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  • Wisconsin Lawyer
    July
    01
    2013

    Lawyer Discipline

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    These summaries are provided by the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR), an agency of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The OLR assists the court in supervising the practice of law and protecting the public from misconduct by lawyers. The OLR has offices at 110 E. Main St., Suite 315, Madison, WI 53703; toll-free (877) 315-6941. The full text of items summarized is at www.wicourts.gov/olr.

    Disciplinary Proceeding Against Alan D. Eisenberg

    On May 2, 2013, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of Alan D. Eisenberg for two years. The suspension takes effect April 1, 2015, the date on which Eisenberg otherwise would be eligible to seek reinstatement from the prior revocation of his license. In addition, the court ordered Eisenberg to pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Eisenberg, 2013 WI 37.

    The suspension is based on Eisenberg’s misconduct in two matters. In the first matter, Eisenberg represented a man in a civil action against the man’s ex-wife’s mother, who had consented to having a dog euthanized. Eisenberg violated SCR 20:3.1(a)(2) by asserting the client was the dog’s owner when in fact the client had relinquished any claim to ownership of the dog in a marital settlement agreement and divorce judgment. Eisenberg violated SCR 20:3.4(a) and (d) when he encouraged the client to make objections to legally proper questions in a deposition, disrupted the deposition with deceitful and inflammatory representations about the examining attorney, and opposed a motion to compel discovery in bad faith. Finally, Eisenberg failed for several years to comply with a court’s sanction order and judgment, in violation of SCR 20:3.4(c).

    The second matter involved Eisenberg’s financial arrangement with a nonlawyer in the representation of a claimant in a worker’s compensation proceeding. Eisenberg agreed to serve as a conduit to share, with the nonlawyer, fees Eisenberg did not earn and agreed to split fees on a 50/50 basis with the nonlawyer, in violation of SCR 20:5.4(a), which is enforced via SCR 20:8.4(a). Eisenberg also falsely stated to the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) that he never entered into a fee-splitting agreement with the individual and that a letter asserting that he had done so had never been sent to an administrative law judge, in violation of SCR 22.03(6), enforced via SCR 20:8.4(h).

    This is the sixth disciplinary proceeding involving Eisenberg. Eisenberg’s law license was suspended for one year in 1970. In 1988, he was suspended for two years. In 1996, he was publicly reprimanded. In 2004, he received another one-year suspension. In 2010, his law license was revoked.

    Disciplinary Proceeding Against William F. Mross

    On May 17, 2013, the supreme court suspended the law license of William F. Mross, Racine, for 60 days, effective June 14, 2013, and ordered that Mross pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Mross, 2013 WI 44.

    Mross committed three counts of misconduct in two bankruptcy matters. In the first matter, Mross violated SCR 20:1.3 by failing to ensure his clients met the requirements for discharge, which resulted in the court’s decision to close the case without discharge; and by subsequently failing to seek a reopening of the bankruptcy for 18 months despite repeated requests from his clients that he do so.

    In the second case, Mross undertook representation of clients on referral from an independent paralegal who solicits individuals facing foreclosure. Mross did not meet with the clients at the outset of the representation, and he did not provide them with a written agreement explaining the basis or rate of his $1,200 fee. The failure to provide a written fee agreement violated SCR 20:1.5(b). Mross also violated SCR 20:1.3 by failing to submit all required documentation in support of the bankruptcy petition he filed on the clients’ behalf. When faced with the trustee’s motion to the bankruptcy court to examine Mross’s fee, Mross agreed to refund the entire $1,200 to the clients. Mross has also agreed to no longer take bankruptcy referrals from the independent paralegal.

    Mross has been disciplined four other times. He was suspended for 90 days in 2003, privately reprimanded in 2004, and publicly reprimanded in 2006 and 2010.

    Disciplinary Proceeding Against Barry LeSieur

    In a May 3, 2013 decision, the supreme court suspended the law license of Barry LeSieur, Lac du Flambeau, as a result of his noncompliance with conditions imposed in a prior disciplinary action, and ordered LeSieur to pay the cost of the compliance proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against LeSieur, 2013 WI 39.

    The court’s action followed the OLR’s filing of a sanctions motion alleging that LeSieur had violated conditions imposed in Disciplinary Proceedings Against LeSieur, 2010 WI 117, 329 Wis. 2d 349, 789 N.W.2d 572. In its May 2013 decision, the court suspended LeSieur’s license until such time as he demonstrates compliance with conditions established in the earlier case and attached additional conditions that will apply if LeSieur reinstates his license.

    Disciplinary Proceeding Against Anne E. Brown

    On May 17, 2013, the supreme court revoked the law license of Anne E. Brown, Eau Claire, and ordered Brown to pay restitution to parties harmed by her actions. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Brown, 2013 WI 45. Brown was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in 1984. Her license has been suspended since 2012 as a result of a two-year suspension issued in another disciplinary matter. Brown also received separate private reprimands in 2006 and 2007.

    Brown was the subject of six OLR investigations of her conduct, for which the Preliminary Review Committee had found cause to proceed on 26 counts of misconduct. The alleged misconduct included instances in which Brown sought and received advanced fees, did not follow the advanced-fee alternatives in SCR 20:1.15(b)(4m), did little or nothing for her clients and discontinued contact with them, failed to provide written fee agreements as required, failed to respond to requests for accountings of advanced fees, failed to refund unearned advanced fees, failed to timely file documents in a divorce case, and failed to timely respond to the OLR’s investigative inquiries.

    Brown filed a petition for the consensual revocation of her license indicating that she could not defend against the allegations in the pending OLR investigations, and the court granted her petition. The court also ordered that Brown pay restitution of $15,392.96 within 60 days, either directly to the clients harmed or as reimbursement to the Wisconsin Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, as appropriate.

    Disciplinary Proceeding Against David A. Goluba

    On April 17, 2013, the supreme court suspended the law license of David A. Goluba, Ripon, for six months, and ordered Goluba to pay restitution to parties harmed by his actions and to pay one-half the cost of the disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Goluba, 2013 WI 32. Goluba was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in 1984. His license has been temporarily suspended since August 2008 as a result of his willful failure to cooperate with the OLR’s investigations concerning his conduct.

    The court imposed discipline for misconduct in two separate client matters. In the first matter, a woman hired Goluba to assist with the probating of her husband’s estate, including transferring titles to certain vehicles, which she claimed Goluba failed to do. Goluba violated 1) SCR 20:1.3, by failing to follow up on the missing titles; 2) SCR 20:1.4(a)(4), by failing to return telephone calls to the client; and 3) SCR 22.03(2), enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(h), by failing to cooperate in the OLR’s investigation regarding the matter.

    In the second matter, Goluba’s mother-in-law hired Goluba to probate an estate. Goluba is married to Janice Goluba, who was also Goluba’s legal secretary. Goluba deposited estate funds intended for 13 beneficiaries into his trust account. All the beneficiaries were paid, except one organization that was supposed to receive $30,000. Without Goluba’s knowledge, between May 2004 and October 2004, Janice Goluba issued checks made payable to Goluba in varying amounts until the entire $30,000 was gone. The money was used to pay the Golubas’ household expenses.

    Once Goluba learned of this, he told the client, who provided funds to pay the organization that had not received the funds to which it was entitled. Goluba violated SCR 20:1.15(b)(1) by failing to hold in trust the $30,000 to which the organization was entitled and SCR 22.03(2) and (6), enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(h), by failing to cooperate in the investigation.

    The court also ordered that, within 60 days after its order, Goluba pay restitution of $145 to the client in the first matter for fees incurred when Goluba failed to complete the transfer of the client’s vehicle titles; $30,000 to the Wisconsin Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection for monies paid in connection with the second matter; and $2,655 in legal fees incurred by the organization to recover its bequest. The court also ordered Goluba to successfully complete a trust-account-management seminar within one year and furnish to the OLR quarterly reports of activities in his trust account for two years after he resumes practice.

    Goluba had no prior discipline.

    Disciplinary Proceeding Against Maria J. Schreier

    On April 30, 2013, the supreme court suspended the law license of Maria J. Schreier, formerly of Montello, for 30 months, and ordered her to pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Schreier, 2013 WI 35.

    Schreier had 14 criminal convictions between 2008 and 2011 and failed to report them to the OLR and the supreme court clerk. These convictions included four counts of operating while under the influence (two misdemeanors and two felonies); three counts of misdemeanor resisting or obstructing an officer; two counts of misdemeanor hit and run; one count of misdemeanor cocaine possession; one count of misdemeanor operating while revoked; one count of misdemeanor bail jumping; one count of felony second-degree recklessly endangering safety; and one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct. In addition, Schreier received a municipal citation for retail theft. Finally, Schreier failed to cooperate with the OLR’s inquiries into three matters: trust account overdrafts totaling $66.37; a client grievance; and police reports that referred to drug paraphernalia and cocaine in her former residence.

    The court found that Schreier had committed 20 counts of misconduct to which the OLR and Schreier had stipulated: three counts of engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(c); seven counts of committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(b); one count of both engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation and committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(b) and (c); six counts of failing to timely notify the OLR of convictions in violation of SCR 21.15(5), enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(f); and three counts of failing to cooperate with an OLR investigation, in violation of SCR 22.03(2) and (6), enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(h).

    Schreier is on probation for her past criminal activity and has completed all periods of incarceration, paid all fines and court costs, paid all restitution she owed to the victims of her criminal vehicular operation, and maintained absolute sobriety from alcohol and drugs for more than three years.

    The court imposed the following requirements as a condition to future reinstatement of Schreier’s law license: compliance with all treatment recommendations of any substance-abuse treatment provider; abstinence from alcohol and other mood-altering substances; abstinence from over-the-counter medications that contain alcohol or mood-altering substances; and regular participation in a community-based support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous, including providing documentation of attendance.

    Schreier had no prior discipline.

    Disciplinary Proceeding Against Stephen M. Compton

    On May 17, 2013, the supreme court reinstated the law license of Stephen M. Compton and ordered him to pay the cost of the reinstatement proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Compton, 2013 WI 42. Compton, who was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in 1992, had been suspended by the court for two years, effective March 16, 2010. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Compton, 2010 WI 112, 329 Wis. 2d 318, 787 N.W.2d 831.

    The suspension arose from a criminal matter. On Oct. 7, 2009, Compton pleaded guilty to possession of narcotic drugs (heroin), a class I felony, and felony bail jumping, a class H felony. Two additional misdemeanor criminal charges for possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia were dismissed but read in. Compton was convicted, and the circuit court imposed and stayed a prison sentence and placed him on probation.

    While his license was suspended, Compton did not practice law and worked primarily as a landscaper. He maintained competence and learning in the law by attending various educational activities, and he underwent both inpatient and outpatient drug-addiction treatment. In October 2009, Compton volunteered for one year of monitoring by the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program (WisLAP). He subsequently successfully completed additional WisLAP monitoring, has remained free of drugs and alcohol, and continues monitoring.

    In the reinstatement proceeding, the court found that Compton showed by clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence that he had met all the standards for reinstatement, as set forth under SCR 22.31(1) and SCR 22.29(4). The court granted Compton’s petition for reinstatement, with the condition that he continue WisLAP monitoring for two years from the date of the order.

    Petition for Reinstatement of Nancy A. Schlieve

    At 10 a.m. on Aug. 28, 2013, a public hearing will be held before referee James G. Curtis at the Eau Claire County Courthouse, Room 2560, 721 Oxford Ave., Eau Claire, on the petition of Nancy A. Schlieve, Eau Claire, to reinstate her law license. Any interested person may appear at the hearing and be heard in support of, or in opposition to, the petition for reinstatement.

    On Oct. 15, 1998, the supreme court indefinitely suspended Schlieve’s license because of her medical incapacity of alcoholism. In 2010, the court denied a reinstatement petition filed by Schlieve in 2006. In 2012, Schlieve filed another reinstatement petition, which is the subject of the public hearing.

    To be reinstated, Schlieve has the burden of substantiating by clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence that the medical incapacity has been removed and that she is fit to resume the practice of law, with or without conditions.

    Relevant information may be provided to or obtained from the OLR’s counsel, Wayne A. Arnold, 816 Colan Blvd., Rice Lake, WI 54868, (715) 790-7499.

    Disciplinary Proceeding Against Walter W. Stern III

    On May 21, 2013, the supreme court suspended the law license of Walter W. Stern III, Kenosha, for two years, for misconduct resulting in Stern’s federal criminal conviction for conspiring to commit money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). Stern’s conduct violated SCR 20:8.4(b) and (c). The OLR did not seek costs and none were imposed by the court. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Stern, 2013 WI 46.

    The underlying criminal conduct involved Stern knowingly conspiring with another individual to conceal $95,000 the other individual received as a result of a marital settlement agreement in a divorce.

    Stern’s prior discipline consists of a 1988 private reprimand, a 1992 public reprimand, a 1993 private reprimand, and a 2008 private reprimand.