A Milwaukee attorney who didn’t tell his clients that their lawsuit was dismissed for six years has been publicly reprimanded.
Mark Tishberg failed to have a lawsuit served on the defendants within the required 90-day window, according to a state Supreme Court decision released Tuesday. That caused the suit, which involved a United Airlines passenger who claimed he was injured on a flight in January 2001, to be dismissed.
Tishberg then did not tell his clients, who were friends of his wife’s family, that the suit was dismissed. Instead, “between October 2004 and March 2010, Attorney Tishberg represented … that he was negotiating a settlement of the lawsuit,” according to the decision.
In addition, he “repeatedly represented … that the case could settle for $12,000” and planned to use money he received from another client to make the payment and prevent his clients from finding out what really happened, according to the decision.
The clients did find out, though, and hired another lawyer to pursue a claim against Tishberg. Tishberg settled with the clients and paid $13,270.85 from his personal retirement account, according to the decision.
The Office of Lawyer Regulation filed its complaint in October 2013, asking the court to suspend him for 90 days. A month later, Tishberg admitted to all five counts of the complaint, but asked for a public reprimand instead.
In June, a referee issued a report agreeing with Tishberg’s recommendation that he not face a 90-day suspension. The court agreed.
“Attorney Tishberg’s attempts to cover up the effects of his failure to timely serve [the] personal injury lawsuit were undeniably foolish,” according to the decison. “However, there is no evidence that Attorney Tishberg attempted or expected to obtain any personal gain as a result of his conduct. In addition, because Attorney Tishberg used his own retirement funds to pay [his clients] the apparent value of their personal injury claim plus their subsequent attorney fees, there was no monetary loss to the client.”
In addition to the public reprimand, the court ordered Tishberg to pay $2,555.89 for the cost of the proceeding.
Tishberg graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1989. Reached Tuesday, Tishberg said he is pleased the Supreme Court agreed with the referee’s recommendations and did not suspend him.