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.
Public Reprimand of Colleen Locke
The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) and Colleen Locke, Jefferson, entered into an agreement for imposition of a public reprimand, pursuant to SCR 22.09(1). A Wisconsin Supreme Court-appointed referee thereafter approved the agreement, and issued the public reprimand on Jan. 2, 2019, in accordance with SCR 22.09(3).
Locke appealed a divorce judgment on a client’s behalf. In her briefing, Locke failed to follow appellate procedural rules. She failed to cite to the record, in violation of Wis. Stat. section 809.19(1)(e); she failed to provide accurate page numbers in her table of authorities, in violation of Wis. Stat. section 809.19(a); and she cited virtually no case law and argued facts and theories about how the circuit court should have decided the case – fact-finding issues outside the realm of appellate review. In short, Locke’s briefing of the appellate issues was inadequate and demonstrated a lack of legal understanding and preparation.
In addition, each of the challenged issues Locke raised in her client’s appeal had previously been settled by the parties’ pretrial stipulation, which Locke, on behalf of her client, had agreed to on the record before the circuit court judge, who then incorporated the stipulation into the divorce judgment.
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals found that Locke had filed a frivolous appeal pursuant to Wis. Stat. section 809.25(3). Accordingly, the court of appeals remanded the matter to the circuit court for the purpose of ordering an award to opposing counsel of costs, fees, and attorney fees. The court of appeals ordered any award be directed to Locke personally and not her client. The circuit court entered its order for payment of costs, fees, and attorney fees against Locke. Locke thereafter satisfied the judgment for fees.
By failing to follow appellate rules and procedures in her appellate briefing, including raising issues that the parties had already stipulated to and that had been incorporated without objection into the circuit court’s judgment, Locke violated SCR 20:1.1. By filing a frivolous appeal, Locke violated SCR 20:3.1(a).
Locke has three prior public reprimands, one received in 2009 and two received in 2013.
Disciplinary Proceeding Against T. Gregory Amann
The OLR and T. Gregory Amann, Ellsworth, agreed to the 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. 13, 2018, in accordance with SCR 22.09(3). Public Reprimand of Amann, 2018 OLR 11.
On Oct. 27, 2016, the Board of Bar Examiners (BBE) notified Amann he was required to file his continuing legal education (CLE) report for the 2015-16 reporting period no later than Feb. 1, 2017. Between Oct. 27, 2016, and June 1, 2017, Amann did not file his CLE report, contact the BBE, or verify when he might be suspended. On May 30, 2017, the BBE suspended Amann’s law license. Amann violated SCR 31.10(1) and SCR 22.26(2), enforced via SCR 20:8.4(f), by practicing law in Wisconsin on May 31, 2017, and June 1, 2017, when his license was suspended.
In a second matter, Amann was appointed to represent a man in four criminal cases, including a case in which the client was charged with fourth-offense operating while intoxicated. The client’s arrest for the conduct leading to the OWI (fourth) case resulted in the revocation of his probation related to a 2013 conviction. On April 22, 2014, the court imposed a $15,000 cash bond in the OWI (fourth) case, which the client was unable to post. The $15,000 cash bond was imposed only in the OWI (fourth) case.
On Jan. 21, 2016, the client accepted a plea agreement to resolve all four cases based on Amann’s inaccurate advice that, while the client would not receive any sentence credit related to one count of burglary, the sentence would begin to run on the date the cash bond was imposed rather than the sentencing date.
After the client learned that his sentence in the burglary case ran from April 27, 2016, rather than April 22, 2014, he attempted to contact Amann numerous times to request Amann’s assistance. Between Nov. 28, 2016, and April 2, 2017, Amann failed to review the four cases sufficiently to realize that he had provided the client inaccurate information based on his mistaken belief that the $15,000 cash bond applied to all four cases. On April 3, 2017, Amann realized his mistake and determined the error should be addressed by appellate counsel. Between April 3 and June 27, 2017, Amann did not file a motion to extend time to file a notice of intent to pursue postconviction relief or take other action to advance the client’s interests.
Amann violated SCR 20:1.3 by failing to timely ascertain the client’s cash bond applied only to the OWI (fourth) case, failing to order hearing transcripts after promising to do so, and failing to timely file a motion to extend time to file a notice of intent to pursue postconviction relief.
In 2014, Amann received a private reprimand for violating SCR 20:8.4(b) and SCR 31.10(1) and SCR 22.26(2), enforced via SCR 20:8.4(f).
Disciplinary Proceedings Against David W. Schiltz
On Dec. 28, 2018, the supreme court suspended the law license of David W. Schiltz, Lake Geneva, for nine months. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Schiltz, 2018 WI 116. The court further ordered Schiltz to pay $3,305 in restitution and the $4,705.70 cost of the disciplinary proceeding. As a condition of reinstatement, Schiltz must obtain 25 CLE credits, including courses on ethics and trust account matters.
Schiltz practiced primarily in estate matters and also regularly represented a municipality. Schiltz committed 25 counts of misconduct.
Five counts of misconduct related to Schiltz continuing to practice law following his May 31, 2016, CLE suspension, in violation of SCR 22.26(2) and SCR 31.10(1), enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(f).
Seven counts of misconduct related to Schiltz failing to notify clients that his Wisconsin law license had been suspended, failing to advise them to seek successor counsel, and failing to provide written notification of his suspension to the appropriate courts and opposing counsel, in violation of SCR 22.26(1).
Three counts of misconduct related to dishonest conduct, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(c). In the first instance, Schiltz falsely informed a client that he had resolved a claim against an estate, when he had not done so. In the second case, Schiltz sent an invoice charging a client for a publication of notice to creditors, which notice Schiltz had never submitted for publication. In the third instance of dishonest conduct, Schiltz filed with the BBE a petition for reinstatement in which he falsely stated that he had not actively represented clients during his license suspension.
Two counts of misconduct related to Schiltz failing to disburse funds he had held in his trust account to current and former clients, in violation of former SCR 20:1.15(d)(1) and current SCR 20:1.15(e)(1).
One count of misconduct related to Schiltz failing to respond to a regulatory agency’s attempts to contact him regarding its claim against a client, in violation of SCR 20:1.3.
One count of misconduct related to Schiltz failing to respond to a client’s telephone calls regarding the status of a probate matter, in violation of SCR 20:1.4(a)(4).
The final six counts of misconduct related to Schiltz failing to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation of his conduct, in violation of SCR 22.03(2) and SCR 22.03(6), enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(h).
Schiltz had no prior discipline.
Public Reprimand of Sallie L. Rubenzer
The OLR and Sallie L. Rubenzer, West Bend, entered into an agreement for imposition of a public reprimand pursuant to SCR 22.09(1). A supreme court-appointed referee thereafter approved the agreement, and issued the public reprimand on Jan. 28, 2019, in accordance with SCR 22.09(3).
Rubenzer was found guilty on May 9, 2017, of her fifth OWI offense. Her conduct violated SCR 20:8.4(b), which provides that it is misconduct for a lawyer to commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.
The OWI charge on which the reprimand is based arose out of an incident that occurred May 5, 2016. Rubenzer pleaded no contest and was sentenced on May 9, 2017, to three years’ probation conditioned on 12 months in jail with Huber privileges. The court also revoked Rubenzer’s driver’s license for three years and imposed a fine and court costs totaling $5,175. Rubenzer then appealed her conviction, claiming a police officer’s warrantless entry into her garage that preceded her arrest was done in violation of her constitutional rights. The court of appeals affirmed Rubenzer’s conviction on Oct. 4, 2018.
In addition to completing the court-ordered treatment required by her conviction, Rubenzer voluntarily participated in further treatment intended to help her maintain sobriety.
In 2003, Rubenzer received a private reprimand for violations (not involving alcohol) of SCR 20.1.1 and SCR 20:1.16(d). In 2004, Rubenzer received a private reprimand for violating SCR 20:8.4(b) based on her third OWI offense. In 2007, Rubenzer was publicly reprimanded for violating SCR 20:8.4(b) based on her fourth OWI offense. Finally, in 2009, Rubenzer was publicly reprimanded for appearing at a client’s final divorce hearing while intoxicated, thereby violating SCR 20:1.1.
Disciplinary Proceedings Against Sonja Davig Huesmann
On Dec. 28, 2018, the supreme court suspended the law license of Sonja Davig Huessman (also known as Sonja C. Davig), La Crosse, for 60 days. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Davig, 2018 WI 114. The court further ordered Davig Huesmann to pay the $10,360.04 cost of the proceeding.
Davig Huesmann committed eight counts of misconduct. By converting to her own purposes $13,732.43 belonging to an estate, Davig Huesmann violated SCR 20:8.4(c). By failing to hold in trust $13,732.43 relating to an estate, Davig Huesmann violated SCR 20:1.15(b)(1). By failing to hold $14,677.27 in trust for eight additional clients, Davig Huesmann violated SCR 20:1.15(b)(1).
By depositing $28,000 in personal funds into her trust account, Davig Huesmann violated former SCR 20:1.15(b)(3) (effective through June 30, 2016). Because the deposits were intended to conceal her conversions and failure to hold client funds in trust, Davig Huesmann also violated SCR 20:8.4(c).
By failing to maintain trust account records that complied with the requirements of SCR 20:1.15, including the transaction register, client ledgers, deposit slips, checks, and monthly reconciliations, Davig Huesmann violated former SCR 20:1.15(f)(1)a., b., d., e.1, and g. (effective through June 30, 2016). By making electronic (internet) deposits to and disbursements from her trust account from at least Jan. 2, 2013, through Feb. 6, 2014, Davig Huesmann violated former SCR 20:1.15(e)(4)c. (effective through June 30, 2016).
By failing to respond to multiple letters from the OLR and by providing incomplete and contradictory responses, necessitating the filing of two motions for orders to show cause why her license should not be suspended for willfully failing to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation, Davig Huesmann violated SCR 22.03(2) and SCR 22.03(6), which are enforced via SCR 20:8.4(h).
Davig Huesmann had no prior discipline.