A suspended Richfield attorney has been disciplined again by the Wisconsin Supreme Court for mishandling a lawsuit and subsequent settlement for a client between 2010 and 2012.
Everett Wood’s license was suspended for 90 days, effective Tuesday, after he stipulated to seven counts of misconduct. His license is currently suspended, as he has not petitioned the Supreme Court to have it reinstated following previous discipline.
Wood was hired by a client to sue GSI General Inc. over a dispute, according to the court’s per curiam decision. When hired, the client gave him $400, and Wood agreed to represent on a one-third contingency fee. However, none of it was put into writing.
Wood filed suit against GSI in March 2011, and the suit was settled for $10,000 by October of that year. The payments would be made incrementally. According to the decision, the client left before the agreement was reached and Wood signed on his behalf. He did not send the client a copy of it, though.
GSI made a $6,000 payment on Feb. 1, 2012. Wood received it but did not tell his client. Two days later, Wood took out $1,866 — presumably his cut of the settlement — but again did not tell his client.
When his client did inquire, Wood did not respond. The client filed a grievance with the Office of Lawyer Regulation on March 1, 2012, and 12 days later Wood sent him a cashier’s check for the settlement, according to the decision.
Once the OLR got involved, Wood was not helpful, according to the decision. When he did respond, he did not provide all the requested information. The OLR’s case was filed in August 2013.
According to the decision, a referee wrote in a report that he was “troubled by the fact that Attorney Wood is again involved in an attorney disciplinary proceeding …”
“This is an unacceptable pattern of misconduct by Attorney Wood,” the referee wrote.
Wood’s law license was suspended for six months in January 2013 for 28 counts of misconduct. The misconduct charges included lack of diligence, failure to cooperate with an OLR investigation and continuing to practice law despite a brief suspension in June 2009.
Any attorney suspended for six or more months must petition the Supreme Court to have his or her license reinstated.
In addition to the suspension, the justices ordered Wood to pay $2,191.38 for the cost of the proceeding.
Wood graduated from University of Wisconsin Law School in 1992. He did not immediately return a message left Tuesday.Follow @eheisigWLJ