Friday, August 26, 2011
Citing "unique factual circumstances," the Wisconsin Supreme Court has imposed a 60-day suspension with requirements that the attorney undergo evaluations to determine whether he suffers from medical incapacity. The court '[did] not impose these conditions lightly" as the attorney "has been a respected and productive attorney in this state for many years." The attorney must waive medical confidentiality as a condition of reinstatement.
The Lawyer Regulation System filed a complaint in a client's matter. Personal service could not be accomplished as the return indicated "HOUSE IS BARRICADED - NO CONTACT." There were further efforts to serve but eventually a default was entered:
Because of the nature of the allegations in the LRS's complaint and an apparent concern for Attorney...'s welfare, the referee took the unusual step of having Investigator Rosen testify at the default hearing regarding his attempts to communicate with Attorney... and the results of his investigation. Investigator Rosen testified that as a result of his inquiries he became concerned that Attorney...may have been experiencing some mental health problems. He noted that he had learned that Attorney...had apparently cut off communication with his family. When that fact was combined with the facts that Attorney..., a respected and successful attorney, had abruptly disconnected his office telephone, had closed his law office, had stopped communicating with clients, had refused to communicate with Investigator Rosen orally, had spoken to the other special investigator only because he had been compelled to do so, and had virtually barricaded himself in his house so that the sheriff's department could not even serve him with process, Investigator Rosen concluded that there were sufficient reasons to believe that Attorney...was experiencing problems.
Justice Roggensack would impose the suspension but not the reinstatement conditions. (Mike Frisch)