An attorney’s Wisconsin law license has been suspended for 60 days as reciprocal discipline for his disbarment in Minnesota.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday in the Office of Lawyer Regulation’s case against Joseph M. Capistrant, a solo practitioner in Osseo, Minnesota.
The case is reciprocal discipline for Capistrant’s professional misconduct in Minnesota. A client hired Capistrant in 2014 to probate his son’s estate and make changes to some family documents at a cost of $547. The Wisconsin Supreme Court opinion said Capistrant never deposited the money into his trust account, didn’t file the probate action and didn’t respond to communications from the client or his daughter.
The Supreme Court of Minnesota disbarred Capistrant in 2018. The Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation filed a complaint in 2020 requesting reciprocal discipline, and the opinion said Capistrant did not respond.
In February, the Wisconsin Supreme Court directed the parties to explain why a 60-day suspension, rather than revocation, would be the appropriate level of discipline. The OLR said Minnesota’s disciplinary system uses a different method of counts and rule violations, and the heart of the matter was one client who lost the “relatively low” amount of $547. The OLR also cited a number of similar Wisconsin cases that resulted in 60-day suspensions.
“Upon careful review of this matter and particularly after reviewing the OLR’s response to this court’s February 24, 2021 order, we agree that if this case had been prosecuted by the OLR, a 60-day suspension of Attorney Capistrant’s license would have been the likely outcome,” the state Supreme Court opinion said.
The high court also ordered Capistrant to pay $547 in restitution to the client.
This is Capistrant’s second disciplinary action in Wisconsin. The state Supreme Court suspended his license for 90 days in 2015, and it was never reinstated.
Capistrant was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in 2007. His Wisconsin license has been administratively suspended since 2012 for failing to comply with continuing legal education requirements, failing to pay State Bar of Wisconsin dues and failing to file a trust-account certification.
The phone number for Capistrant’s law firm listed with the State Bar of Wisconsin is no longer associated with his business.