Wisconsin Pharmaceutical Ass'n v. Lee

In Wisconsin Pharmaceutical Ass'n v. Lee, 264 Wis. 325, 58 N.W.2d 700 (1953), a pharmacists' association sued the State Board of Pharmacy and its individual members to obtain a declaratory judgment interpreting a regulatory statute. The association sought to establish that the statute prohibited a practice whereby allegedly "unqualified" employees of physicians were allowed to prepare and dispense drugs. See id. at 328. The trial court reviewed the four standards for a justiciable controversy and concluded that the facts before it did not present one. See id. at 329. The supreme court affirmed, essentially adopting the trial court's reasoning as its own. See id. at 332. The court in Wisconsin Pharmaceutical concluded that the association's claim against the pharmacy board was not "'against one who has an interest in contesting it,' nor was it a 'controversy between persons whose interests are adverse.'" Id. at 330. There, no regulatory enforcement action had been taken or threatened against the plaintiff association, the gravamen of both disputes being the failure of a regulatory board to prosecute those whom the plaintiffs believed had violated the law. The court noted that the pharmacy board "is charged with the statutory duty of investigation and institution of prosecution in the event board members feel that a violation has occurred. They are not required to institute prosecutions when, in their opinion, no violation has occurred." 264 Wis. at 329-330.