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Format: MM/DD/YYYY
    February
    12
    2019

    Lawyer Discipline


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    The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR), an agency of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, provides these summaries for educational purposes. The OLR assists the court in supervising the practice of law and protecting the public from misconduct by lawyers. Find the full text of these summaries at www.wicourts.gov/olr.

    Disciplinary Proceedings Against Gerald P. Boyle

    On Nov. 30, 2018, the Wisconsin Supreme Court indefinitely suspended the law license of Gerald P. Boyle, Milwaukee, due to his medical incapacity. The court concurrently abated an underlying disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Boyle, 2018 WI 108.

    In March 2017, the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) filed a complaint against Boyle alleging that he committed professional misconduct in two client matters, including failing to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation into those matters. Boyle alleged that he suffered from a medical incapacity that made the defense of the disciplinary proceedings impossible. After reviewing medical records, Boyle and the OLR stipulated to the medical incapacity, and the referee concluded that Boyle suffered from a medical incapacity.

    The court accepted the referee’s findings, as well as the referee’s recommendations that Boyle’s license to practice law should be suspended indefinitely and that the disciplinary proceedings should be abated pursuant to SCR 22.16(4)(d).

    Boyle received private reprimands in 2002, 2009, and 2012 and was suspended for 60 days in 2015.

    Public Reprimand of Sharon Riek

    The OLR and Sharon Riek, 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 Dec. 10, 2018, in accordance with SCR 22.09(3).

    In October 2015, Riek served as the prosecutor in two related criminal matters. Law enforcement officers, relying on information provided by confidential informants, set up a drug interdiction effort to stop and search a particular vehicle believed to be transporting cocaine from Illinois into Wisconsin. Riek was aware that police officers used confidential informants to identify the suspected vehicle and support the charges against the defendants. Riek was also aware of a purported nonrecorded oral statement by one of the codefendants that implicated the other defendant. The statement was made to the lead investigator in the case, who relied on the statement during his testimony at the preliminary hearing.

    During discovery, defense counsel specifically sought from Riek information regarding the use of informants as well as the existence of any oral statements by any defendant. Riek failed to disclose to defense counsel the use of confidential informants by law enforcement. Similarly, Riek failed to disclose to defense counsel the purported nonrecorded statement by one codefendant implicating the other defendant.

    By failing to respond to discovery requests by counsel for both defendants for information provided by confidential informants and failing to respond to discovery requests for the nonrecorded statement by one defendant to the lead investigator, Riek violated SCR 20:3.4(d).

    In 1999, Riek was privately reprimanded for misconduct while acting as a prosecutor.

    Disciplinary Proceedings Against Daniel Parks

    On Dec. 13, 2018, the supreme court suspended the law license of Daniel Parks, Fond du Lac, for 14 months, effective Jan. 24, 2019. The court also ordered Parks to pay the $42,226.26 cost of the disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Parks, 2018 WI 110.

    In April 2013, Parks announced that he was leaving his law firm. After Parks’ departure, the firm discovered that Parks had engaged in “non-firm work” while employed by the firm, including legal work for approximately 30 firm clients. Parks collected the fees himself and did not share the fees with the firm. In some instances, Parks made unauthorized fee reductions and accepted client services that benefited him personally, such as auto work or home improvements. In another client matter, Parks unilaterally reduced the firm’s contingent fee and thereafter asked the clients to give him $5,000.

    By engaging in multiple acts of self-dealing with firm clients and misappropriating fees belonging to the firm, Parks violated SCR 20:8.4(c), which provides, “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” In addition, Parks breached his fiduciary duties owed to his firm and his duty of honesty in his professional dealings with the firm, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(f), which provides, “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to: … (f) violate a … supreme court decision … regulating the conduct of lawyers …” as it relates to Disciplinary Proceedings Against Shea, 190 Wis. 2d 560, 527 N.W.2d 314 (1995).

    Moreover, Parks engaged in additional acts of self-dealing with respect to the handling of an estate matter. A long-time client of Parks died, leaving Parks as one of the beneficiaries of her will. Before the client’s death, Parks had accepted much of her property. After the client’s death, Parks induced other beneficiaries of the client’s will to sign a release that absolved Parks of any liability and allowed Parks to keep much of the client’s property. In addition, Parks included in the release a provision that excused Parks from repaying a loan owed to the client. Parks’ self-dealing with respect to the client’s estate also violated SCR 20:8.4(c).

    Moreover, the deceased client, who apparently did secretarial work for Parks, owned a computer that contained files associated with Parks’ former law firm. The files had no password protection. By failing to protect the confidentiality of those files, Parks violated SCR 20:1.6(a), which provides, in relevant part, “A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent….”

    Parks had no prior discipline.

    Public Reprimand of Michael Mack

    The OLR and Michael Mack, Brookfield, 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 Dec. 21, 2018, in accordance with SCR 22.09(3).

    Mack filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition for himself. Mack prepared his own petition, schedules, and statement of financial affairs (as well as amended schedules) and signed them under penalty of perjury. In multiple respects, Mack’s schedules and statements were false, misleading, and inaccurate, including failing to accurately disclose assets, loans, transfers, bank accounts, and business income. In addition, Mack testified falsely at multiple section 341 meetings of creditors that the schedules he filed were true, correct, and complete. Ultimately, Mack converted his Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition to a Chapter 7 petition and received a full discharge.

    The trustee sought to reopen and revoke Mack’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge based on evidence that Mack had filed inaccurate schedules. Mack ultimately stipulated to the waiver of the discharge. By knowingly making false statements (or statements in reckless disregard for the truth) in the petition and schedules and swearing under oath that the information contained in the petition and schedules was true and accurate, Mack violated SCR 20:3.3(a)(1). By testifying falsely at multiple meetings of creditors that the information provided in the schedules was true and accurate and engaging in a course of conduct designed to obtain a bankruptcy discharge by fraudulent means, Mack violated SCR 20:8.4(c). By providing multiple false statements or omissions of material fact to the trustee, Mack violated, in each instance, SCR 20:4.1(a)(1).

    Mack had no prior discipline.




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