Vol. 77, No. 8, August
The Office of Lawyer
(formerly known as the Board of Attorneys Professional
Responsibility), an agency of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and component
of the lawyer regulation system, assists the court in carrying out its
constitutional responsibility to supervise the practice of law and
protect the public from misconduct by persons practicing law in
Wisconsin. The Office of Lawyer Regulation has offices located at Suite
315, 110 E. Main St., Madison, WI 53703, and Suite 300, 342 N. Water
St., Milwaukee, WI 53202. Toll-free telephone: (877) 315-6941.
Hearing to Reinstate
Donald J. Harman
On Sept. 28, 2004, at 10 a.m., a public hearing will be held before
Referee Russell Hanson at the La Crosse County Courthouse, 333 Vine
Street, La Crosse, Wis., on the petition of Donald J. Harman, La Crosse,
to reinstate his Wisconsin law license. Any interested person may appear
at the hearing and be heard in support of, or in opposition to, the
petition for reinstatement.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended Harman's license for six
months, effective Aug. 1, 2001, based on Harman's commission of multiple
acts of professional misconduct consisting of: 1) endorsing a settlement
check without authorization to do so; 2) failing to provide prompt
written notice that he was holding funds to which another was entitled,
and failing to deliver those funds; 3) holding funds in trust in which
he had a partial interest and thereafter making trust disbursements
prior to an agreed severance of interest in the funds; 4) undertaking a
case despite having a conflict of interest; 5) intentionally and without
authorization revealing sensitive information relating to his
representation of a client; 6) arranging for a meeting in violation of a
no-contact order; 7) using information related to his representation of
a former client to her disadvantage during his representation of a
different client; and 8) using information related to his representation
of a former client to her disadvantage by sending her medical records to
various persons in an effort to undermine his former client's
credibility. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Harman, 2001 WI
71, 244 Wis. 2d 438, 628 N.W.2d 362. The six-month suspension was
Harman's fourth instance of receiving professional discipline.
As to reinstatement, Harman is required to demonstrate by clear,
satisfactory, and convincing evidence that, among other things, his
conduct since the suspension has been exemplary and above reproach; he
has a proper understanding of and attitude toward the standards that are
imposed upon members of the bar and will act in conformity with the
standards; he can safely be recommended to the legal profession, the
courts, and the public as a person fit to be consulted by others and to
represent them and otherwise act in matters of trust and confidence and
in general to aid in the administration of justice as a member of the
bar and as an officer of the courts; he has fully described all of his
business activities during the suspension; he has the moral character to
practice law in Wisconsin; and he has fully complied with the terms of
the suspension order and with the requirements of SCR 22.26.
An earlier reinstatement petition filed by Harman was denied by the
Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2003, based on the court's determination that
Harman failed to prove that his resumption of the practice of law will
not be detrimental to the administration of justice or subversive of the
public interest. Disciplinary Proceedings against Harman, 2003
WI 45, 261 Wis. 2d 322, 661 N.W.2d 403.
Further information may be obtained from either Office of Lawyer
Regulation (OLR) Investigator Kay Sievers, 110 E. Main St., Suite 315,
Madison, WI 53703-3383, (877) 315-6941 (toll free); or from OLR Retained
Counsel Robert G. Krohn, 24 N. Henry St., P.O. Box 151, Edgerton, WI
53534-0151, (608) 884-3391.
Disciplinary Proceeding against Eric A.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court accepted Eric A. Stearn's petition for
voluntary revocation of his law license and revoked his law license
effective June 8, 2004. Stearn's license was summarily suspended on Nov.
7, 2003, based on his criminal convictions of homicide by intoxicated
use of a vehicle and causing great bodily harm by intoxicated use of a
vehicle. In his petition, Stearn acknowledged that he could not
successfully defend against the misconduct allegations, which included
the OLR's assertion that Stearn's criminal convictions constituted
conduct that reflects adversely on Stearn's honesty, trustworthiness, or
fitness as a lawyer in other respects, contrary to SCR 20:8.4(b).
Disciplinary Proceedings against Stearn, No. 04-1183-D.
Public Reprimand of Scott F. Anderson
On June 5, 2004, a referee appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court
to review an SCR 22.09 agreement for imposition of a public reprimand
approved the agreement and publicly reprimanded Scott F. Anderson, 50,
The reprimand was based on Anderson's misconduct in three matters. In
the first matter, Anderson agreed to represent a couple in pursuing a
personal injury action, made initial efforts in the matter, and assured
his clients that he would file suit. However, once the couple moved out
of state, Anderson did not pursue the claim further and did not respond
to their telephone calls seeking information. Anderson's failure to
communicate with his clients violated SCR 20:1.4(a). Anderson decided
that there was an insufficient basis to pursue the claim, but failed to
inform his clients of his opinion. The clients did not learn that
Anderson would not be filing suit until after the statute of limitation
had run. Anderson's conduct constituted neglect in violation of SCR
20:1.3. Further, Anderson's failure to advise his clients of his legal
opinion that their case lacked merit so that they had the opportunity to
seek other counsel or pursue the matter pro se violated SCR 20:1.4(b) in
that Anderson failed to explain the matter to the extent necessary to
permit his clients to make an informed decision regarding the
In the second matter, Anderson represented a client in a personal
injury action. The suit was filed in Georgia, where the incident
occurred and Anderson was admitted pro hac vice. After Anderson failed
to timely respond to discovery requests, the court ordered him to retain
local counsel. Anderson did not comply with the court's order. Based on
Anderson's failure to comply with its order to associate with local
counsel, the court removed Anderson and dismissed the claim against one
of the defendants. Anderson's conduct constituted neglect, in violation
of SCR 20:1.3, and failure to obey an obligation under the rules of a
tribunal, in violation of SCR 20:3.4(c).
In the third matter, the State Public Defender (SPD) appointed
Anderson for a probation revocation appeal. Anderson filed a writ of
certiorari in circuit court. Anderson requested an extension of time to
file a brief pursuant to a briefing schedule established by the court,
but then failed to meet the deadline. Anderson failed to respond to the
state's motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution, resulting in the
court's grant of the motion and dismissal of the writ. Anderson's
failure to file the brief and failure to respond to the state's motion
constituted a lack of diligence, in violation of SCR 20:1.3. Anderson
did not inform his client of the dismissal or respond to the client's
requests for information regarding the status of the writ. When the
client learned that the writ had been dismissed, he requested that
Anderson return the revocation hearing transcript to him. Anderson did
not respond to the client, but turned his file over to the SPD.
Anderson's failure to communicate with his client and respond to his
requests for information violated SCR 20:1.4(a).
Anderson received a private reprimand in August 1999 for similar
misconduct. The reprimand resulted from Anderson's neglect of a client's
false imprisonment claim. Anderson failed to file suit in the matter and
did not inform his client that no lawsuit had been filed.
Disciplinary Proceeding against Albert J.
On June 29, 2004, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law
license of Albert J. Armonda, 67, Burlington, for six months, commencing
Aug. 3, 2004. Disciplinary Proceedings against Armonda, 2004 WI
The suspension is based on Armonda's misconduct in four matters. In
the first matter, Armonda appeared in at least four matters while his
license was suspended for failure to pay 2002 State Bar dues and supreme
court assessments, in violation of SCR 10.03(6) and 20:8.4(f). He also
failed to cooperate with the investigation of the matter, in violation
of SCR 20:8.4(f) and 22.03(6). In the second matter, Armonda charged an
unreasonable fee in a bankruptcy proceeding, in violation of SCR
20:1.5(a), and failed to fully disclose the fees he had received in
connection with the bankruptcy, thereby knowingly disobeying an
obligation under the rules of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, in violation of
SCR 20:8.4(f). Armonda also failed to cooperate with the OLR
investigation of the matter, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(f) and 22.03(6).
With regard to the third matter, Armonda was unaware of a statute
requiring that all children born to a woman during a marriage be
disclosed in a petition for divorce and failed to accurately disclose
the number of children born to his client, in violation of SCR 20:1.1.
In the final matter, Armonda failed to respond to the OLR's request for
a written response pertaining to alleged misconduct within 20 days, in
violation of SCR 20:8.4(f) and 22.03(2).
Armonda previously incurred a 60-day disciplinary suspension.
Disciplinary Proceedings against Armonda, 2003 WI 136.
Disciplinary Proceeding against Mary Kathleen
On June 9, 2004, the supreme court suspended the law license of Mary
Kathleen Arthur, 52, Lake Geneva, for 90 days, effective July 14, 2004,
based on Arthur's misconduct in two separate matters.
In the first matter, Arthur represented a parts supplier in a lawsuit
against a manufacturer and certain other parties. There had been
previous related litigation, and the trial court dismissed the action
filed by Arthur, finding it barred by res judicata and collateral
estoppel, adding that the pleading stated no claims on which relief
could be granted. Arthur appealed on behalf of her clients, and the
court of appeals reversed in part, and remanded for further
consideration of some of the claims. On remand, the defendants moved for
In opposition to the motion for summary judgment Arthur submitted an
affidavit executed by her husband, attorney Ronald Arthur, which the
court of appeals later found to contain "unsupported inferences" and
"pure speculation." The trial court granted the defendants' motion for
summary judgment and also found Arthur's claims "objectively frivolous."
The trial court assessed costs against Arthur in the amount of
$24,380.59. Arthur appealed again and the court of appeals affirmed,
agreeing that the record supported the trial court's finding that the
lawsuit was frivolous, and that it was continued in bad faith for
purposes of harassment.
In the disciplinary proceeding, the supreme court found that by
filing a lawsuit alleging conspiracy and misconduct in plaintiff's and
opposing counsel's prosecution of a prior civil action, when her filing
or continuation of the suit was based on an affidavit that contained
speculation and unreasonable inferences, Mary Kathleen Arthur filed a
lawsuit, asserted a position, conducted a defense, delayed trial, or
took other action on behalf of a client, when she knew or it was obvious
that such an action would serve merely to harass or maliciously injure
another, in violation of SCR 20:3.1(a)(3).
In a separate, unrelated matter, Arthur's husband, Ronald Arthur, had
a judgment, including $75,000 in punitive damages, entered against him
in a civil lawsuit. Ronald Arthur then submitted this judgment as a
claim to his insurance company. The insurance company filed an action
against Ronald Arthur and the opposing party seeking a declaratory
judgment that it was not liable. Representing her husband, Arthur filed
a cross-claim against the opposing party, impleaded opposing counsel as
third-party defendants, and, despite the circuit court's previous
findings to the contrary, alleged that the opposing party and her
attorneys had engaged in conspiracy and extortion. The circuit court
decision was later affirmed and Arthur's cross-claim was dismissed.
In the disciplinary proceeding, the supreme court found that, by
filing a cross-claim and a third-party complaint against the opposing
party and her attorneys that alleged their purported fraud and
conspiracy, despite previous trial court findings to the contrary,
Arthur filed a lawsuit, asserted a position, conducted a defense,
delayed trial, or took other action on behalf of a client when she knew
or it was obvious that such action would serve merely to harass or
maliciously injure another, in violation of SCR 20:3.1(a)(3).
Disciplinary Proceedings against Arthur, 2004 WI 66.
Revocation of Joseph F. Paulus
On June 8, 2004, the supreme court granted the petition for
consensual license revocation filed by Joseph F. Paulus pursuant to SCR
22.19. In the petition, Paulus submitted that under SCR 22.19(2) he
could not successfully defend himself against the misconduct allegations
of an OLR investigation, which were based upon his guilty plea to a
federal count of accepting bribes totaling approximately $48,050 while
holding the office of Winnebago County District Attorney in exchange for
benefits to defendants, including the dismissal or reduction of charges,
return of seized property, and a request that another district attorney
give lenient treatment to a defendant, as well as an additional federal
count of filing a 1999 Form 1040 income tax return on which Paulus
knowingly underreported his income for that year. Paulus's conduct in
accepting bribes in public office, making misrepresentations to the
court, and filing a knowingly false income tax return were in violation
of SCR 20:1.7(b), conflict of interest; SCR 20:3.3, making a false
statement of fact or law to a tribunal; SCR 20:8.4(b), committing a
criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty,
trustworthiness, and fitness as a lawyer; and SCR 20:8.4(c), engaging in
conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
Disciplinary Proceedings against Paulus, No. 04-1421-D.
Disciplinary Proceeding against Russell
On June 30, 2004, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law
license of Russell Goldstein, 77, Milwaukee, for four months, commencing
Aug. 4, 2004. In addition, the court ordered that Goldstein pay the
costs of the disciplinary proceeding in the amount of $11,551.29.
Disciplinary Proceedings against Goldstein, 2004 WI 87.
The suspension is based on Goldstein's misconduct in six matters. In
the first matter, Goldstein failed to promptly notify his client of the
client's ex-wife's appeal of their final divorce judgment and failed to
take any action to respond to the appeal, in violation of SCR 20:1.3.
Goldstein also failed to notify his client of various court of appeals
orders relating to the appeal and subsequent summary reversal, in
violation of SCR 20:1.4(a). Finally, Goldstein failed to notify his
client of the specifics of his ex-wife's appeal, in violation of SCR
With regard to the second matter, a personal injury case, Goldstein
failed to respond to interrogatories, otherwise prosecute the claim, or
attempt to resolve the matter without prejudice to his client, in
violation of SCR 20:1.3. He also failed to inform his client, who had
been involved in two accidents, that he would not be filing a lawsuit
with regard to one of the accidents and that the second claim had been
dismissed with prejudice with costs and attorney fees awarded, in
violation of SCR 20:1.4(a). Finally, Goldstein failed to inform the
client that he did not believe either case had merit and failed to
advise her as to her options with regard to the motion to dismiss, in
violation of SCR 20:1.4(b).
In the third matter, Goldstein failed to file a notice of intent to
pursue postconviction relief on behalf of a client, in violation of SCR
20:1.3. With regard to the fourth matter, Goldstein failed to
meaningfully communicate with his client prior to a revocation hearing,
in violation of SCR 20:1.4(a), and failed to clearly articulate or
reduce to writing the fee agreement, in violation of SCR 20:1.5(b). In
the fifth matter, Goldstein failed to inform a client that he had not
arranged for another private attorney to attend a hearing on his behalf,
instead arranging for a public defender to do so, and failed to inform
his client of the consequences of a partial payment of a retainer, in
violation of SCR 20:1.4(b). With regard to the final matter, Goldstein
failed to clearly articulate or reduce to writing the fee agreement, in
violation of SCR 20:1.5(b).
Goldstein had previously been privately reprimanded for violations of
SCR 20:1.3 and SCR 20:1.4(a).
Disciplinary Proceeding against Craig V.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of Craig V.
Kitchen, Eau Claire, for 60 days, effective Aug. 3, 2004, as discipline
for misconduct consisting of his failure to keep his clients, a husband
and wife, reasonably informed about the status of their bankruptcy
matter and promptly comply with the clients' reasonable requests for
information (SCR 20:1.4(a)); charging his clients an unreasonable fee
(SCR 20:1.5(a)); failure to maintain complete trust account records for
at least six years (SCR 20:1.15(e)); failure to submit full trust
account records to the OLR for its inspection, audit, use, and evidence
(SCR 20:1.15(f)); and his willful failure during the course of an
investigation to provide relevant information, answer questions fully,
or to furnish documents (SCR 22.03(6)).
In addition to ordering that Kitchen pay the costs of the proceeding
in the amount of $8,060.34, the supreme court ordered that, as a
condition of reinstatement, Kitchen shall furnish to the OLR certain
trust account records, including monthly bank statements, cancelled
checks, deposit slips, and any journals or ledgers. In the absence of
any of the records, Kitchen must furnish to the OLR a sworn statement,
or sworn testimony, detailing what records were maintained, what efforts
were made to locate them, and why he cannot produce them.
Disciplinary Proceedings against Kitchen, 2004 WI 83.
Disciplinary Proceeding against Duane C.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the Wisconsin law license of
Duane C. Mikkelsen, of Oregon state, for one year, effective Jan. 17,
2004, as discipline reciprocal to a one-year suspension imposed upon
Mikkelsen by the Oregon Supreme Court, also effective Jan. 17, 2004.
Justice Bradley concurred with the quantum of discipline, but would have
suspended Mikkelsen's Wisconsin law license as of the date of the
Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision, June 8, 2004. Disciplinary
Proceedings against Mikkelsen, 2004 WI 72.
The one-year Oregon suspension resulted from Mikkelsen's misconduct
involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; neglect of a
legal matter; and failure to promptly return client materials in one
matter; and engaging in conduct including dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or
misrepresentation; lawyer self-interest conflict; and neglect of a legal
matter in another matter.