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Referee: Oshkosh attorney should pay more than $12K

A referee has agreed that a personal-injury attorney from Oshkosh should pay the majority of the nearly $17,000 spent on his disciplinary proceedings.

The OLR filed charges in 2015 against George Curtis, alleging seven counts of misconduct. Some of the allegations stemmed from his conviction in 2014 for failing to pay taxes for two years and others from his management of his firm’s trust account.

The OLR had sought to have Curtis’ license revoked. Such a step would have banned Curtis indefinitely from practicing law, although he would have been able to apply for reinstatement after five years.

A hearing on the matter was held in 2016 before the court-appointed referee in the case, Rick Esenberg, filed a report earlier in the month recommending that four of the counts of misconduct be dismissed because the OLR had not met its burden of proof. He also recommended that Curtis’ license be suspended for only 120 days.

The OLR on Oct. 16 submitted documents recommending that Curtis pay three-fourths of the costs, although it could not provide the full amount because Esenberg had not yet submitted bills for time and expenses. It amended that filing on Oct. 31 to add Esenberg’s fees of $4,046.56 to the $9,881.91 in counsel fees and disbursements, $2,937.90 worth of court-reporter costs, and $20.50 in service fees the OLR had reported earlier that month. The total cost of the proceedings came to $16,886.87. If the OLR’s recommendation were accepted, Curtis would have to pay $12,665.15.

Esenberg signed off on that amount in a letter filed on Nov. 14.

Curtis has not appealed any of the recommendations, according to court records.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will issue a final decision in the case after reviewing Esenberg’s findings.

About Erika Strebel, erika.strebel@wislawjournal.com

Erika Strebel is the law beat reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal and a law school student at UW-Madison. She can be reached at 414-225-1825.

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