Articles Posted in Professional Malpractice & Ethics

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Petitioners brought suit against Pro Electric Contractors for negligence in connection with Pro Electric’s work as a contractor on a government construction project. Pro Electric argued that the damage at issue occurred because of construction design decisions made by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) and that Pro Electric was simply implementing DOT’s decisions. The district court granted summary judgment for Pro Electric. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the undisputed facts do not support a reasonable inference that Pro Electric failed to comply with its duties in Wis. Stat. 182.0175(2)(am). View "Melchert v. Pro Electric Contractors" on Justia Law

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Although Michael Mandelman entered into a stipulation with the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR), under which he pled no contest to 22 counts of misconduct and agreed that his license to practice law in Wisconsin should be revoked, he appealed from the report and recommendation of the referee, which was based on that stipulation. The court stated that “Essentially, he seeks ... to comment on certain characterizations and findings by the referee and to provide additional support for the referee's recommendation to make his revocation effective as of the date of his prior suspension, May 29, 2009. The court accepted the referee's factual findings and legal conclusions and agreed that the 22 counts of misconduct support the revocation of Mandelman's license to practice law effective as of the effective date of his prior suspension. Because the record was not sufficient to award restitution to any particular person, the court directed Mandelman to work with the OLR and his former colleague to determine who is owed money from trust accounts utilized by Mandelman and in what amounts. Because Mandelman litigated the matter vigorously prior to entering into the stipulation, the court ordered him to pay the full costs of the proceeding, which were $16,943.16. View "Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Mandelman" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a personal injury slip-and-fall action against defendants and defendants moved to disqualify plaintiffs' attorney. At issue was whether defendants had standing to bring a motion to disqualify plaintiffs' attorney where plaintiffs' attorney's law firm had previously represented defendants' exclusive property manager. Also at issue was whether the circuit court erred as a matter of law in applying an "appearance of impropriety" standard in deciding the motion for disqualification. The court held that defendants had standing to move to disqualify opposing counsel where defendants have shown that plaintiffs' attorney's prior representation was so connected with the current litigation that the prior representation was likely to affect the just and lawful determination of defendants' position. The court also held that the circuit court incorrectly applied the standard of law and should have determined the motion for disqualification based on an attorney's duty to a former client in SCR 20:1.9. Accordingly, the court reversed the order of the circuit court and remanded for further proceedings.