Vol. 83, No. 6, June 2010
Disciplinary proceeding against Daynel L. Hooker
On Feb. 26, 2010, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the Wisconsin law license of Daynel Hooker, Aurora, Colo., for six months, effective retroactively to Feb. 8, 2009, as discipline reciprocal to discipline imposed in Colorado and ordered that she comply with the terms of probation set forth in the Feb. 11, 2009, Colorado order. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Hooker, 2010 WI 13.
The Colorado Supreme Court suspended Hooker’s law license for one year and one day, with six months and one day stayed, upon successful completion of a two-year probation. The suspension resulted from Hooker’s misconduct in Colorado: failing to keep client funds in her trust account, not timely returning client funds, and converting advanced fees and costs to her use or to the use of her firm. Hooker is not licensed to practice law in Colorado, but pursuant to the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct 8.5, a lawyer who is not admitted in Colorado is subject to the Colorado Supreme Court’s disciplinary authority if the lawyer provides or offers to provide any legal services in Colorado.
Top of Page
Disciplinary proceeding against Douglas Katerinos
On April 20, 2010, the supreme court publicly reprimanded Douglas Katerinos, Milwaukee, for professional misconduct and ordered Katerinos to pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Katerinos, 2010 WI 28.
Katerinos represented a married couple who refused to pay a dental bill. Katerinos sued the dentist and his collection agency in small claims court and alleged illegal collection activity. The small claims court dismissed the lawsuit and ordered the plaintiffs to pay the bill. The plaintiffs appealed to circuit court, which dismissed the complaint, found the lawsuit to be frivolous, and awarded costs in favor of the dentist and the collection agency.
Katerinos continued to litigate the case despite warnings from the circuit court and the court of appeals that his arguments were “silly” and that his actions were frivolous. Katerinos’s acts included moving for sanctions against opposing counsel for fraud, perjury, and other malfeasance. At one point, the circuit court informed Katerinos that it anticipated putting Katerinos in jail if he pursued discovery.
Katerinos filed three appeals and a petition for review in the case. The court of appeals found that two of the appeals were frivolous. In one appellate brief, Katerinos contended that the defendants had misused a purported relationship between the circuit court judge and one of the defense attorneys, a baseless statement that the supreme court found was a violation of SCR 20:8.2(a). Katerinos also argued that the circuit court lacked authority to impose costs and fees against him personally because he was not a named party, a statement that the supreme court found was in violation of SCR 20:1.7(b), because Katerinos presented a position that was adverse and detrimental to his clients’ interests while potentially favorable to Katerinos’s own interests.
In another appeal of the case, Katerinos made a baseless statement (that defendants’ counsel had threatened him with violence), which the supreme court found was in violation of SCR 20:3.3(a)(1). Throughout the litigation, costs were imposed against Katerinos or his clients. Katerinos eventually reached a settlement for the fees and costs and paid them in full.
In addition to the foregoing violations, the supreme court found that by over-litigating the small claims case to the clients’ financial detriment, Katerinos violated SCR 20:1.1, which requires an attorney to provide competent representation. By filing a motion for sanctions that generally repeated grounds Katerinos had already unsuccessfully raised in a motion to reopen that was denied, Katerinos violated SCR 20:3.1(a)(1) and (3).
Katerinos had not been previously disciplined.
Top of Page
Disciplinary proceedings against Jeffrey A. Kline
On April 28, 2010, the supreme court revoked the Wisconsin law license of Jeffrey A. Kline, Rockford, Ill., effective that date, as discipline reciprocal to a Sept. 16, 2008, order and judgment of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Illinois Supreme Court disbarring Kline. Kline also failed to timely notify the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) of his Illinois revocation, contrary to SCR 22.22(1). Disciplinary Proceedings Against Kline, 2010 WI 29.
The Illinois disbarment occurred after Kline was charged with driving under the influence and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving, a Class A misdemeanor; was convicted of aggravated driving under the influence, a Class 4 felony; and failed to notify the commission within 30 days after he was convicted. The commission also considered that Kline engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation, by failing to pay child support and by disseminating marital assets totaling $107,040 by transferring funds to a bank in Costa Rica. The commission concluded Kline engaged in conduct that tends to defeat the administration of justice and thereby violated the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.
Top of Page
Hearing to reinstate Virginia Rose Ray
On Tuesday, July 20, 2010, at 10 a.m., a public hearing will be held before referee Stanley Hack at the OLR, 110 E. Main St., Suite 315, Madison, on the petition of Virginia Rose Ray, Janesville, to reinstate her 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.
In Disciplinary Proceedings Against Ray, 2004 WI 45, 270 Wis. 2d 651, 678 N.W.2d 246, the supreme court suspended Ray’s law license for six months, based on her failure to refund an unearned fee she received from a client upon termination of representation and her failure to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation.
To be reinstated, Ray must substantiate by clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence that she has the moral character to practice law in Wisconsin, her resumption of the practice of law will not be detrimental to the administration of justice or subversive of the public interest, all her representations in her reinstatement petition are substantiated, and she has complied fully with the terms of the suspension and with SCR 22.26.
Relevant information may be provided to or obtained from OLR investigator Melody Rader-Johnson or assistant litigation counsel Sheryl St. Ores, 110 E. Main St., Suite 315, Madison, WI 53703-3383. The OLR’s toll-free telephone number is (877) 315-6941.
Top of Page
Disciplinary proceeding against Harvey Goldstein
On April 14, 2010, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of Harvey J. Goldstein, Milwaukee, for two years, effective May 24, 2010. The court also ordered Goldstein to pay $3,066 in restitution to two estates and required him to pay the full cost of the disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Goldstein, 2010 WI 26.
Goldstein’s suspension was based on 21 counts of misconduct relating to three estates and a process server’s grievance. During the OLR’s investigation of the process server’s allegation that Goldstein had failed to pay approximately $19,000 in service fees over several years, Goldstein misrepresented to the OLR that he was unable to pay the fees because a client had not paid him. The OLR later discovered that Goldstein had received and deposited more than $29,000 to his trust account from that client. The misrepresentation to the OLR violated SCR 22.03(6), enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(f).
During that investigation, the OLR also discovered that Goldstein had converted more than $69,000 from three separate estates and used those funds for personal and business expenses, including an Arizona real estate venture. While acting as special administrator in two of those estates, he converted at least $32,561.71 from one and at least $19,685.55 from the other, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(b) and (c), former SCR 20:1.15(a), and SCR 20:1.15(b)(1). While acting as personal representative in the third estate, Goldstein also converted at least $17,204.20, in violation of those same rules.
With respect to the first estate, Goldstein also failed to place $39,399.46 of fiduciary property in a separate account, as required by SCR 20:1.15(j)(1), and later made a cash withdrawal from that estate’s checking account, in violation of SCR
Goldstein deposited personal funds into his trust account, including at least $66,407.19 in earned fees and cost reimbursements, $5,700 in loans from his wife, and approximately $64,499.88 in funds from a personal business venture, thereby violating former SCR 20:1.15(a) and SCR 20:1.15(b)(3).
By failing to file an overdraft notification agreement with the OLR regarding the checking account of one of the estates and failing to identify that account on his State Bar dues statement and by falsely certifying that he had an overdraft agreement on file for his trust and fiduciary accounts, Goldstein violated SCR 20:1.15(j)(9) and (i)(4). By making 28 telephone transfers to and from his trust account and by allowing his personal creditors to make 30 electronic withdrawals from that account, totaling $21,871.19, he violated SCR 20:1.15(e)(4)b. and d., respectively. Goldstein also violated several recordkeeping rules, including failing to keep a transaction register, client ledgers, and reconciliation reports and failing to keep required records of deposits, in violation of former SCR 20:1.15(e) and SCR 20:1.15(e)(6) and (f)(1)d. Goldstein also failed to keep printed copies of his computerized records for at least six years, in violation of SCR 20:1.15(f)(4)b., and failed to produce trust account records pursuant to the OLR’s requests, in violation of SCR 20:1.15(e)(7).
Goldstein had no prior discipline.
Top of Page