January 30, 2009
Reprimand With CLE Requirements
An attorney who had mishandled a civil appeal was publicly reprimanded by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.The factual predicate:
January 2, 2004, Attorney Mulligan filed a cross-appeal seeking reversal of the jury's finding that a breach of contract had occurred. He argued that the evidence at trial was not sufficient to support the jury's verdict. However, Attorney Mulligan never obtained the transcripts from the trial and never filed a transcript from the jury trial with the court of appeals. Attorney Mulligan never consulted with or advised D.C. [the client] that he was proceeding with the appeal without having obtained the trial transcripts. Indeed, Attorney Mulligan did not communicate with his client after January 17, 2004——the date Attorney Mulligan received advance fees to pursue the appeal——until June 3, 2005——the date he notified D.C. of the court of appeals' adverse decision.
In its decision, the court of appeals observed:
On cross-appeal, [D.C] challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support the jury's verdict. His argument, however, is wholly undeveloped and unsupported by any reference to the record or trial testimony. See
Wis. Stat. (Rule) 809.19(1)(e) (2003-04). Because [D.C] proffers no argument susceptible to meaningful appellate review, we affirm the judgment against him.
The attorney must also complete CLE-approved courses in legal writing and appellate practice. (MIke Frisch)
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Fair enough. I am of the opinion that a single act of malpractice- letting the SOL run, missing a deadline for an appeal- is not, without more, sufficient grounds for discipline.
But this guy made so many basic, 2+2 type errors in this appeal, that it called his basic competence as a lawyer into question.
Posted by: BB | Jan 31, 2009 4:41:59 PM