Porter v. StateAnnotate this Case
Wis. Stat. 157.067(2) and 445.12(6) (the anti-combination laws), which prohibit the joint ownership or operation of a cemetery and a funeral home, do not violate the equal protection or due process clauses of the Wisconsin and United States Constitutions.
The circuit court concluded that the anti-combination laws are constitutional because they are rationally related to a number of legitimate government interests. On appeal, the parties disagreed on the proper scope of rational basis review and whether the anti-combination laws have a rational basis. The court of appeals concluded that, regardless of the scope of rational basis review employed, the anti-combination laws were not unconstitutional. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, applying the standard set forth in Mayo v. Wisconsin Injured Patients & Families Compensation Fund, __ N.W.2d __ (Wis. 2018), the anti-combination statutes do not violate the equal protection or due process clauses of the state and federal Constitutions because they are rationally related to the legitimate government interests of protecting the welfare of vulnerable consumers and limiting the manipulation of funds required to be held in trust by funeral directors and cemetery operators.