Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Michael M. Rajek

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2015 WI 18 SUPREME COURT CASE NO.: COMPLETE TITLE: OF WISCONSIN 2011AP387-D Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant-Respondent, v. Michael M. Rajek, Respondent-Appellant. DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS AGAINST RAJEK OPINION FILED: SUBMITTED ON BRIEFS: ORAL ARGUMENT: February 20, 2015 SOURCE OF APPEAL: COURT: COUNTY: JUDGE: JUSTICES: CONCURRED: DISSENTED: NOT PARTICIPATING: ATTORNEYS: For the respondent-appellant, there were briefs by Michael M. Rajek, Eau Claire, and oral argument by Michael M. Rajek. For the complainant-respondent, there was a brief by Wayne A. Arnold, Rice Lake, and oral argument by Wayne A. Arnold. 2015 WI 18 NOTICE This opinion is subject to further editing and modification. The final version will appear in the bound volume of the official reports. No. 2011AP387-D STATE OF WISCONSIN : IN SUPREME COURT In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Michael M. Rajek, Attorney at Law: FILED Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant-Respondent, FEB 20, 2015 v. Diane M. Fremgen Clerk of Supreme Court Michael M. Rajek, Respondent-Appellant. ATTORNEY disciplinary proceeding. Violations found; no discipline imposed. ¶1 PER CURIAM. Attorney Michael M. Rajek appeals from the report of the referee, James G. Curtis, who determined that the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) had proven violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys on five of the six counts alleged in the OLR’s amended complaint and recommended that this court publicly reprimand Attorney Rajek and require him to pay the full costs of this disciplinary proceeding, which were $18,760.87 as of November 22, 2013. No. ¶2 2011AP387-D When reviewing a referee’s report and recommendation, we affirm the referee's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous, but we review the referee's conclusions of law on a de novo basis. In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Inglimo, 2007 WI 126, ¶5, 305 Wis. 2d 71, 740 N.W.2d 125. the appropriate particular level facts recommendation, of but of each discipline case, to impose independent benefiting from it. We determine of In given the re the referee's Disciplinary Proceedings Against Widule, 2003 WI 34, ¶44, 261 Wis. 2d 45, 660 N.W.2d 686. ¶3 Having considered the referee’s report and the parties’ briefs and oral argument on appeal, we conclude that Attorney Rajek committed the rule violations on five counts as found by the referee. The violations, however, involved relatively minor failures of communication, including failures in some instances information to to provide clients certain under notices Supreme Court or pieces Rule of (SCR) 20:1.15(b)(4m), which sets forth the alternative procedure for handling advanced fees. They did not involve the sufficiency or quality of the legal representation provided by Attorney Rajek to his clients. Given the particular facts of this case and the nature of the violations, we determine that it is not necessary to impose any discipline on Attorney Rajek and that there is no basis for a restitution award. We do require Attorney Rajek to pay costs, but we reduce the amount of costs he must pay to $8,500. 2 No. ¶4 2011AP387-D IT IS ORDERED that Michael M. Rajek is found to have committed violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys as alleged in Counts 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 of the amended complaint, but no discipline shall be imposed upon Michael M. Rajek. ¶5 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that within 60 days of the date of this order, Michael M. Rajek shall pay to the Office of Lawyer Regulation costs in the amount of $8,500. 3 No. 1 2011AP387-D