February 17, 2009
No Ethical Violation
In an appeal of a reprimand of a lawyer found below to have failed to diligently represent a client charged with a speeding ticket, the Wisconsin Supreme Court found no violation and dismissed the disciplinary matter:
Attorney Ginsberg disputes the referee’s conclusion that he violated SCR 20:1.3. Attorney Ginsberg asserts that that he acted with reasonable diligence and promptness in this matter. He explains that typically if a district attorney rejects a proposed stipulation he would receive notice of a trial date or, alternatively, the file might remain dormant. He provided evidence, including the expert testimony of Attorney Gerald Mowris, that permitting some delay in resolving a traffic case is usually in the client’s best interest. Moreover, the record supports his assertion that his failure to receive either notice that the proposed stipulation had been accepted and executed or notice of entry of judgment was exceedingly unusual. We acknowledge the OLR’s point that Attorney Ginsberg could have made “one phone call inquiring as to the status of his proposed stipulation” or he could have checked the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Program available on the Internet. Ideally, Attorney Ginsberg would have checked the status of his proposed stipulation. However, given this unusual circumstance in which notice of entry of judgment was not provided to either Attorney Ginsberg or his client, we decline to hold that Attorney Ginsberg’s conduct in this case violated his ethical obligation to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client. We conclude that the OLR has failed to establish by clear and substantial evidence that Attorney Ginsberg violated SCR 20:1.3.
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