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 Proceeding Against Robert W. Horsch
On Feb. 7, 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of Robert W. Horsch, Sheboygan, for three years. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Horsch, 2020 WI 10. No costs were assessed against Horsch because the matter was resolved pursuant to SCR 22.12 with the filing of a stipulation and without the appointment of a referee.
On Sept. 10, 2018, Horsch was charged with eight felonies: one count of neglecting a child resulting in great bodily harm; one count of neglecting a child resulting in bodily harm; one count of knowingly operating a vehicle while revoked resulting in great bodily harm; and five counts of fifth- or sixth-offense OWI with a passenger under the age of 16. State v. Horsch, Sheboygan County Case No. 2018CF0289. The events leading to the criminal charges occurred on May 1, 2018, when Horsch was driving with five of his children as passengers in his van. Horsch failed to secure his two youngest children – ages 22 months and three years – in their car seats, and the children fell out of the back of the moving van. Both children were injured, one of them seriously. Horsch, unaware that the children had fallen out of the van, continued to drive. Other drivers witnessed the children fall out of the van and summoned help. After identifying the children, the police went to Horsch’s residence to speak with him. The responding officer suspected Horsch was under the influence of a nonalcohol intoxicant. A warrant was obtained and a blood test was performed. That test showed an exceedingly high level of dextromethorphan in Horsch’s system. Dextromethorphan is a drug commonly found in cough syrup.
On Feb. 5, 2019, Horsch pleaded no contest to, and was convicted of, one count of neglecting a child resulting in great bodily harm and one count of fifth- or sixth-offense OWI with a passenger under age 16. The counts of neglecting a child resulting in bodily harm and knowingly operating while revoked resulting in great bodily harm were dismissed but read in for purposes of sentencing. The remaining counts were dismissed. Horsch was sentenced to three years and six months in prison, followed by five years of extended supervision.
By engaging in conduct leading to the two felony convictions, Horsch violated SCR 20:8.4(b).
Horsch was privately reprimanded in 2015, and in 2017 he received a 60-day suspension of his law license.
Disciplinary Proceedings Against Ricardo Perez
On Nov. 19, 2019, the supreme court suspended the law license of Ricardo Perez, Kenosha, for nine months. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Perez, 2019 WI 99. The court also ordered Perez to pay the $1,957.12 cost of the proceeding.
Perez engaged in 21 counts of misconduct with respect to four client grievances and one Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) inquiry.
In each of the four client matters, involving personal injury cases, Perez violated SCR 20:1.3, which requires an attorney to act with reasonable diligence and promptness. In each client matter, Perez failed to keep the client reasonably informed as to case status and to respond to reasonable requests for information, in violation of SCR 20:1.4(a)(3) and (4).
Perez misrepresented case status information to two clients, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(c).
Perez failed to provide a client with her file after the termination of representation or to inform the insurer of the termination of his representation, and failed to provide two additional clients with case file materials after the termination of his representation, all in violation of SCR 20:1.16(d).
Perez failed to cooperate with the OLR’s investigations of the client grievances, violating SCR 22.03(2) in one matter, and both SCR 22.03(2) and (6) in the other three, each enforced under the Rules of Professional Conduct via SCR 20:8.4(h).
Perez failed to provide a client with notice of his suspension or to advise her to seek legal advice of her choice elsewhere, in violation of SCR 22.26(1)(a) and (b), enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(f).
The OLR commenced an investigation related to Perez’s practice while his license was temporarily suspended pursuant to SCR 22.03(4) due to his willful failure to cooperate in an OLR investigation. Perez failed to notify a client, opposing counsel, or the court that his law license had been temporarily suspended, in violation of SCR 22.26(1)(a), (b), and (c), enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(f). Perez twice appeared in Milwaukee County Circuit Court following his temporary suspension, in violation of SCR 22.26(2), enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(f). Finally, Perez failed to respond to the OLR’s written request for a response to the allegation that he practiced law while suspended, in violation of SCR 22.03(2), enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(h).
Perez had no prior discipline.
Public Reprimand of Alf R.H.R. Langan
The OLR and Alf R.H.R. Langan, Green Bay, 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. 6, 2020, in accordance with SCR 22.09(3).
The public reprimand covered three matters.
In the first matter, Langan represented a client in connection with an outstanding criminal warrant. Langan received an advanced fee, which he deposited in his business account, having followed the provisions under SCR 20:1.5(g) that allow for placement of an advanced fee in an account other than a trust account. Following the client’s termination of the representation, Langan did not provide the client the post-representation notices required under SCR 20:1.5(g)(2), and he delayed in his attempt to return the unearned portion of the advanced fee, in violation of SCR 20:1.16(d). As a precondition of the public reprimand, Langan made a refund of the unearned portion of the advanced fee.
The second and third matters involved OLR investigations of separate overdrafts on Langan’s trust account. The investigations led to evidence that Langan had deposited earned fees and other personal funds into his trust account, in violation of SCR 20:1.15(b)(3).
Langan received a public reprimand in 2011 and a supreme court-imposed private reprimand in 2018.
Disciplinary Proceedings Against Terry L. Constant
On Jan. 28, 2020, the supreme court suspended the law license of Terry L. Constant, Kenosha, for six months, effective March 10, 2020. The court further ordered Constant to pay the $13,409.63 cost of the disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Constant, 2020 WI 4.
Constant engaged in eight counts of professional misconduct, seven of which involved violations of provisions of SCR 20:1.15 governing the safeguarding and disbursement of funds held in trust. Constant also converted funds he was to have held in trust, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(c).
The supreme court ordered specific conditions that will attach to reinstatement, including CLE relating to trust account management and two years of trust account monitoring by the OLR.
Constant had no prior discipline.
Disciplinary Proceedings Against Donald J. Harman
On Dec. 18, 2019, the supreme court suspended the law license of Donald J. Harman, La Crosse, for six months, effective Jan. 29, 2020. The court further ordered Harman to pay the $7,662.28 cost of the disciplinary proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Harman, 2019 WI 108.
Harman represented a party to a divorce action in La Crosse County Circuit Court. Harman provided incompetent representation to the client, in violation of SCR 20:1.1. Harman engaged in a prolonged disregard of tax refund provisions in a temporary order in the matter, in violation of SCR 20:3.4(c). Harman further violated SCR 20:3.4(c) by failing to pay a $4,400 judgment granted in favor of adverse counsel for having to respond to Harman’s improper filings and requests. The supreme court ordered that Harman’s satisfaction of that judgment will be a specific condition of his reinstatement.
Harman received public reprimands in 1987, 1989, and 1998. In 2001, Harman received a six-month suspension of his law license.
Disciplinary Proceedings Against Michael M. Krill
On Feb. 20, 2020, the supreme court suspended the law license of Michael M. Krill, Milwaukee, for four and one-half years, retroactive to Aug. 23, 2017. The court also ordered Krill to pay the $21,247.90 cost of the disciplinary proceeding. In addition, the court ordered Krill to pay an outstanding judgment of $301,412.41, as well as restitution to two former clients in an amount totaling $22,900. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Krill, 2020 WI 20.
Beginning in 2015, Krill began appropriating client funds and investing those funds in an overseas advanced-fee scheme run by another Krill client. In one instance involving litigation over proceeds of an insurance settlement, Krill transferred – without court or client authorization – $301,412.41 in disputed settlement funds to bank accounts in the United Kingdom and China, falsely advising the trial court that he had invested the proceeds in bonds. Krill thereafter failed to refund the proceeds and refused to account for the funds. The presiding court ultimately held Krill in contempt and jailed him. Thereafter, Krill refused to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation into the matter, and the whereabouts of the disputed settlement funds remain unknown.
In other client matters, Krill continued to participate in the advanced-fee scam, taking client funds, depositing them in his client trust account, and, after taking a fee for himself, investing the funds in unknown overseas bank accounts. In the process, Krill relied on forged and fraudulent documents, promising his clients both the return of their original investments and exorbitant profits for participating. In one matter, Krill used his condominium as collateral to induce a client to invest funds. Other actions by Krill involved obvious conflicts of interest. Moreover, Krill refused to cooperate in the OLR’s multiple investigations into the advanced-fee scheme and has not accounted for any of the missing client funds.
Krill violated SCR 20:1.15(b)(l), by failing to hold client funds in trust; former SCR 20:1.15(d)(2) and SCR 20:1.15(e)(2), by failing to provide an accounting after disbursing client funds; former SCR 20:1.15(j)(3)a and SCR 20:1.15(f)(2), by making cash withdrawals from his trust account; SCR 20:3.3(a)(l), by making false statements of fact to a tribunal regarding his purported investment of client funds proceeds; SCR 20:3.4(c), by knowingly disobeying orders of the court, leading to the court holding him in contempt; SCR 20:8.4(c), for multiple acts of deceit and dishonesty pertaining to the advanced fee scam; SCR 22.03(2) and (6), enforced via SCR 20:8.4(h), by failing to cooperate with the OLR’s investigations; and SCR 20:1.7(a)(l) and SCR 20:1.8(a), for various conduct involving conflicts of interest.
Krill had no prior discipline.
Disciplinary Proceedings Against Richard E. Reilly
On Feb, 20, 2020, the supreme court suspended the law license of Richard E. Reilly, Milwaukee, for 60 days and ordered him to pay the $15,830.87 cost of the disciplinary proceeding. The court further ordered Reilly to satisfy any additional financial obligations that may be ordered by the circuit court in the first matter described below. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Reilly, 2020 WI 19. On Feb. 28, 2020, the court issued an order modifying the effective date of the suspension to May 1, 2020.
Reilly engaged in misconduct in two matters.
In the first matter, a client hired Reilly in June 2014 to represent her in a divorce action. In the divorce judgment, the judge appointed a conservator to manage the client’s funds, maintenance, and assets and pay her bills. The divorce judgment ordered that title to a 2014 Range Rover vehicle immediately be transferred to the client. The divorce judgment ordered that the client’s one-half of an Ameritrade account be cashed in and the funds provided to the client’s conservator, who was to manage her assets and pay her bills as specified in the divorce judgment. The circuit court found Reilly in contempt of court for multiple intentional and willful violations of the divorce judgment.
Reilly failed to deliver the funds from the sale of the 2014 Range Rover vehicle and the funds from the Ameritrade account to the conservator, in violation of former SCR 20:1.15(d)(1) and current SCR 20:1.15(e)(1). Reilly failed to comply with the divorce judgment, in violation of SCR 20:3.4(c). Reilly continued to represent the client in post-judgment proceedings while there was a significant risk that his representation was materially limited by his own personal interest with respect to the order to show cause for contempt, in violation of SCR 20:1.7(a)(2).
In the second matter, a separate client hired Reilly in May 2013 to represent her in a post-divorce matter. On June 14, 2013, counsel for the client’s ex-husband sent a letter to the family court commissioner, copying Reilly, saying that the ex-husband had a bankruptcy proceeding pending so all enforcement and contempt proceedings should be stayed. On Jan. 21, 2014, the client’s ex-husband commenced an adversary case in bankruptcy court by alleging willful violation of the automatic stay with respect to his ex-wife’s action to enforce a support order in the post-divorce matter. Reilly was named as a defendant in the adversary case and was represented in his personal capacity by an attorney from his firm.
Reilly billed his client for his own personal defense as an individually named defendant in the adversary case in bankruptcy court, in violation of SCR 20:1.5(a). Reilly failed to deliver the original case file to his client’s successor counsel, and then only allowed successor counsel to borrow the original case file on the condition that she copy the file at her own expense, in violation of SCR 20:1.16(d).
Reilly previously received a private reprimand in 1985 and a public reprimand in 2004.