Wisconsin Supreme Court
Professional Responsibility – dismissal of complaint
Where attorney Richard J. Podell inadvertently overbilled the ABA for reimbursements, and immediately repaid the money, dismissal is appropriate.
“The referee considered the cases cited by the OLR inapposite based on his credibility determination that Attorney Podell’s conduct was neither knowing nor intentional. See In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Jacobson, 2004 WI 152, ¶50, 277 Wis. 2d 120, 690 N.W.2d 264 (noting that intent can be inferred from the circumstances, and it is proper for the referee to assess an attorney’s credibility with respect to intent). The OLR thus failed to convince the referee ‘that an attorney’s unintentional error or careless mistake in submitting reimbursement vouchers to the ABA, without more, will support a finding that the attorney violated SCR 20:8.4(c).'”
“The referee deemed it significant that when the errors were called to Attorney Podell’s attention, he not only admitted the mistake, but sought to correct the same and took full responsibility for the error.”
Attorneys: For Complainant: Krohn, Robert G., Edgerton; Weigel, William J., Madison; For Respondent: Podell, Richard J., Milwaukee; Cade, Nathaniel , Jr., Milwaukee