Vol. 83, No. 7, July 2010
Disciplinary proceedings against David G. Merriam
On March 25, 2010, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of David G. Merriam, Madison, for 90 days, effective May 3, 2010, pursuant to a stipulation between Merriam and the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR). The court further imposed conditions on Merriam’s license. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Merriam, 2010 WI 21.
Merriam engaged in professional misconduct in three matters. In the first matter, Merriam represented a client in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. Largely with respect to the delayed preparation and filing of a reaffirmation agreement and a failure to timely provide the bankruptcy trustee with requested information, Merriam violated SCR 20:1.3, which requires an attorney to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.
In the second matter, Merriam represented another client in a bankruptcy. Merriam deposited the client’s $810 advance payment into his business account instead of his client trust account, contrary to former SCR 20:1.15(b)(4) (effective July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2007). In violation of both former (effective before July 1, 2007) and current SCR 20:1.4, Merriam failed to keep the client adequately informed of the status of the bankruptcy petition, including the need to complete credit counseling requirements. Merriam violated SCR 20:3.3(a) when he filed the counselor’s false Certificate of Counseling and the client’s false certification of the accuracy of that Certificate of Counseling. By preparing the client’s false Statement of Compliance with Credit Counseling and providing it to the client for his execution, Merriam violated SCR 20:1.2(d). Merriam failed to cooperate in the OLR investigation of the client’s grievance, violating supreme court rules that require such cooperation.
In the third matter, Merriam represented spouses in a bankruptcy proceeding. Merriam’s failure to determine the effect that a bankruptcy filing would have on the spouses’ transfer of the remainder interest in their home and his failure to take any steps to address this issue after the filing constituted a failure to provide competent representation, in violation of SCR 20:1.1. Merriam violated SCR 20:1.3 by failing to communicate with the trustee about the transfer issue or otherwise take any steps that furthered his clients’ interests after the initial meeting of creditors on Dec. 20, 2007, until he withdrew on Sept. 25, 2008. Merriam’s failure to consult with the clients about the appropriate strategy for reaching their objectives and to explain the options available to them violated SCR 20:1.4(a)(2) and (b). Merriam’s general failure to respond to his clients’ telephone inquiries violated SCR 20:1.4(a)(4). By abandoning the representation without taking any steps to protect the clients’ interests and by failing to timely refund an unearned fee, Merriam violated SCR 20:1.16(d).
In addition to the 90-day license suspension, the court ordered that for two years Merriam is to provide the OLR with quarterly written certifications that he is in compliance with treatment recommendations for depression. The court also ordered Merriam to join the State Bar’s
Practice411TM practice management service and to provide the OLR with quarterly reports for two years explaining his participation in the service.
Merriam received private reprimands in 1992 and 1995 and public reprimands in 2000 and 2003.
Hearing to Reinstate Charles L. Glynn
On Monday, Aug. 16, 2010, at 9 a.m., a public hearing will be held before referee John A. Fiorenza at the Wisconsin Club, Governor’s Room, 900 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, on the petition of Charles L. Glynn, Milwaukee, 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.
In Disciplinary Proceedings Against Glynn, 225 Wis. 2d 202, 591 N.W.2d 606 (1999), the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended Glynn’s law license for one year based on misconduct Glynn engaged in while serving as guardian for two estates and conservator for a third estate. In Disciplinary Proceedings Against Glynn, 2000 WI 117, 238 Wis. 2d 860, 618 N.W.2d 740, the court suspended Glynn’s law license for nine more months based on his additional professional misconduct.
To be reinstated, Glynn has the burden of substantiating by clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence that he has the moral character to practice law in Wisconsin, his resumption of the practice of law will not be detrimental to the administration of justice or subversive of the public interest, all of his representations in his reinstatement petition are substantiated, and he has complied fully with the terms of the order of suspension or revocation and with SCR 22.26.
Relevant information may be provided to or obtained from OLR assistant litigation counsel Julie M. Scott, 110 E. Main St., Suite 315, Madison, WI 53703; (608) 267-2024.