the DOC had no basis for termination in March 2015. The award consisted of complete back pay and benefits lost, together with actual attorney fees.
  • Kraemer v. City of Pewaukee, et al., Case No. 07-C-0337, United States Eastern District of Wisconsin. Represented plaintiff Robert Kraemer in a First Amendment retaliation, Title VII, ADA, Section 1983 lawsuit against Police Chief Gary Bach and various members of the Pewaukee Police Department, Mayor and Common Council. In this case, Kraemer alleged he was retaliated against for his activity in opposing derogatory comments made by the police chief against female employees and minority groups and further alleged the retaliation resulted in his permanent disability as a police officer. The case settled for $300,000.
  • In the Matter of the Petition of Cedarburg Police Officer's Association Involving Certain Employees of the City of Cedarburg.  On August 30, 2011, in follow up to a hearing on June 7, 2011, obtained a decision from the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission defeating the City's efforts to get the position of Police Sergeant and Detective Sergeant classified as supervisors pursuant to Section 111.70(1)(o) Wis. Stats.  This decision allowed those Sergeants to remain in the police association and be included in the association's collective bargaining unit.
  • Abegglen v. Town of Beloit, United States Western District Court Case No. 10-CV-110. On May 12, 2011, a jury verdict was rendered for Willis Abegglen (former Deputy Police Chief) in the amount of $5,300 in lost wages and benefits; $19,000 in the present value of future wages and health benefits, together with $200,000 in emotional distress.  A jury verdict was also rendered for Mary Abegglen (court clerk) in the amount of $37,000 in lost wages and benefits; $84,000 in the present value of future wages and health insurance, together with $150,000 in emotional distress. In addition, punitive damages were assessed in favor of the plaintiffs against former Police Chief John Wilson in the amount of $500,000 and former Town Administrator Robert Musues in the amount of $500,000. This judgment together with an award of attorney fees and costs totalled $1,810,968.64 as entered on August 16, 2011.
  • In the Matter of the Petition of the Milwaukee Police Supervisors' Organization for binding arbitration involving supervisory law enforcement personnel in the employment of the City of Milwaukee. On July 20, 2010 in follow up to an interest arbitration that occurred in January 2010, the Milwaukee Police Supervisors' Organization (MPSO) received an award for its 2007-2009 contract obtaining across the board wage increases of 3% for 2007; 3.25% for 2008; and 3.0% for 2009 after adding $100 to pay period 26 2008 pay rates.  In comparison, the City of Milwaukee argrued for across the board pay inccreases of 2% in 2007; 1% for the 1st pay period in 2008 with an additional 1% in the 14th pay period in 2008; and a 1% increase for the 1st pay period in 2009 with an additional 1% in the 14th pay period in 2009.
  • Schlender v. Boulder Junction Charcoal Grill, Eastern District of Wisconsin Case #05-C-0618.Represented Boulder Junction Charcoal Grill in defending against a discrimination claim brought by the plaintiff.  On April 9, 2008, obtained a jury verdict in favor of Boulder Junction dismissing plaintiff's complaint.

Representative Clients:

  • Counsel for the: Mequon Police Association; West Bend Supervisors' Association; Cedarburg Police Officer's Association; Grafton Professional Police Association; Shorewood Police Association; Ozaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association; and Wauwatosa Police Supervisors Association

Educational Background:

  • Masters in Business Administration, Drake University - July, 1983
  • B.S.B.A. Drake University. Major Marketing - May, 1982
Office Location for William R. Rettko

15460 West Capitol Drive
Suite 200
Brookfield, WI 53005

 

William R. Rettko:

Last Updated: 3/24/2017

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