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High court reprimands Mequon lawyer for misleading lender

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday publicly reprimanded a Mequon attorney for misleading a lender after a settlement.

Howard Mitz, who practices in Mequon, graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law and the Illinois Institute of Technology and had been licensed to practice law in Wisconsin since 1973. His license is in good standing, according to the State Bar of Wisconsin’s website.

Mitz, reached Friday, said he was pleased with the court’s decision.

Friday’s discipline was much more lenient than what the Office of Lawyer Regulation had sought. In a complaint from Oct. 16, the OLR had asked that the Supreme Court suspend Mitz’s license for 60 days. Yet, a court-appointed referee recommended that the court instead publicly reprimand him because he had no history of being disciplined.

The Supreme Court agreed that the public reprimand was sufficient and ordered Mitz to pay $6,706.79, or the full costs of the proceeding.

Friday’s discipline stems from a complaint involving Mitz’s representation of his cousin in a car crash lawsuit. Mitz obtained a $100,000 settlement in 2007 for his cousin in that lawsuit. His cousin, alleging he could not work because of his injuries, took out a pre-settlement loan while the lawsuit was pending.

But it took Mitz more than six years to pay the lender after the settlement was reached, and he told the company he had not dispersed any money from the loan. The OLR also alleged that Mitz lied to OLR investigators, claiming he did not know his client had outstanding debts to the loan company.

Mitz did not file an appeal in response to the OLR’s allegations or the court-appointed referee’s report.

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