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In re Callahan

Supreme Court of Wisconsin

February 10, 2016

In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Patrick A. Callahan, Attorney at Law: Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant,
v.
Patrick A. Callahan, Respondent

Attorney's license suspended.

OPINION

Page 99

ATTORNEY disciplinary proceeding.

PER CURIAM

[366 Wis.2d 504] [¶1] We review a stipulation filed pursuant to Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 22.12[1] by the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) and Attorney Patrick A. Callahan. In the stipulation, Attorney Callahan admits the misconduct alleged by the OLR and agrees to a 60-day suspension of his Wisconsin law license.

[366 Wis.2d 505] [¶2] We adopt the stipulated facts and conclusions of law. We agree that Attorney Callahan's misconduct warrants the suspension of his Wisconsin law license for a period of 60 days. The OLR advises that this court should not impose either restitution or the costs of this proceeding upon Attorney Callahan, and we accept that recommendation.

[¶3] Attorney Callahan was admitted to the practice of law in Wisconsin in 1998. Although Attorney Callahan has not been the subject of prior disciplinary proceedings, his law license is currently suspended due to his failure to pay mandatory bar dues, failure to file a trust account certification, and failure to comply with continuing legal education requirements. In addition, Attorney Callahan's law license has been suspended since November 26, 2013, for noncooperation with the OLR's investigation into the matter that is the subject of the complaint and stipulation now before this court.

[¶4] The complaint and stipulation concern five misconduct counts and involve one client, C.R. According to the complaint and the stipulation, C.R. met with Attorney Callahan in April 2011 to discuss her recent and allegedly wrongful termination from her job. In July 2012, Attorney Callahan filed on C.R.'s behalf a discrimination complaint against C.R.'s former employer with the Equal Rights Division (ERD) of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). This discrimination complaint was time-barred, however, because the statutorily imposed deadline to file the complaint expired several months earlier, in February 2012. The DWD-ERD dismissed the complaint as untimely filed.

[¶5] Attorney Callahan appealed the dismissal. Shortly thereafter, Attorney Callahan

Page 100

made an offer to C.R.'s former employer to settle C.R.'s case for $10,000__even [366 Wis.2d 506] though he had no authority from C.R. to settle the case on those terms. The attorney for C.R.'s former employer accepted the offer. Attorney Callahan then represented to the ERD administrative law judge that the parties had settled the case and that settlement paperwork would be forthcoming. After 19 months passed, the ERD administrative law judge affirmed the decision to dismiss C.R.'s discrimination complaint as untimely filed. The administrative law judge noted that, although C.R. appeared blameless for the untimely filing, Attorney Callahan had presented no valid excuse for the delay.

[¶6] In July 2012, on the same day that Attorney Callahan filed the untimely discrimination complaint against C.R.'s former employer with the DWD-ERD, Attorney Callahan also filed a civil suit against C.R.'s former employer. In February 2013, about six weeks before the discovery cutoff date set by the circuit court, Attorney Callahan sent a letter to the circuit court in which he admitted that he had: (1) failed to perform necessary discovery activities to prepare the case adequately; (2) failed to communicate with C.R. about the status of her claim; (3) failed to inform C.R. of the scheduling of her deposition; (4) advised opposing counsel that C.R. would accept $10,000 to settle the case even though he did not have C.R.'s authority to do so; and (5) failed to timely file C.R.'s discrimination complaint with the DWD-ERD and to report this fact to C.R. Attorney Callahan also mailed a copy of this letter to the OLR.

[¶7] At Attorney Callahan's request, the circuit court permitted Attorney Callahan to withdraw from the representation of C.R. The circuit court then dismissed C.R.'s case without prejudice.

[366 Wis.2d 507] [¶8] In April and May 2013, the OLR sent letters to Attorney Callahan seeking information related to his representation of C.R. Attorney Callahan did not respond to these letters, which ultimately led to this court's November 26, 2013 order temporarily suspending Attorney ...


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