The state Supreme Court publicly reprimanded an East Troy attorney Tuesday who was sanctioned by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in April 2009.
The case against Patrick Hudec centered on his representation of Roma II – Waterford LLC, a company that owned a restaurant in Racine County. According to the justices’ opinion, Hudec filed an incomplete answer to a lawsuit that didn’t respond to all the claims made against his client.
When a judge found in favor of the plaintiffs, he appealed and claimed they shouldn’t be thrown out because of his mistake. The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment (PDF) but called Hudec out for his “lack of attention to detail” and that his errors in filings appeared “not to be an isolated incident but a pattern of gross and inexcusable inattention to details.”
“We are left shaking our heads!” the Court of Appeals wrote. “Frankly, we are at a loss to understand what is clearly Hudec’s intentional disregard of the rules and the details, including his failure to proofread.”
According to the opinion, he also was criticized for including materials that didn’t pertain to the appeal and ultimately sanctioned $500.
The appellate court’s comments formed the basis for the case brought by the Office of Lawyer Regulation. Hudec stipulated to the findings and agreed a public reprimand was appropriate.
In addition to the private reprimand, Hudec was ordered to pay $1,625.14 for the cost of the proceeding.
Reached by phone, Hudec said the whole situation was caused by accidentally filing the wrong draft of a brief. He blamed it, in part, on “some software problems at the time that simply got out of hand.”
He also said it was an “unfortunate set of circumstances,” but noted that the appellate decision was handed down five years ago.
Hudec has been privately reprimanded three times and publicly reprimanded one other time.
Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson dissented from the rest of the justices Tuesday, writing that giving Hudec another public reprimand “does not comport with the violation of the Code or the concept of progressive discipline.”