The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR), an agency of the Wisconsin
Supreme Court, provides these summaries. 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. Find
the full text of these summaries at www.wicourts.gov/olr.
Public Reprimand of Daniel W. Morse
The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) and Daniel W. Morse, Mequon, entered into an agreement for imposition of a public reprimand pursuant to SCR 22.09(1). A Wisconsin Supreme Court-appointed referee approved the agreement, and issued the public reprimand on April 5, 2022, in accordance with SCR 22.09(3).
In 1995, R.K. and his wife deeded a remainder interest in their home to their four children. The property is located in Minnesota.
In July 2016, R.K.’s son, M.K, contacted Morse on his father’s behalf. R.K. wanted to take the steps necessary to ensure his children’s current spouses and one child’s ex-spouse would not have a claim to an interest in the property. Morse suggested it might be better to hire a Minnesota lawyer but R.K. opted not to do so.
Morse quoted a fee of $1,500-$2,000 for the representation but did not provide further written communication about the terms of the representation. In May 2017, Morse sent R.K. an invoice for $2,000 in legal fees and $210.80 in costs. R.K. paid the invoice.
Beginning in May 2017 and continuing through January 2018, Morse made three attempts to record deeds he drafted on R.K.’s behalf. After each of the first two attempts were rejected, Morse made changes to the deeds and attempted to record them again. When he did not receive a response to his inquiry to the registrar after the third rejection, Morse failed to follow up and took no further steps to record the deeds.
Morse did not inform R.K. of any of the three rejections. M.K. made several attempts to contact Morse for an update on R.K.’s matter but Morse did not respond.
After learning the deeds had not been recorded, another lawyer sought a refund on R.K.’s behalf. Morse refused to refund the fees, asserting they had been earned. After the conclusion of the OLR’s investigation of this matter, Morse paid $2,210.80 in restitution to R.K.
After initially endeavoring on behalf of R.K. to gain the knowledge necessary to affect title to Minnesota real estate property by drafting and recording deeds but then abandoning his efforts after the deeds were returned to him several times, Morse violated SCR 20:1.3.
By failing to respond to inquiries from M.K. about the status of R.K.’s matter and failing to inform R.K. that the deeds had been rejected and, therefore, not recorded, Morse violated SCR 20:1.4(a)(3).
Before sending the May 12, 2017, billing invoice, by failing to provide R.K. a written communication stating the terms of the representation, Morse violated SCR 20:1.5(b)(1).
By failing to promptly refund any portion of the $2,210.80 in fees and costs when the objectives of the representation (the drafting and recording of the deeds) had not been achieved, Morse violated SCR 20:1.16(d).
In 2019, Morse’s Wisconsin law license was suspended for one year for professional misconduct. His license was reinstated in 2021.
Public Reprimand of Daniel A. Enright
The OLR and Daniel A. Enright, Eau Claire, entered into an agreement for imposition of a public reprimand, pursuant to SCR 22.09. A supreme court-appointed referee approved the agreement, and issued the public reprimand on March 23, 2022.
Enright represented a client in a civil matter, in which the client alleged that her ex-husband physically assaulted and battered her, resulting in serious injury. The court dismissed the suit without prejudice because Enright failed to serve the defendant with an authenticated copy of the summons and complaint within the required statutory period.
Enright later filed a second suit on the client’s behalf regarding the same allegations. Enright hoped that the ex-husband’s payment of some medical expenses would extend the original statute of limitation. When he filed the second civil case, Enright did not know that a restitution payment stemming from the ex-husband’s related criminal case could extend the statute of limitation. The defense filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that while restitution payments made by the ex-husband could have extended the original statute of limitation, only payments made before the original statute of limitation expired would have such an effect. As a result, any extension of the relevant statute of limitation expired months before Enright filed the second civil case.
While the case was still open, Enright and the client, without independent representation, entered into an agreement intended to limit Enright’s liability for his handling of the client’s claims. In return, Enright agreed to pay the client $15,000 by a specified date. About one month after Enright and the client entered into the agreement, the court accepted the parties’ stipulation to dismiss the second civil case on the merits without costs to either party. Enright ultimately paid the client $5,000, after the date specified in the agreement. Enright made no further payments, thereby voiding the agreement with the client.
By failing to timely serve the defendant with an authenticated copy of the summons and complaint within the required statutory time period for the first civil suit, Enright violated SCR 20:1.3. By failing to properly determine the expiration date of the applicable statute of limitation and by failing to understand how the expiration date for that statute of limitation may have been extended, resulting in the dismissal of the client’s second civil suit, Enright violated SCR 20:1.1. By entering into an agreement with the client that absolved Enright of any liability arising from his representation without advising the client of the appropriateness of independent representation, and without the client obtaining such independent representation, Enright violated SCR 20:1.8(h)(1).
Enright had no prior discipline.