Wisconsin Lawyer: Lawyer Discipline:

State Bar of Wisconsin

Sign In

Top Link Bar

    RACIAL EQUITY: It’s Time to Step Up. We Need Your Help. Click Here.​​

    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer

News & Pubs Search

-
Format: MM/DD/YYYY
    April
    01
    2015

    Lawyer Discipline


    Share This:

    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 Proceedings Against Andrew Bryant

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of Andrew Bryant, Verona, for three years, effective Jan. 28, 2015. The court also ordered Bryant to pay the $9,175.05 cost of the disciplinary proceeding and to pay restitution of $10,312.20 and $5,000 to two former clients. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Bryant, 2015 WI 7.

    Bryant pleaded no contest and stipulated to 37 separate acts of professional misconduct involving seven clients. 

    In one client matter (a divorce), Bryant engaged in trust account violations and failed to cooperate with the Office of Lawyer Regulation’s (OLR’s) investigation, in violation of SCR 20:1.15(b)(4), SCR 22.03(2) and (6), and SCR 20:8.4(h).

    In a second matter (a divorce), Bryant failed to act diligently, failed to communicate with the client adequately, engaged in trust account violations, failed to comply with a court commissioner’s order, converted client funds to pay himself attorney fees, and failed to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation, in violation of SCR 20:1.3, SCR 20:1.4(a)(3) and (4), SCR 20:1.15(b)(4), (d)(1) and (2), and (g)(1), SCR 20:3.4(c), SCR 20:8.4(c), SCR 22.03(2) and (6), and SCR 20:8.4(h).

    In a third matter (a discrimination claim), Bryant failed to act diligently, failed to explain matters to the client to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions, and failed to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation, in violation of SCR 20:1.3, SCR 20:1.4(b), SCR 22.03(2) and (6), and SCR 20:8.4(h).

    In a fourth matter (personal injury and divorce), Bryant failed to provide competent representation, failed to act diligently, failed to communicate with the client adequately, failed to prepare a written contingent-fee agreement (in the personal injury matter) and a written fee agreement (in the divorce matter), failed to comply with trust account rules, and failed to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation, in violation of SCR 20:1.3, SCR 20:1.4(a)(3) and (4) and (b), SCR 20:1.5(b)(1) and (2) and (c), SCR 20:1.15(b)(4) and (g)(1), SCR 22.03(2) and (6), and SCR 20:8.4(h).

    In a fifth matter (a discrimination claim), Bryant failed to provide competent representation, failed to act diligently, failed to communicate with the client, failed to prepare a written contingent-fee agreement, and failed to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation, in violation of SCR 20:1.1, SCR 20:1.3, SCR 20:1.4(a)(3) and (4), SCR 20:1.5(c), SCR 22.03(2) and (6), and SCR 20:8.4(h).

    In a sixth matter (a discrimination claim), Bryant failed to act diligently, failed to communicate sufficiently with the client, failed to respond to the client’s request for the file, and failed to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation, in violation of SCR 20:1.3, SCR 20:1.4(a)(3) and (4), SCR 20:1.16(d), SCR 22.03(2) and (6), and SCR 20:8.4(h).

    In a seventh matter (a personal injury claim), Bryant failed to act diligently, failed to communicate sufficiently with the client, and failed to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation, in violation of SCR 20:1.3, SCR 20:1.4(a)(3) and (4), SCR 22.03(2) and (6), and SCR 20:8.4(h).

    Bryant had a private reprimand in 2012 and was suspended from the practice of law for four months in 2014. 

    Disciplinary Proceedings Against Erika Anita Cannaday

    On Feb. 10, 2015, the supreme court approved an SCR 22.12 stipulation filed by the OLR and Erika Anita Cannaday, Oconomowoc, and revoked Cannaday’s Wisconsin law license. In the stipulation, Cannaday did not contest that she committed 76 acts of professional misconduct in 16 client matters or that the revocation of her license to practice law in Wisconsin was appropriate discipline for her misconduct. Cannaday further stipulated and the court ordered that she pay restitution to one client and to the Wisconsin Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection regarding three other clients. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Cannaday, 2015 WI 11.

    Cannaday was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in 2005. On Nov. 20, 2013, the court temporarily suspended Cannaday’s license for noncooperation with the OLR in several matters.

    The court held that the professional misconduct committed by Cannaday was extensive and warranted her removal from the practice of law. Beginning in 2011 and continuing into 2013, Cannaday essentially abandoned a significant portion of her practice. Cannaday failed to take meaningful action on clients’ behalf and failed to respond to clients’ calls, emails, and letters seeking information about their cases. She missed court hearings, failed to file vital documents with the court, failed to provide clients with final accountings, and failed to refund unearned portions of her fees. In one client matter, Cannaday practiced law while suspended.

    Cannaday’s misconduct included violations of SCR 20:1.3, SCR 20:1.4(a)(3) and (4), SCR 20:1.5(a) and (b)(1) and (2), SCR 20:1.15(b)(4) and (d)(1), SCR 20:1.16(d), SCR 20:3.4(c), SCR 20:8.4(a), (c), and (h), SCR 22:03(2) and (6), and SCR 22.26(2).

    Cannaday had no prior discipline.

    Public Reprimand of Dale R. Nikolay

    The OLR and Dale R. Nikolay, Glendale, entered into an agreement for imposition of a public reprimand, pursuant to SCR 22.09(1). A supreme court-appointed referee approved the agreement and issued the public reprimand on Jan. 27, 2015, in accordance with SCR 22.09(3). This reprimand concerns three matters.

    In the first matter, there was an overdraft on Nikolay’s client trust account stemming from Nikolay’s disbursement of a check to his firm for costs relating to a personal injury matter. Nikolay failed to maintain accurate records and perform monthly reconciliations, failed to withdraw fees when earned, and failed to back up electronic records. Nikolay violated SCR 20:1.15(b)(1) by making disbursements from his trust account for legal fees that exceeded the amounts to which he was entitled. He violated SCR 20:1.15(b)(3) by failing to promptly disburse earned fees from his firm’s trust account. He violated SCR 20:1.15(f)(1)a., b., and g. by failing to maintain accurate and contemporaneous records of each transaction in his trust account transaction register and client ledgers and by failing to reconcile the account on a monthly basis. He violated SCR 20:1.15(f)(4)a. and b. by failing to back up electronic trust account records. He violated SCR 22.03(2) and (6), enforced under the Rules of Professional Conduct via SCR 20:8.4(f), by failing to respond to the OLR’s letters requesting information.

    In the second matter, in December 2008, Nikolay took on a client’s claim against an investment company for damages resulting from the failure of the company’s agent to follow the client’s instructions to sell securities. Nikolay had not previously handled any type of financial-investment fraud or negligence cases. He did not consult with other attorneys who concentrate in these cases. Other than writing a demand letter to the investment company, he failed to take meaningful action to advance the client’s interests and thereby violated SCR 20:1.1 and SCR 20:1.3. He failed to communicate with the client, in violation of SCR 20:1.4(a)(3).

    In the third matter, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Division of Unemployment Insurance (UI) reported that, as of July 2013, Nikolay had failed to file UI tax reports since the first quarter of 2010 and had paid only a portion of the 2010 second-quarter taxes and had not paid any of the estimated taxes, interest, and penalties assessed quarterly since the second quarter of 2010. Nikolay violated SCR 20:8.4(f), which states, “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to violate a statute, supreme court rule, supreme court order or supreme court decision regulating the conduct of lawyers,” pursuant to standards of conduct established by Disciplinary Proceedings Against Owens, 172 Wis. 2d 54, 492 N.W. 2d 157 (1992), and other supreme court decisions finding that an intentional violation of tax laws, even without intent to defraud the government, constitutes professional misconduct.

    Nikolay had no prior discipline.

    Disciplinary Proceedings Against James E. Hammis

    On Feb. 17, 2015, the supreme court suspended the law license of James E. Hammis, Stoughton, for 90 days, effective March 19, 2015. The court further ordered Hammis to pay restitution of $995 to a former client and the $12,022.38 cost of the proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Hammis, 2015 WI 14.

    In July 2005, Hammis was convicted in Ohio of reckless endangerment, a first-degree misdemeanor. The charges grew out of his involvement in transporting and disposing of hazardous wastes. By engaging in the acts leading to his conviction, Hammis violated SCR 20:8.4(b). Hammis failed to timely notify the OLR and the clerk of the Wisconsin Supreme Court of his conviction, as required by SCR 21.15(5), enforced via SCR 20:8.4(f). In addition, Hammis did not pay court costs ordered by the Ohio court, thereby violating SCR 20:3.4(c).

    In 2010, a prison inmate hired Hammis to seek a sentence modification. The client provided copies of his sentencing transcript and presentence investigation report to Hammis, and paid $995 toward the $2,000 advance fee required by Hammis. The client’s mother paid another $400. Hammis deposited all the funds into his business account instead of his client trust account.

    Hammis spoke to the client in June 2010 and promised to produce an action plan. Hammis subsequently failed to respond to a July 2010 letter from the client asking for an update and a copy of the action plan. In August 2010, the client wrote again to say he was unable to pay the full $2,000 advance fee. He requested that Hammis refund the $1,395. The client also asked that Hammis return the sentencing transcript and presentence report. Hammis did not respond to the letter, return the client’s documents, or refund any fees. However, after the client’s mother died in September 2010, Hammis paid $400 from his business account toward her funeral expenses.

    Hammis’s failure to communicate with his client after he received the July and August 2010 letters violated SCR 20:1.4(a)(3) and (4), and his failure to reply to the client’s inquiry concerning the advance-fee receipts, a refund, and expenses violated SCR 20:1.5(b)(3). Hammis’s retention of the entire amount of the advance fee despite taking little or no action on the matter violated SCR 20:1.5(a). In addition, contrary to SCR 20:1.16(d), Hammis failed to refund the unearned portion of the advance fee or return the client’s records following the termination of his legal services. Because Hammis never provided the notices and accounting required at termination of the representation, his failure to hold the advance fees in trust violated SCR 20:1.15(b)(4m)b.1.-3.

    During the OLR’s investigation of the client’s grievance, Hammis failed to provide relevant information, did not answer questions fully or furnish requested documents, and made misrepresentations. His failure to cooperate violated SCR 22.03(6), enforced via SCR 20:8.4(h).

    Hammis was suspended for four months in 2011.

    Disciplinary Proceedings Against John F. Koenig

    The supreme court suspended the law license of John F. Koenig, Milton, for two years, effective March 19, 2015. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Koenig, 2015 WI 16. Koenig stipulated to the one count of misconduct charged in the OLR’s disciplinary complaint and to the sanction sought by the OLR. Because Koenig entered into a comprehensive stipulation before appointment of a referee, the OLR did not seek costs and none were imposed.

    Koenig’s law firm terminated him after discovering he had been embezzling funds from it. Koenig understood that any legal work performed and billings for legal work were to be reported to the firm. Nonetheless, Koenig accepted payments directly from firm clients without the firm’s knowledge, and failed to turn over such payments to the firm. In addition, Koenig quoted and collected fees from clients that were higher than what he reported and turned in to the firm. Koenig also received money for legal work that he performed for acquaintances who paid him directly, which work he normally performed during regular law firm office hours using the firm’s equipment, supplies, and staff. Koenig did not inform the firm of such work and payments. In some instances, to cover up his actions, Koenig falsified billing statements that he provided to the firm. Koenig’s conduct violated SCR 20:8.4(c) and (f).

    Koenig admitted he had accepted a total of $39,920 in payments for legal work without notifying the firm. Koenig forfeited his final paycheck from the firm in the gross amount of $27,900. The court ordered Koenig to make additional restitution of $12,020 to the firm.

    Koenig had no prior discipline.

    Disciplinary Proceedings Against David V. Moss

    On July 30, 2014, the supreme court suspended the law license of David V. Moss, who formerly practiced in Galesville, for two years. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Moss, 2014 WI 95. The supreme court also ordered Moss to pay restitution of $3,950 to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, as well as the $1,123.44 cost of the disciplinary proceeding to the OLR.

    Moss’s suspension was based on 35 counts of misconduct with respect to his handling of eight client matters.

    During his representation of five clients, Moss failed to act with diligence and promptness, in violation of SCR 20:1.3.

    Moss failed to inform two bankruptcy clients of case developments such as the nature, extent, and outcome of his purported negotiations with their mortgage lenders, in violation of SCR 20:1.4(a)(3). In addition, Moss failed to return messages and respond to other inquiries during his representation of seven clients, in violation of SCR 20:1.4(a)(4).

    Moss accepted fees from four clients and thereafter failed to either file bankruptcy petitions or complete other agreed-on legal services, in violation of SCR 20:1.5(a). Moss accepted fees in excess of $1,000 from two clients but failed to enter into written fee agreements with the clients, in violation of SCR 20:1.5(b)(1) and (2).

    Contrary to SCR 20:1.15(d)(1) and (2), after recoupment of a preference payment in which clients had an interest, Moss failed to deliver any portion to the clients, and failed to account to the clients regarding the amount recouped; the portion, if any, to which the clients were entitled; and the portion, if any, that Moss intended to retain and apply toward expenses and attorney fees.

    Upon termination of representation in four client matters, Moss failed to refund unearned advances, in violation of SCR 20:1.16(d). He also violated SCR 20:1.16(d) by closing his Galesville law office, thereby effectively terminating his representation of other clients, and thereafter failing to take steps to protect their interests.

    Moss had a handgun visible on his lap and in his hand during a meeting with clients, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(g).

    In all eight client matters, Moss failed to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation, in violation of SCR 22.03(2) and (6), enforced via SCR 20:8.4(h). Moss had no prior discipline.

    Reinstatement of Jeffrey A. Reitz

    On Feb. 4, 2015, the supreme court reinstated, with conditions, the law license of Jeffrey A. Reitz, Milwaukee. The court also ordered Reitz to pay the full $2,701.40 cost of the proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Reitz, 2015 WI 9. Reitz’s law license had been suspended for 10 months, effective May 3, 2013, for misconduct primarily related to mishandling of trust accounts and client funds.

    Reitz fully complied with the postsuspension requirements set forth in SCR 22.26 and met all requirements for reinstatement stated in SCR 22.31. As a condition of reinstatement, upon his resumption of the practice of law, Reitz’s trust account is subject to OLR monitoring for two years.

    Disciplinary Proceedings Against Khaja M. Din

    On Jan. 22, 2015, the supreme court publicly reprimanded Khaja M. Din, Chicago. The court further ordered Din to pay $10,003.65, representing one-half the total cost of the disciplinary action. The court also ordered Din to make restitution payments totaling $14,250 in connection with his misconduct in the four matters leading to discipline. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Din, 2015 WI 4.

    In an immigration matter in which Din represented an employer who wished to employ a foreign national, Din collected an unreasonable fee, in violation of SCR 20:1.5(a), and failed to return unearned fees, in violation of SCR 20:1.16(d).

    In a second matter, a client sought Din’s assistance in obtaining U.S. citizenship or permanent-resident status. Din again charged and accepted an unreasonable fee, in violation of SCR 20:1.5(a), and failed to return unearned fees, in violation of SCR 20:1.16(d).

    In a third matter, Din represented a foreign national in filing and appearing in court for a cancellation of removal. Din did not perform work sufficient to justify his fee, which was unreasonable under the circumstances, and therefore violated SCR 20:1.5(a).

    In the final matter leading to misconduct findings, Din was hired to prepare and pursue an investor-visa petition on behalf of a foreign national. In violation of SCR 20:1.2(a) and 20:1.4(a)(2), Din failed to engage in proper consultation regarding the appropriate visa to pursue. Din again violated SCR 20:1.5(a) by collecting a fee not justified by the work performed in the matter, and SCR 20:1.16(d) by failing to return unearned fees advanced to him in the matter.

    Din had no prior discipline.

    Disciplinary Proceedings Against Ryan D. Lister

    On Jan. 28, 2015, the supreme court revoked the law license of Ryan D. Lister, Wausau, and ordered Lister to pay the $28,200.86 cost of the disciplinary proceeding. The court also ordered Lister to make restitution payments totaling $11,800 to two former clients and the Wisconsin Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Lister, 2015 WI 8.

    The OLR proved 34 counts of professional misconduct in its case against Lister, ranging from conversion of client funds to having engaged in an impermissible sexual relationship with a client. Lister habitually failed to cooperate with OLR investigations, failed to keep clients reasonably informed, and breached client confidences. The court cited the referee’s observation that Lister “has shown himself to be a dishonest manipulator of the weak, unsophisticated and vulnerable, all of whom he willingly exploited for his own advantage.”

    Lister previously received a public reprimand in 1986, a five-month license suspension in 2007, and a 60-day suspension in 2010. In 2012, the OLR was required to seek enforcement of prior supreme court restitution orders after Lister knowingly failed to make restitution payments to a client injured by Lister’s misconduct.

    Public Reprimand of David Saldana

    The OLR and David Saldana, Racine, entered into an agreement for imposition of a public reprimand, pursuant to SCR 22.09(1). A supreme court-appointed referee approved the agreement and issued the public reprimand on Feb. 4, 2015, in accordance with SCR 22.09(3).

    On Jan. 10, 2014, Saldana reported to the OLR his conviction of fourth-offense operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). Saldana’s sentence included 60 days in jail with Huber privileges, driver’s license revocation for 24 months, and a fine. The ensuing OLR investigation brought to light additional OWI criminal cases brought against Saldana.

    By engaging in conduct leading to a criminal conviction of fourth-offense OWI, a criminal conviction of third-offense OWI, and a criminal conviction of second-offense OWI, Saldana violated SCR 20:8.4(b).

    Saldana completed an individual therapy program, regularly attends a 12-step recovery program, and voluntarily entered into a monitoring program.

    Saldana had no prior discipline.

    Disciplinary Proceedings Against David A. Lemanski

    On Feb. 5, 2015, the supreme court suspended the Wisconsin law license of David A. Lemanski, Dubuque, Iowa, for 60 days, as discipline reciprocal to a Dec. 20, 2013, Iowa Supreme Court order suspending Lemanski’s Iowa law license for 60 days. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Lemanski, 2015 WI 10.

    Lemanski failed to timely resolve a subrogation claim after settling a lawsuit, failed to properly deliver funds to the client, failed to keep the client informed of the settlement process, and did not respond to a demand for information from Iowa’s Attorney Disciplinary Board.

    Lemanski had no prior Wisconsin disciplinary history.

    Hearing to Reinstate Mark G. Pierquet

    A public hearing will be held before the Honorable Robert E. Kinney, at 9 a.m. on May 27, 2015, and May 28, 2015, at the State Bar Center, Board Room, 5302 Eastpark Blvd., Madison, on the petition of Mark G. Pierquet, Green Bay, to reinstate his license to practice law in Wisconsin. Any interested person may appear at the hearing and be heard in support of or in opposition to the petition for reinstatement.

    On May 30, 2007, the Wisconsin Supreme Court revoked Pierquet’s Wisconsin law license, based on Pierquet’s failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client; failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter; failure to protect a client’s interests upon termination of representation; failure to disclose all facts and circumstances pertaining to alleged misconduct during the OLR’s investigations; willful failure to cooperate with the OLR’s investigations; failure to provide competent representation; failure to abide by a client’s decisions concerning the objectives of representation; failure to consult with a client as to the means by which they are to be pursued; failure to inform a client of settlement offers and abide by a client’s decision regarding settlement; failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client to make informed decisions regarding the representation; failure to communicate the basis or rate of the fee to a client; failure to reduce a contingent-fee agreement to writing; and failure to deposit a client’s monies in an identifiable trust account.

    To be reinstated, Pierquet 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 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 Sarah E. Peterson or OLR assistant litigation counsel Julie M. Spoke, 110 E. Main St., Suite 315, Madison, WI 53703. The OLR’s toll-free telephone number is (877) 315-6941. Spoke’s direct phone is (608) 261-8295.

    Hearing to Reinstate Kristy J. Downing

    A public hearing will be held before referee James C. Boll at 9 a.m. on May 15, 2015, at the State Bar Center, Whyte Room, 5302 Eastpark Blvd., Madison, on the petition of Kristy J. Downing to reinstate her license to practice law. Any interested person may appear at the hearing and be heard in support of or in opposition to the petition for reinstatement.

    On Jan. 13, 2014, the Wisconsin Supreme Court indefinitely suspended Downing’s license because of a medical incapacity. In June 2014, Downing filed a reinstatement petition, which is the subject of the public hearing.

    To be reinstated, Downing 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 OLR investigator Sarah E. Peterson or OLR assistant litigation counsel Julie M. Spoke, 110 E. Main St., Suite 315, Madison, WI 53703. The OLR’s toll-free telephone number is (877) 315-6941. Spoke’s direct phone is (608) 261-8295.




Server Name