United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
IN RE RALPH E. MUSILLI, Petitioner. and IN RE WALTER L. BAUMGARDNER, JR., Petitioner.
Honorable Denise Page Hood, United States District Judge.
Honorable John Corbett O'Meara, United States District
Honorable David M. Lawson, United States District Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING RE-PETITIONS FOR
December 20, 2013, the Court entered orders denying petitions
by attorneys Ralph E. Musilli and Walter L. Baumgardner, Jr.
for restoration of their privileges to practice law in this
district. As noted in the earlier order, this Court suspended
both lawyers on November 17, 2009 following disciplinary
suspensions by the State Bar of Michigan. A state discipline
panel ordered 30-day suspensions for the two lawyers after
each was convicted in a Michigan court of criminal contempt
of court. On appeal by the Michigan State Grievance
Administrator, the suspensions were increased to 180 days.
denied the earlier reinstatement petitions because the
petitioners did not satisfy one of the requisites for
reinstatement, which states that the petitioner must
demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that
the attorney has the moral qualifications, competency and
learning in the law required for admission to practice before
this court, and that his or her resumption of the practice of
law will not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of
the bar or to the administration of justice, or subversive of
the public interest.
E.D. Mich. LR 83.22(i)(2)(D). The state contempt convictions
arose from the petitioners' disobedience of a state court
order entered in fee-dispute litigation to segregate certain
disputed funds, which they instead appropriated to
themselves. We determined that the petitioners had made no
effort to comply with the state court order, and instead had
engaged in conduct that was “designed to frustrate the
goals that order was intended to achieve.” We
As we view the record, the petitioners have not carried their
burden under Local Rule 83.22(i)(2). That is not to say that
they might not do so in the future. But until we see evidence
that the petitioners have acknowledged the authority of the
court that found them in contempt and made some effort to
comply with its orders, we decline to grant their petitions
for reinstatement to practice law in this district at this
the Court are renewed petitions from attorneys Ralph E.
Musilli and Walter L Baumgardner, Jr. for restoration of
their privileges to practice law in this district. In support
of their latest petitions, they allege:
Each [petitioner] has fully cooperated with any efforts
(collection or other) to enforce previous orders, judgments,
and neither has taken any actions to forestall, attack, or
disregard any previous orders. No actions have been taken,
and there have been full compliance, as to any previous state
court orders, including any contempt orders.
¶5. The public record, however, suggests otherwise. We
Droomers estate apparently has persisted in its efforts to
collect the funds that the petitioners failed to place in
escrow, which was the basis for their contempt convictions.
That obligation had been reduced to a judgment. The estate
procured a writ of garnishment against petitioner
Musilli's current law firm from the Oakland County,
Michigan circuit court. Musilli attempted to throw up several
obstacles in the way of the estate's legitimate
collection efforts, including the filing of motions that the
state courts found to be frivolous and “brought to
harass, delay the proceeding, and/or increase the cost of
litigation.” Estate of Droomers by Droomers v.
Parnell, No. 333691, 2017 WL 4654416, at *3 (Mich. Ct.
App. Oct. 17, 2017). The state courts have determined that
Musilli's actions in resisting the estate's
collection efforts were based on “an impermissible
collateral attack on the . . . contempt order, ” and
the petitioners' motion challenging the garnishment writ
was cause to order sanctions against them (and their lawyer).
Id. at *5, *6 (noting that these petitioners
“cannot seriously contend that their motion was
warranted by existing law or brought in a good-faith effort
to extend or modify existing law”).
state court decisions include detailed recitations of the
history of efforts by the petitioners to resist the
legitimate collection efforts brought by the Droomers estate.
Id. at *1-*4. Those accounts do not support the
petitioner's current allegation that they have
“cooperated with any efforts (collection or other) to
enforce previous orders [and] ...