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In re Disciplinary Proceedings Moldenhauer

Supreme Court of Wisconsin

May 24, 2016

In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against James G. Moldenhauer, Attorney at Law: Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant,
v.
James G. Moldenhauer, Respondent

          Attorney's license suspended.

          OPINION

Page 606

          ATTORNEY disciplinary proceeding.

          PER CURIAM.

          [¶1] We review a stipulation filed pursuant to Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 22.12 by the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) and Attorney James G. Moldenhauer. In the stipulation, Attorney Moldenhauer agrees that he engaged in two counts of misconduct involving his clients, G.C. (now deceased), and G.C.'s wife, L.C. (collectively, the C.s.). Attorney Moldenhauer also agrees that a 60-day suspension of his license to practice law in Wisconsin is an appropriate sanction for his misconduct. The OLR does not request restitution, and it also does not seek the imposition of costs against Attorney Moldenhauer.

          [¶2] After careful review of the matter, we approve the stipulation and agree that a 60-day suspension of Attorney Moldenhauer's license to practice law is an appropriate sanction. Because this matter is being resolved without the appointment of a referee, we do not impose any costs on Attorney Moldenhauer. No restitution was sought and none is ordered.

          [¶3] Attorney Moldenhauer was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in 1982. The most recent address furnished by Attorney Moldenhauer to the State Bar of Wisconsin is in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

          [¶4] Attorney Moldenhauer has a disciplinary history. In 1996, Attorney Moldenhauer consented to a private reprimand for misconduct consisting of failing to act with reasonable diligence, failing to communicate properly with a client, and failing to render a full accounting of estate funds in respose to a client's request. Private Reprimand 96-28. In 2006, Attorney Moldenhauer was publicly reprimanded for misconduct in two matters. In the first matter, he failed to act with reasonable diligence, failed to return a client's file, and failed to cooperate with the OLR's investigation. In the second matter, he failed to provide his client with an itemized billing statement, failed to refund the unearned portion of his advanced fee, and failed to cooperate in the OLR's investigation. Public Reprimand of James G. Moldenhauer, 2006-11. In 2008, Attorney Moldenhauer was publicly reprimanded for misconduct consisting of failing to communicate properly with a client, failing to act with reasonable diligence, and failing to obey a court order. Public Reprimand of James G. Moldenhauer, 2008-01. In 2012, Attorney Moldenhauer was publicly reprimanded for misconduct consisting of failing to communicate properly with a client and failing to act with reasonable diligence. Public Reprimand of James G. Moldenhauer, 2012-13.

          [¶5] In September 2015, the OLR filed a complaint alleging that Attorney Moldenhauer engaged in two counts of misconduct involving his clients, the C.s. In March 2016, the OLR and Attorney Moldenhauer filed a stipulation pursuant to SCR 22.12. We take the following facts from the parties' stipulation.

Page 607

          [¶6] In 2009, the C.s. hired Attorney Moldenhauer to represent them in a Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) tax matter concerning the 2004 through 2007 tax years. In July 2011, Attorney Moldenhauer filed a petition with the Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission (Commission) appealing a DOR decision that disposed of two cases involving the C.s.

          [¶7] On October 12, 2011, the Commission sent a Notice of Telephone Status Conference to Attorney Moldenhauer informing him that a telephone status conference would be held before a Commissioner on December 13, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. The notice stated: " If the Commission is unable to reach you or your representative by telephone, the conference will proceed, and the petitions for review will be subject to dismissal, pursuant to Wis. Stat. § § 802.10(7) and 805.03." In a subsequent letter to the C.s., Attorney Moldenhauer stated that he had received the Notice of Telephone Status Conference, and that it was not necessary for them to attend the status conference.

          [¶8] Attorney Moldenhauer failed to appear for the December 13, 2011 telephone status conference, despite the fact that the Commission called Attorney Moldenhauer's office four times at or about the scheduled conference time.

          [¶9] On December 14, 2011, the Commission sent a Status Conference Memorandum and Order to Attorney Moldenhauer. This document confirmed that Attorney Moldenhauer did not appear at the December 13, 2011 telephone status conference; scheduled a telephone status conference for December 21, 2011 at 2:30 p.m.; and warned: " The cases ...


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