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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    December 01, 2016

    Lawyer Discipline

    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

    Public Reprimand of Timothy T. Blank

    On Nov. 12, 2009, Timothy T. Blank’s law license was temporarily suspended for his failure to cooperate with Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) investigations. On April 6, 2016, after demonstrating an intention to cooperate with those investigations, Blank’s noncooperation suspension was lifted. Subsequent investigation established that Blank engaged in misconduct with regard to two client matters.

    In the first matter, a client hired Blank to represent her on three criminal counts, including homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. The day he was hired, Blank appeared with the client at her initial appearance. Approximately two months later, Blank met with the client. After that meeting, Blank failed to provide any services to the client, including but not limited to failing to attend the client’s preliminary hearing, in violation of SCR 20:1.3.

    Blank also failed to communicate with the client after the second client meeting, including but not limited to failing to respond to phone calls, failing to respond to a note left for him, and failing to notify the client that he would not be attending the preliminary hearing, in violation of SCR 20:1.4(a)(3) and (4).

    Blank also failed to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation, in violation of SCR 22.03(2) and (6).

    In the second matter, a man consulted with Blank regarding an eviction action that had been filed against him. Blank failed to take steps to ensure that the client was adequately prepared for the court proceedings, including but not limited to failing to tell the client that the client could not present a defense that had already been rejected in a previous proceeding and failing to explain that the judge was not bound by the amount of a judgment previously entered against the client by a court commissioner, in violation of SCR 20:1.3.

    Blank also closed his law practice, effectively terminating his representation of the client, without giving notice to the client and without promptly returning to the client the $700 the client had given him to handle another matter on the client’s behalf, in violation of 20:1.16(d).

    Finally, Blank failed to respond to a request for information from the OLR, leading to the temporary suspension of his law license, in violation of SCR 22.03(6).

    Blank had no prior discipline.

    Disciplinary Proceedings Against Thor Templin

    In an Oct. 12, 2016 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of Thor Templin, Milwaukee, for 60 days. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Templin, 2016 WI 83. The suspension was made consecutive to a previous six-month suspension of Templin’s license that began on May 3, 2016. The court also ordered Templin to pay the $1,041.40 cost of the disciplinary proceeding.

    Templin engaged in six counts of professional misconduct involving three clients. In the first matter, Templin agreed to represent a client in an estate dispute. Templin filed an action for special administration but took no further action in the matter. Templin later filed suit against the client’s siblings, alleging fraud, but failed to serve the summons and complaint on the defendants, and the court dismissed the suit. Templin filed the same suit a few months later but again failed to effect service, and the court dismissed the suit again. Templin also failed to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation. Templin violated SCR 20:1.1, SCR 20:1.3, SCR 22.03(2), and SCR 22.03(6), as enforced via SCR 20:8.4(h).

    In a second matter, Templin represented a client in a real estate matter. When the daughter of the client sought information about the case, Templin refused, claiming he had no authority to talk to the daughter. The client then signed a “Designation of Agent or Power of Attorney,” which gave the daughter broad authority to act on her mother’s behalf, including the ability to speak to Templin and review her mother’s file. Templin repeatedly refused to provide a copy of the file to the daughter, notwithstanding receiving multiple requests. Even after Templin withdrew from the representation, he refused to provide a copy of the client file to the daughter. By failing to comply with the daughter’s multiple requests to obtain a copy of the file, Templin violated SCR 20:1.16(d).

    In a third matter, Templin represented a client who was involved in an automobile accident. The client admitted fault but failed to answer a lawsuit filed by the insured. After the entry of a default judgment (served by publication), the client hired Templin to attempt to reopen the judgment or otherwise resolve the dispute.

    Templin failed to take any meaningful action on the matter for more than six months and failed to respond to multiple telephone calls from the client. He also was not available to meet with the client. Although Templin ultimately filed a motion to reopen the default judgment, the court determined that the motion was untimely. Templin violated SCR 20:1.3 and SCR 20:1.4(a)(4).

    In addition to the six-month license suspension referenced above, Templin received a private reprimand in 2011.

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