Vol. 80, No. 4, April 2007
Disciplinary proceeding against Thomas A. Robinson
On Feb. 6, 2007, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the Wisconsin law license of Thomas A. Robinson, last known to have practiced in Zion, Ill., for one year, as discipline reciprocal to a one-year suspension imposed against Robinson's Illinois law license by the Illinois Supreme Court in October 2006. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Robinson, 2007 WI 17.
The Illinois suspension arose out of Robinson's violation of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct and involved his representation of the executor of an estate. Specifically, Robinson was found to have committed professional misconduct consisting of conversion; failure to deliver promptly client funds that the client is entitled to receive and to render an accounting of such property; making a statement of material fact to a tribunal that he knew or reasonably should have known was false; engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; and engaging in conduct that tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute.
Robinson's Wisconsin law license had been suspended since 2000 for CLE noncompliance.
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Disciplinary proceeding against Allan D. Krezminski
On Feb. 16, 2007, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of Allan D. Krezminski, Milwaukee, for two years, effective March 30, 2007. The court also ordered that Krezminski pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Krezminski, 2007 WI 21.
The suspension is based on Krezminski's misconduct in two matters. In the first matter, Krezminski was personal representative for an estate. In violation of former SCR 20:1.15(a) (effective until July 1, 2004) and SCR 20:8.4(c), Krezminski converted for his own use approximately $37,000 that he was holding in his capacity as personal representative. In violation of SCR 20:3.3(a)(4), Krezminski filed a receipt with the court falsely indicating that an heir had been paid.
In the second matter, Krezminski was appointed to represent a client on an appeal from his conviction on several charges. In violation of SCR 20:1.4(a), Krezminski failed to communicate with his client for 11 months despite receiving written inquiries from his client and the Office of the State Public Defender.
Krezminski had been privately reprimanded in 2004 for violations of SCR 20:1.3 and 20:1.4(a).
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Disciplinary proceeding against Thomas A. Fadner II
On Feb. 7, 2007, the Wisconsin Supreme Court revoked the law license of Thomas A. Fadner II, Oshkosh, for 45 incidents of misconduct in 10 different client matters. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Fadner, 2007 WI 18. The court also ordered Fadner to repay the Wisconsin Lawyer's Fund for Client Protection the sum of $12,500 and two clients the sums of $1,000 and $1,200, respectively. The court further ordered Fadner to pay the $1,758.16 cost of the disciplinary proceeding.
Fadner's misconduct included failing to provide competent representation in one matter, contrary to SCR 20:1.1; failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in five client matters, in violation of SCR 20:1.3; failing to keep four clients informed about the status of their matters and promptly comply with their reasonable requests for information, in violation of SCR 20:1.4(a); charging a client unreasonable fees, in violation of SCR 20:1.5(a); failing, in one client matter, to adequately explain the basis or rate of his fee, in violation of SCR 20:1.5(b); failing to place a client's advance fee payment in his client trust account, in violation of former SCR 20:1.15(a); failing, in seven client matters, to protect the clients' interests on termination of the representation, in violation of SCR 20:1.16(d); twice failing, in one client matter, to comply with obligations under the rules of a tribunal, in violation of SCR 20:3.4(c); failing to supervise staff in one client matter, in violation of SCR 20:5.3(b) and (c)(1); making misrepresentations or engaging in dishonest conduct in three client matters, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(c); failing to file written responses with the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) in eight client matters, in violation of SCR 22:03(2); failing to file a written supplemental response with the OLR in one client matter, in violation of SCR 22.03(6); failing to respond to a district committee investigator, in violation of SCR 22.04(1); failing to notify four clients of his suspension and advise them to seek legal advice elsewhere, in violation of SCR 22.26(1)(a) and (b); and failing to file a post-suspension affidavit with the OLR, in violation of SCR 22.26(1)(e).
Fadner had prior discipline. He received a private reprimand in 1998, and his law license was suspended for nine months in 2006. Additionally, Fadner's license was temporarily suspended in 2005 for Fadner's failure to cooperate with the OLR. Fadner's license remained suspended until the date of his revocation.
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Disciplinary proceeding against Mitchell J. Barrock
On Feb 22, 2007, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of Mitchell J. Barrock, Brookfield, for 60 days, effective April 6, 2007. In addition, the court ordered that Barrock pay the full cost of the disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Barrock, 2007 WI 24. Justice Roggensack dissented in part as to one of the violations, and Chief Justice Abrahamson responded with a separate concurrence.
Barrock took over representation of a client in a personal injury matter. In violation of SCR 20:1.15(d)(3), Barrock failed to hold in trust a portion of the settlement funds despite his knowledge that his client's former attorney had a lien on those funds. In violation of SCR 20:8.4(c), Barrock testified during a deposition that he continued to hold that portion of the settlement funds representing attorney fees in trust when in fact he had disbursed all the settlement funds. In violation of SCR 22.03(6), Barrock failed to disclose to the OLR that he had disbursed attorney fees to his father from the settlement funds and misrepresented to the OLR that he continued to hold in trust funds that were sufficient to cover the lien of the former attorney when in fact all the funds had been disbursed. In violation of SCR 20:1.15(e), Barrock failed to maintain trust account records for the required minimum of six years. In violation of SCR 20:3.1(a)(2), Barrock misrepresented in a cross-complaint that his client had agreed to indemnify him for all claims and liens, including prior attorney fees, related to his representation of his client. In violation of SCR 20:1.7(b), Barrock continued to represent his client while at the same time attempting to implead his client as a third-party defendant in a lawsuit brought by the client's former attorney in which Barrock was named a defendant.
Barrock was privately reprimanded in 1992 for violations of SCR 20:1.16(d) and 40.15.
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Disciplinary proceeding against Michael A. Gral
On Feb. 16, 2007, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of Michael A. Gral, Milwaukee, for three years, effective Feb. 27, 2006, the date on which the court summarily suspended Gral's license based on a federal criminal conviction for mail fraud. In addition, the court ordered that Gral pay the full cost of the disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Gral, 2007 WI 22.
From August 1994 through July 2004 Gral practiced law in Milwaukee. On Dec. 14, 2005, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin issued a one-count information against Gral, charging Gral with mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 (2005). On that same date, Gral and the government filed a plea agreement in which Gral agreed to plead guilty to the one-count information. Gral later agreed to a summary suspension of his law license pending the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings arising out of the federal mail fraud conviction, and his license was summarily suspended on Feb. 27, 2006.
In July 2006, the OLR and Gral entered into a stipulation by which Gral entered a plea of no contest to the OLR's complaint charging Gral with a violation of SCR 20:8.4(b), which states that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness of a lawyer in other respects. Gral had no prior discipline.
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Public reprimand of George Limbeck
The OLR and George A. Limbeck, Sheboygan, entered into an agreement for imposition of a public reprimand, pursuant to SCR 22.09(1). A referee appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court thereafter approved the agreement and issued the public reprimand on Feb. 9, 2007, in accordance with SCR 22.09(3).
Limbeck represented a client who was charged in two counties with the sexual assault of his stepchildren. Limbeck erroneously advised the client that if he was convicted in both counties, he faced a mandatory life sentence under Wis. Stat. section 939.62, when a simple reading of the statute would have indicated otherwise. Limbeck then had his reluctant client enter a guilty plea in one county before determining whether the other county would agree to drop or consolidate its charges on the basis of that plea.
Limbeck also failed to adequately prepare for the client's sentencing hearing. On the last working day before the hearing, Limbeck faxed the court a motion to withdraw so that the client could ask for a public defender appointment, as well as a motion to adjourn the sentencing hearing. The court denied Limbeck's motions. Limbeck prepared no witnesses to testify on his client's behalf and did not present to the court any of the letters in support of his client that he had in his possession.
By erroneously advising his client that he faced a mandatory life sentence, by failing to determine what action the second county would take before his client entered a guilty plea in the first county, and by failing to adequately prepare for the client's sentencing hearing, Limbeck provided incompetent representation, in violation SCR 20:1.1.
Limbeck previously had been privately reprimanded in connection with another criminal defense matter.
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Hearing to reinstate Perry P. Lieuallen
On Tuesday, May 22, 2007, at 9:30 a.m., a public hearing will be held before referee Russell Hanson at the Wisconsin State Bar Center, Whyte Room, 5302 Eastpark Blvd., Madison, Wis., on the petition of Perry P. Lieuallen, Port Washington, to reinstate his 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 Lieuallen, 2001 WI 50, 243 Wis.2d 478, 626 N.W.2d 802, the Wisconsin Supreme Court revoked Lieuallen's law license on June 1, 2001. The revocation was based on Lieuallen's misconduct in two client matters and an audit of his trust account, which revealed a pattern of mismanagement and conversion of client funds over an extended period. Lieuallen failed to conform to a standard of conduct established by the court regarding the removal of funds in trust for fees. Several withdrawals that Lieuallen identified as disbursements of the client's funds occurred after the client's funds had already been completely dissipated. Lieuallen failed to inform the client of a court ruling regarding the division of other personal property. As a result, the client missed a deadline.
Also, Lieuallen converted trust funds to his own use or that of other clients; failed to safeguard client property; failed to give written notice to a client of his receipt of tax refund funds and did not promptly deliver the funds to the client; and failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness by failing to draft an order, as directed by the court, and by failing to object to divorce findings that had been drafted by opposing counsel, which his client believed were incorrect.
Finally, an audit of Lieuallen's two trust accounts revealed multiple trust account violations involving his handling of funds belonging to 23 clients and other persons, including repeatedly failing to hold the funds of clients in trust, repeatedly disbursing funds belonging to individual clients to one or more other clients, and repeatedly disbursing to himself or his firm funds that appeared to be in excess of the fee to which he was entitled.
In addition, Lieuallen failed to maintain required trust account records, and, for at least four fiscal years, filed false certifications with the State Bar of Wisconsin by indicating on his dues statements that he was maintaining required trust account records.
The court ordered Lieuallen to make restitution of more than $60,000.
To be reinstated, Lieuallen has the burden of substantiating by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence that: 1) he has the moral character to practice law in Wisconsin; 2) his resumption of the practice of law will not be detrimental to the administration of justice or subversive of the public interest; 3) all of his representations in his reinstatement petition are substantiated; and 4) 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 investigator Lorry Eldien or OLR litigation counsel William J. Weigel, 110 E. Main St., Suite 315, Madison, WI 53703, (877) 315-6941.
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Hearing to reinstate Ann Cahill Hammer
On May 21-22, 2007, at 9 a.m., a public hearing will be held before referee Curry First at the Office of Lawyer Regulation, Third Floor Conference Room, 110 E. Main St., Madison, Wis., on the petition of Ann Cahill Hammer, formerly of Oshkosh and currently of Delavan, 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.
Hammer was formerly known as Ann Cahill and as Ann Cahill Kiefer. The Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended her law license for six months in Disciplinary Proceedings Against Cahill, 219 Wis. 2d 330, 579 N.W.2d 231 (1998). Hammer received misdemeanor criminal convictions as follows: two counts of fraud of a hotel innkeeper; second and third offenses of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI); two counts of issuing worthless checks; one count of issuing a worthless check; and one count of disorderly conduct. Hammer's criminal convictions reflected adversely on Hammer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects. The convictions for issuing worthless checks and defrauding an innkeeper also constituted conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
The referee who presided in the disciplinary action concluded that Hammer's OWI and disorderly conduct convictions were causally related to her alcoholism.
The court ordered that conditions pertaining to rehabilitation from alcoholism be imposed for two years, to commence on the reinstatement of Hammer's license.
To be reinstated, Hammer has the burden of substantiating by clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence that: 1) she has the moral character to practice law in Wisconsin; 2) her resumption of the practice of law will not be detrimental to the administration of justice or subversive of the public interest; 3) all of her representations in her reinstatement petition are substantiated; and 4) she 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 investigator Melody Rader-Johnson, (877) 315-6941, or OLR retained counsel Robert Krohn, P.O. Box 151, Edgerton, WI 53534, (608) 884-3391.
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