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In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Selmer

Supreme Court of Wisconsin

July 15, 2016

In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Scott E. Selmer, Attorney at Law:
v.
Scott E. Selmer, Respondent. Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant,

         DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS AGAINST SELMER

         ATTORNEY disciplinary proceeding. Attorney's license suspended.

          PER CURIAM.

         ¶1 This is a reciprocal discipline matter. On November 13, 2015, the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) filed a complaint and motion pursuant to Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 22.22, [1] requesting this court suspend Attorney Scott E. Selmer's license to practice law in Wisconsin for a period of 12 months, as reciprocal discipline identical to that imposed by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Upon our review, we agree that it is appropriate to impose the same 12-month suspension imposed by the Minnesota Supreme Court, as well as the costs of this proceeding, and we reject Attorney Selmer's arguments to the contrary.

         ¶2 Attorney Selmer was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in 1978. Attorney Selmer's Wisconsin law license is currently suspended for failure to comply with CLE reporting requirements, for failure to pay annual bar dues, and for failure to provide a required trust account certification. Attorney Selmer was admitted to practice law in Minnesota in 1984. He presently resides in New York.

         ¶3 The following facts are taken from the OLR's complaint relating to the Minnesota disciplinary proceedings and the documents attached to that complaint. Attorney Selmer's professional disciplinary history in Wisconsin consists of:

•A 1990 private reprimand for practicing law when his license was suspended for failure to meet CLE requirements, by filing documents with the Pierce County Circuit Court and Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Private Reprimand 1990-23.
• A 1995 public reprimand for failure to promptly provide his client in a personal injury matter a full accounting of funds he received on her behalf, charging and suing that client to collect an unreasonable fee, abusing the discovery process in that action, and failing to maintain proper trust account books and records, falsely certifying that he had done so and commingling personal and client funds in his trust account. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Selmer, 195 Wis.2d 687, 538 N.W.2d 252 (1995).
•A 1999 one-year suspension for engaging in a pattern of frivolous and harassing conduct by filing counterclaims alleging racial discrimination in actions brought against him by his creditors and by filing claims in state and federal courts alleging racial discrimination, knowingly offering false and misleading evidence in response to discovery requests, failing to supplement incomplete and misleading responses to discovery requests, failing to comply or make reasonably diligent efforts to comply with legally proper discovery requests, making false statements of fact in attempts to advance his own interests, and engaging in dishonest conduct in those actions. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Selmer, 227 Wis.2d 85, 595 N.W.2d 373 (1999).
•A 2009 public reprimand for failure to comply with the terms of probation, failure to file timely individual income tax returns, and a fifth-degree assault conviction. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Selmer, 2009 WI 15, 315 Wis.2d 650, 761 N.W.2d 6.

         ¶4 In the Minnesota proceeding giving rise to this reciprocal discipline case, the Minnesota Supreme Court noted that Attorney Selmer had been disciplined in Minnesota on four prior occasions. In 1995 Attorney Selmer was publically reprimanded and placed on probation for several violations, including abusing the discovery process. In re Selmer, 529 N.W.2d 684, 685 (Minn. 1995). In 1995, the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed an admonition issued to Attorney Selmer for improperly charging a client. In 1997, the Minnesota Supreme Court suspended Attorney Selmer for 12 months for engaging in a pattern of harassing and frivolous litigation and failing to comply with discovery requests. In re Selmer, 568 N.W.2d 702, 704-05 (Minn. 1997). In 2008, the Minnesota Supreme Court publicly reprimanded Attorney Selmer and placed him on probation in part for failing to pay a judgment entered against him. In re Selmer, 749 N.W.2d 30, 33 (Minn. 2008).

         ¶5 On July 15, 2015, effective July 29, 2015, the Minnesota Supreme Court indefinitely suspended Attorney Selmer's Minnesota law license, with no right to petition for reinstatement for a minimum of 12 months. The Minnesota Supreme Court found that Attorney Selmer violated Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct sections 1.1, 3.1, 3.4(c), 3.4(d), and 8.4(d) through a pattern of frivolous and harassing litigation, a failure to obey court orders, and a failure to comply with legally proper discovery requests. The Minnesota court found that Attorney Selmer filed ten separate lawsuits in two different counties, the court of appeals, and a Minnesota federal district court, and then repeatedly failed to obey court orders, appear for hearings, or otherwise respond to pleadings and discovery requests. All ten lawsuits were dismissed based either on the frivolity of Attorney Selmer's arguments or because he failed to comply with court rules. The court noted that two of Attorney Selmer's four prior Minnesota disciplinary proceedings were for similar conduct, engaging in a pattern of harassing and frivolous litigation.

         ¶6 In its complaint, the OLR alleged that Attorney Selmer is subject to reciprocal discipline and that, by failing to notify OLR of his suspension in Minnesota for professional misconduct within 20 days of the effective date of its imposition, Selmer violated SCR 22.22(1).

         ¶7 The OLR asked this court to issue an order, pursuant to SCR 22.22(2)(b), directing Attorney Selmer to inform the court in writing of any claim by him, predicated upon the grounds set forth in SCR 22.22(3), that the imposition of discipline reciprocal to that imposed in Minnesota would be unwarranted, and of the factual basis for any such claim. Delay ensued because of difficulty completing proof of service. This court issued the requested order on February 9, 2016.

         ¶8 On March 1, 2016, Attorney Selmer responded to this court's order. He filed an answer to the order to show cause, an answer to the complaint, and a motion to dismiss or for an extension of time.

         ¶9 Attorney Selmer's cursory answer merely denies "each and every material allegation of the complaint" and ...


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