Tempelis v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co
In Tempelis v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 169 Wis. 2d 1, 485 N.W.2d 217, 219 (Wisc. 1992), the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that an appeals court can sua sponte correct a legal error made by the trial court regardless of whether the issue was raised by the parties.
In discussing an earlier case that approved of this practice, the court stated "that while the court of appeals had no obligation to look beyond the issues presented by the party, it was within the court's discretion to do so." Id. at 219-20.
The court held that the appeals court was well within its authority to find that the contested contract was illegal on its face and thus unenforceable. Id. at 220.
The court concluded by stating that the appellate court properly "exercised its discretion and corrected what it viewed as a gross, unjust error of law." Id.