McNally Peterson, S.C. | Robert Pledl
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Our Team
Robert  (Rock) Theine Pledl


Disability/Fair Housing Issues
Litigation, Trial and Appellate


University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee – B.S. in Social Work, 1976

John Marshall Law School – J.D., 1980


  • State of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Eastern and Western District Courts in Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit


  • Certified Social Worker-Wisconsin
Robert (Rock) Theine Pledl
Senior Associate
Tel: 414.257.3399
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​Rock is a Senior Attorney with the law firm and has been involved in private practice representing people with disabilities since 1980. He litigates and handles matters in administrative venues, as well as Federal and state courts and appeals, both in Wisconsin and nationally.

Rock’s disability, civil rights, mental health and criminal law practice focuses on representing disabled children and adults in education matters, publicly funded services, matters of abuse and neglect in licensed facilities and municipal zoning disputes where reasonable accommodations for disabled persons is sought. He has represented disabled minors in educational disciplinary hearings and is particularly interested in the transition process leading from the children’s system and special education into adult disability services, like vocational settings and determining eligibility for Federal or state benefits. He provides special needs planning for disabled persons and their families, such as special needs trusts, wills and estate plans, guardianships and protective placements and powers of attorney, and has experience in criminal matters involving charges against disabled persons and the unique divorce law issues that arise when one of the parties or a minor child is disabled.

Rock and the Firm are “A-V/Pre-eminent” (5.0 out of 5) rated in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory Peer Rating System.


  • Amundson v. Wisconsin DHS (7th Cir. 2013)—Disability Discrimination—disparate treatment of groups of individuals under Wisconsin’s Family Care program
  • Crabtree Residential Living, Inc. v. City of Kenosha (E.D. Wis. 2011)—Civil Rights/Zoning – FHA, ADA and §504 challenge to application of group home and City’s enforcement of distance and density rules
  • Disability Rights Wisconsin v. Walworth County (7th Cir. 2007)—Disability Discrimination—as amicus for National Disability Rights Network—County’s operation of segregated special education school
  • Nelson v. Milwaukee County and Wisconsin DHFS (E.D. Wis. 2007)—Disability Discrimination—co-lead class counsel with National Health Law Program—ADA and §504 challenge to Wisconsin’s Family Care program
  • Alexander v. Radunz (Dane County, Wisconsin Circuit Court, 2007)—Personal Injury—claim for use of excessive force by Mendota Mental Health Institute staff under Wisconsin’s patient’s rights statute
  • Wisconsin Community Services v. City of Milwaukee (7th Cir. 2006)—Civil Rights/Zoning—ADA and §504 challenge after City’s reasonable accommodation denial for location of new mental health clinic
  • Options for Community Growth v. City of Milwaukee (E.D. Wis. 2006)—Civil Rights/Zoning—FHA, ADA and §504 challenge to City zoning ordinance and State distance rule for group homes resulting in modification of City’s zoning ordinance
  • Schwartz v. Jefferson County (Jefferson County, Wisconsin Circuit Court, 2006)—Disability Discrimination—ADA challenge to County’s use of segregated sheltered employment services for people with significant disabilities
  • Doe v. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (E.D. Wis. 2004)
  • A.B.K. v. Madison Metropolitan School District (W.D. Wis. 2004)—Civil Rights—ADA and §504 challenge to Wisconsin’s open enrollment law and application to students with disabilities
  • In the Matter of Judy K. (S.Ct. 2002)—Civil Rights—as amicus for Wisconsin Coalition of Independent Living Centers—county funding obligations for community-based long-term disability services
  • Oconomowoc Residential Programs v. City of Greenfield, et al., 23 F.Supp.2d 941 (E.D. Wis. 1998); and Oconomowoc Residential Programs v. City of Milwaukee, 300 F.3d 775 (7th Cir. 2002)—Civil Rights/Zoning—represented provider of group home for persons with developmental disabilities challenging City’s enforcement of Wisconsin statute and distance rule; first case in the United States to award damages for emotional distress to individuals with disabilities in a zoning dispute
  • In the Matter of Dennis H. (S.Ct. 2002)—Civil Rights—as amicus for ACLU Wisconsin—constitutional challenge to “non-dangerousness” standard added to Wisconsin’s mental commitment statute
  • Burg v. Milwaukee County (E.D. Wis. 2000)—Civil Rights—ADA challenge to substandard service in County’s para-transit system


  • Pledl & Cohn, S.C., Partner/Shareholder (2004-2016)
  • Schott, Bublitz & Engel, S.C., Attorney (2000-2004)
  • Wisconsin Coalition for Advocacy, Supervising Attorney (1994-2000)
  • Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, Chief Staff Attorney (1992-1994)
  • Courtney, Pledl & Molter, S.C., Partner (1985-1992)
  • Wisconsin Public Defender’s Office-Milwaukee Mental Health Division, Staff Attorney (1981-1984)
  • Carr, Kulkoski & Carr, S.C., Associate Attorney (1980-1981)


  • LOTUS Legal Clinic, pro bono attorney representing human trafficking victims (2013-present)
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association, Pro Bono Committee (2006-present), Chair
  • Association of Professionals Supporting Employment First
  • Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Mount Mary College, Social Work Program, agency (WCA)-based field instructor for undergraduate social work students (1996-1999)
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects (1996-1998)
  • Milwaukee County, Mental Health Division, member/team leader Continuous Quality Improvement Team charged with examining operation of mental health commitment process and developing new procedures (1993-1996)
  • Counseling Center of Milwaukee, Board of Directors (1989-1995)
  • Carroll University, Advisory Board-Social Work Program (1985-1993)
  • Wisconsin Coalition on Sexual Misconduct by Professionals (1986-1992)
  • United Way of Greater Milwaukee, Health and Mental Health Allocations and Monitoring Panel (1986-1989)
  • State of Wisconsin Legislative Council, Special Committee on Mental Health Issues (1986-1987)


  • Kane, Pledl & Ackerman, Attorney Sexual Misconduct, American Journal of Family Law, Vol. 6, pp.191-195 (1992)


  • Presenter at over 100 continuing education seminars and lectures to attorneys and treatment professionals regarding professional ethics, sexual misconduct, special education laws, elder law, funding of the disability system and the transition from children’s funding systems to adult services
  • National Association of Social Workers, Wisconsin Chapter (2016)—presentation at annual conference
  • ACCSES Winter Summit, New Orleans, Louisiana (2016)—attorney panel presented strategies that disability advocates can utilize to address funding shortages in state Medicaid long-term care programs that are transitioning to managed care models
  • APSE National Conferences (2005, 2006, 2009)—presentation and analyses of Schwartz v. Jefferson County litigating the right of persons with significant disabilities to choose community employment instead of segregated day or work services
  • National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems, Advocacy Training Center, Disability Trial Skills Institute, Trainer (1995)


  • Seventh Circuit Bar Association, Pro Bono Award (2015)
  • Eastern District (Wisconsin) Bar Association, John W. Reynolds Community Building Award (2008)
  • Repairers of the Breach-Milwaukee, Hope-Giver Award (2004)
  • Wisconsin Correctional Service-Milwaukee, Friend of the Friendless Award (2002)
  • Transitional Living Services-Milwaukee, Robert Bradford Smith Award for Advocacy on behalf of people with mental illness (2001)
  • Brain Injury Association of Wisconsin, Legislation/Public Policy Achievement Award (2001)
  • Legal Action of Wisconsin, Legal Services Staff Advocate Award (1994)
  • Counseling Center of Milwaukee, Kate Mooney Volunteer Service Award (1991)
  • Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Greater Milwaukee, Certificate of Recognition (1990)
  • Governor’s Committee for People with Disabilities, Michael J. Falconer Distinguished Service Award (1987)