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Former Madison lawyer apologizes for ‘offensive personality’ in front of high court

By: Michaela Paukner, [email protected]//October 29, 2019//

Former Madison lawyer apologizes for ‘offensive personality’ in front of high court

By: Michaela Paukner, [email protected]//October 29, 2019//

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A former Madison lawyer suspended for frivolously suing a judge in her foreclosure case is fighting another complaint from the Office of Lawyer Regulation. Wendy Nora could lose her license for another two years for alleged misconduct surrounding her client representation in state and federal foreclosure cases.

In March 2018, the high court suspended Nora’s license for a year for filing frivolous federal lawsuits against the opposing counsel and judge in her own foreclosure case. She accused Judge Juan Colas of discrimination and sought $10 billion worth of damages.

Now, in her second case from the OLR, Nora is arguing she has been denied due process. She presented her defense to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday. She said the bifurcation of her cases, which she called Nora 1 and Nora 2, prevented her from using the proceedings in Nora 1 as a defense against the OLR’s “alleged selective and vindictive prosecution.”

Nora said she was never allowed to be heard on a motion to dismiss. She said she was trying to fight on behalf of her clients and said she didn’t see her “zealous defense of homeowners” to be a reason to disbar her.

“I think my personality has been offensive,” said Nora. “I have been overzealous. It is a flaw in my character but, in my practice from 1990 to 2008, I did not display this kind of overzealous zeal.”

Paul Schwarzenbart, who appeared on behalf of the OLR, said the OLR attempted to join Nora’s two cases, but a referee denied the motion to combine the cases to avoid delaying a hearing.

Chief Justice Pat Roggensack asked Schwarzenbart about the number of documents involved in the cases.

“Documents in this case grow topsy,” Roggensack said. “Every time we turn around, there’s another stack of materials.”

Schwarzenbart said he also wanted to discuss the mounting document pile.

“This is a simple case, notwithstanding the fact that I think in my office this case grew to eight or nine banker’s boxes worth of materials,” said Schwarzenbart.

He argued Nora made allegations against judges with no attempt to prove them and only to bring about a delay.

Nora told the judges she was sorry that she had seemed disrespectful to the courts and judicial officers.

“We can only know what we know at the time that we know it,” said Nora.

Schwarzenbart called her apology shallow and years late.

“She half-heartedly and years later expresses some remorse for what she calls performance deficiency,” Schwarzenbart said. “That is grossly minimizing if not denying the conduct she engaged in.”

The OLR asked the state Supreme Court to suspend Nora’s license for one year, but a referee recommended extending it to two years.

Nora graduated from UW Law School in 1975. She practiced law in Madison and at Access Legal Services in Minneapolis. Her Minnesota and Wisconsin licenses have been suspended twice.

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