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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    March 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 www.wicourts.gov/olr.

    Disciplinary Proceedings Against Gerald P. Boyle

    In a Dec. 23, 2015 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of Gerald P. Boyle, Milwaukee, for 60 days, effective Jan. 22, 2016.  The court also ordered Boyle to pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding, file quarterly trust account reports with the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) for one year, and attend a minimum of six hours of continuing legal education in law office management or trust account practices. See Disciplinary Proceedings Against Boyle, 2015 WI 110.

    Boyle engaged in six counts of professional misconduct involving two clients. In the first matter, Boyle represented a client in a consumer law-fraud matter. The client had purchased memorabilia attributed to John Lennon from three separate out-of-state galleries (Hawaii, Florida, and New York) and later learned that many of the items were counterfeit. Boyle accepted separate advanced-fee payments of $10,000, $35,000, and $20,000 from the client to initiate and continue the representation. Boyle did not prepare written fee agreements or memorialize changes to the fee agreements. In addition, Boyle did not deposit the advanced fees received from the client into his client trust account but instead deposited the fees into his law firm operating account.

    Boyle ultimately filed a single federal lawsuit against the Hawaii gallery, but allowed the statute of limitation under the Wisconsin Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) to expire as to certain items acquired by the client. In addition, Boyle failed to respond to numerous requests by the client for information. Time passed, the Hawaii lawsuit stalled, and while Boyle forwarded a portion of his fees to another lawyer to seek recovery from the Florida gallery, Boyle never took meaningful action against the New York gallery. Ultimately, the client hired other lawyers to resolve his disputes with the galleries.

    By accepting advanced-fee payments of $10,000, $35,000, and $20,000 and failing to deposit those fees into his client trust account, Boyle violated SCR 20:1.15(b)(4). By failing to prepare written fee agreements, or memorialize changes to the fee agreements, Boyle violated SCR 20:1.5(b)(1) and (2). By failing to respond to the client’s multiple requests for information, Boyle violated SCR 20:1.4(a)(4). By failing to file a lawsuit before expiration of a statute of limitation under the DTPA, and, in addition, by failing to take meaningful action against the New York gallery, Boyle violated SCR 20:1.1 and SCR 20:1.3.

    In a second matter, Boyle agreed to represent a criminal defendant. On two occasions, the client made advanced-fee payments of $9,500 to Boyle. Each time, Boyle did not deposit the advanced fees into his client trust account but instead deposited the funds directly into his law firm’s operating account. By failing to deposit two advanced-fee payments of $9,500 into his client trust account, Boyle violated SCR 20:1.15(b)(4).

    Boyle had three prior private reprimands, in 2002, 2009, and 2012.

    Disciplinary Proceedings Against Amoun Sayaovong

    On Nov. 18, 2015, the supreme court suspended the law license of Amoun Sayaovong for six months.Disciplinary Proceedings Against Sayaovong, 2015 WI 100. The court also ordered Sayaovong to pay the $852.43 cost of the proceeding. Sayaovong’s misconduct occurred in two separate matters.

    In the first matter, Sayaovong represented clients in an accident case. Following a judgment in favor of his clients, Sayaovong started garnishment proceedings against the adverse party. Sayaovong did not notify his clients upon his receipt of the garnished funds but issued checks to the clients periodically. Sayaovong failed to deposit a garnishment check and did not send it to the clients, despite the clients’ questioning Sayaovong about the check. The clients subsequently stopped receiving regular payments from Sayaovong.

    The adverse party became unemployed and agreed to make payments directly to Sayaovong, but Sayaovong did not communicate this development to his clients until after he made the agreement. Several months later, Sayaovong sent a check to the clients, claiming it represented payments received over a four-month period. Sayaovong was frequently unresponsive to emails and telephone calls from the clients regarding receipt of any further payments, and he failed to provide the clients with an accounting of funds received. Sayaovong failed to respond to the OLR’s requests for information.

    By failing to timely pursue collection actions for his clients, Sayaovong violated SCR 20:1.3. By failing to consistently keep the clients informed of collection efforts and failing to return numerous phone calls or respond to client emails, Sayaovong violated SCR 20:1.4(a)(3) and (4). By failing to promptly and consistently notify the clients of his receipt of funds received or provide them with an itemized accounting as to amounts collected, Sayaovong violated SCR 20:1.15(d)(1) and (2). By failing to provide a required written response to the OLR, Sayaovong violated SCR 22.03(2) and (6), enforced via SCR 20:8.4(h).

    In the second matter, Sayaovong represented a client as the defendant in a small-claims lawsuit. In October 2013, Sayaovong’s law license was administratively suspended for failure to pay mandatory State Bar of Wisconsin dues. In December 2013, he contacted opposing counsel about the small-claims matter. In January 2014, Sayaovong sent opposing counsel a draft stipulation to settle the lawsuit. Sayaovong failed to respond to the OLR’s investigation.

    By preparing and sending a proposed stipulation to opposing counsel while his license to practice was suspended due to failure to pay mandatory bar dues, Sayaovong violated SCR 10.03(6) and SCR 22.26(2), enforced via SCR 20:8.4(f). By failing to provide a response to the OLR in the matter, Sayaovong violated SCR 22.03(2) and (6), enforced via SCR 20:8.4(h).

    Sayaovong had a prior public reprimand, imposed in 2014.


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