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Attorney faces license suspension over 16 charges of misconduct

By: Erika Strebel, [email protected]//July 28, 2016//

Attorney faces license suspension over 16 charges of misconduct

By: Erika Strebel, [email protected]//July 28, 2016//

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A Ripon attorney faces a 60-day license suspension over charges that, among other things, she broke several trust-account rules and mishandled two clients’ cases.

According to an Office of Lawyer Regulation complaint filed July 15, Melinda Alfredson is suspected of 16 counts of misconduct involving her dealings with three clients and the OLR.

Alfredson could not be reached using the email address listed on the OLR and State Bar of Wisconsin websites and no telephone number was listed on either site.

Alfredson, who has been licensed to practice in the state since 2009, had been hired by a client to represent him in two Social Security claims in January 2013, according to the complaint.

The claims were denied both by the Social Security Administration and an administrative-law judge. The client told her he wanted to appeal but the SSA never received a letter that the client intended to appeal nor did it ever receive an appeal. Alfredson, according to the OLR, drafted both a letter of intent to appeal and an appeal proper but never sent them.

The client called the SSA’s Oshkosh office and learned that his case had been closed because no one had filed an appeal. Alfredson claimed, though, that she had called the office before withdrawing from the client’s case in June 2013 and was told the matter was still open.

In a separate case involving a client who had hired Alfredson in April 2014 to represent him in a custody and paternity matter, Alfredson drafted a petition, summons and affidavit but took three months to file it. However, she made no effort to serve the opposing party yet billed the client for service, later telling the OLR she was never sent a bill from the process server and had no proof of the attempted service.

The client, in August 2014, requested a refund of the $1,500 advance fee he had paid Alfredson, who lied that she could not return the fee because it was being held in trust. Rather, the fee had been deposited into her business account. By the date of the complaint, Alfredson still had not refunded the fee to the client.

The OLR also alleges that Alfredson delayed signing paperwork that would have allowed for the substitute of another lawyer in the client’s case, taking a month to file the document.

The OLR’s complaint also charges Alfredson with various trust-account violations, including making seven online transactions, failing to deal with overdrafts and co-mingling client money with earned fees and personal money. The OLR also alleges Alfredson told a court she was holding money in trust for a client but had no money belonging to that client in her trust account.

The OLR is asking the justices to suspend Alfredson’s license for 60 days and order her to pay back $1,500 to a client and $309.71 to the bank where she had the trust account.

According to the OLR and State Bar, Alfredson’s license is in good standing, and she has never been disciplined by the high court.

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