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High court suspends former Madison alderman’s license for 90 days

A former city of Madison alderman has been suspended from practicing law for 90 days.

Michael Briggs, of Briggs Law Office, Oregon, practiced law while his license was suspended during an investigation by the Office of Lawyer Regulation, according to a decision filed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday. His license was suspended between February and December 2013, and after opposing counsel in a family court case pointed out the suspension to the judge, the judge told the Office of Lawyer Regulation that Briggs would not be able to continue on the case until his license is reinstated.

When the OLR inquired, he also misrepresented the extent of his practicing while suspended and did not notify clients of his suspension, according to the decision.

He was also disciplined for his handling of a land contract dispute involving Jeff and Ronna Nyman. In 2011, Briggs obtained a default judgment on behalf of his clients but did not file the judgment with the land records to show that the disputed property had reverted to the Nymans. When it came to garnishing the defendants’ wages, though, Briggs took no action and ignored his clients’ calls, according to the decision.

The OLR’s complaint was filed in June, and Briggs stipulated to the 12 counts of misconduct. His suspension will start Nov. 28.

Briggs graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1975. He was a Madison alderman from 1977 to 1983 and also worked as an administrative law judge in the early 1980s, mostly handling probation and parole cases.

Briggs declined to comment. In June, though, Briggs said he would like to practice part-time, but said he is 79 and that he is “too old to fight this.”

“A 90-day vacation will not hurt me,” he said.

Briggs was in the news in November when he was witness to a murder-suicide at his home law office in Madison. Henry Pullet Jr., who Briggs had represented in a divorce case several years earlier, shot his girlfriend, Elizabeth Singler, 64, at Briggs’ office. Pullet, 68, then killed himself.

About Eric Heisig

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