John Franke became a member of Gass Weber Mullins LLC in 2009, after 21 years as a circuit judge for Milwaukee County. On June 13, 2022, he began a six-month term as a reserve judge for Milwaukee County as part of a coordinated effort to reduce the significant case backlog that has developed over the course of the pandemic. Mr. Franke has made a full-time commitment to this project and will not be taking on new work at Gass Turek until the end of this year.
In January of 2023, Mr. Franke will resume a practice with Gass Turek that includes trial and appellate work in a wide variety of civil litigation. His practice includes products liability and personal injury litigation in venues around the country and contract disputes, class actions and other commercial disputes in Wisconsin. He has twice argued cases in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, including as amicus counsel for several law professors on important issues of long-arm jurisdiction addressed by the court in Ambac Assurance Corporation v. Countrywide Home Loans. He has also served as a mediator in a broad range of civil litigation.
As an attorney and judge, Mr. Franke has handled an extensive array of civil and criminal cases, from the trial of NBA star Charles Barkley for assault to the City of Milwaukee’s lead abatement
claims in City of Milwaukee v. NL Industries et al. This has included many complex products liability claims, class actions, medical malpractice cases and contract disputes. During his judicial career, he presided over more than 650 jury trials, including 35 criminal homicide cases.
In 2012, Mr. Franke was asked to serve, pro bono, as a Special Prosecutor responsible for the inquest into the death of Derrick Williams in police custody. From 2014 through 2016, he served on the Government Accountability Board, the state agency charged with the administration and enforcement of Wisconsin’s elections, campaign finance and ethics laws.