DOT v. Peterson

In DOT v. Peterson, 226 Wis. 2d 623, 594 N.W.2d 765 (1999), an ambiguity arose from the interpretation of Wis. Stat. 32.05(9) and 32.01 (1995-96), regarding the procedure for appealing a condemnation of property. The service of process provision in 32.05(9)(a) provided that notice be given "to the clerk of the court and to all other persons ... who were parties to the award." The court recognized that because the property had been condemned by the Department of Transportation, "service on the DOT would seem intuitively correct." Peterson, 226 Wis. 2d at 632. However, the term "person" in 32.05(9) was defined in 32.01 as "the state" and not as any particular department of the state. Rather than serving the DOT, the landowners served the attorney general, as the designated service agent for the State of Wisconsin. See Peterson, 226 Wis. 2d at 632.