Milwaukee personal injury lawyer Michael Hupy received a public reprimand Friday from the Wisconsin Supreme Court and was ordered to pay $35,000 in costs for investigating allegations he violated attorney advertising rules.
Hupy & Abraham SC often uses celebrities such as William Shatner and Robert Vaughn to promote the firm, but the violation found by the court dealt with fraudulent mailings sent to potential clients dating back to 2003.
Specifically, the court cited 2006 ad mailings that highlighted rival attorney Charles Hausmann’s fraud conviction. The referee in the case argued, and the court agreed, that the mailings misled the public.
In the mailing, which originated in 2003, Hupy highlighted that Hausmann was practicing while an appeal was pending in a case related to allegations that Hausmann took kickbacks. But by 2006, when the mailings were still going out, the appeal was no longer pending and Hausmann was legally practicing, so the mailing was making false allegations.
The court wrote, “Hupy sent out a false statement essentially alleging that one of his primary lawyer competitors was violating this court’s suspension order and engaging in unethical conduct in order for Attorney Hupy to gain a competitive advantage over the other lawyer.”
“This not only harmed the other lawyer, but more importantly harmed the public,” the court wrote.
This is the first disciplinary action imposed on Hupy, who fought the sanction, in almost 40 years of practice.