Summary of the Decision of the Review Board
RONALD WAYNE PERRICK
North Vancouver, BC
Called to the bar: May 17, 1971
Review date: September 15, 2016
Review board: Gregory Petrisor, Chair, Jeff Campbell, QC, Gavin Hume, QC, Dean Lawton, QC, Laura Nashman, Lance Ollenberger and Sandra Weafer
Decision issued: November 29, 2016 (2016 LSBC 43)
Counsel: Mark Bussanich for the Law Society; Ronald Wayne Perrick appearing on his own behalf
In its decision on September 8, 2015, a hearing panel accepted Ronald Wayne Perrick’s admission of professional misconduct in his failure to serve his client in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner and his failure to reply promptly to correspondence from opposing counsel.
The panel also found a fundamental failure to provide any meaningful service to his client. It was significant that a master reduced Perrick’s fee from $3,866.96 to $500 and that the client launched a negligence suit against him.
The panel considered Perrick’s previous discipline record in ordering that he be suspended for 30 days and pay costs of $19,315.81 (facts and determination 2014 LSBC 39; disciplinary action 2015 LSBC 42; Winter 2015 discipline digest).
Perrick sought a review of the hearing panel’s decisions.
DECISION OF THE REVIEW BOARD
Perrick stated he wished to withdraw admissions made in the discipline hearing. He said he would not have made the admissions if he had known the hearing would result in a suspension, and he suggested that the admissions were not consistent with the evidence.
The review board found that the hearing panel considered the admissions along with other extensive evidence and did not treat his admissions as determinative. The facts and determination hearing concluded in June 2014, and Perrick did not make proper applications to withdraw admissions since then. The review board found that there had been no information put forth that would support permitting the withdrawal of admissions at that stage of the proceedings.
Perrick’s first ground of review was that one of the Benchers involved in authorizing the citation, Herman Van Ommen, QC, was in an alleged conflict of interest. Van Ommen was Chair of the Discipline Committee at the time it directed the citation, and his wife’s law firm was involved in litigation with Perrick and his wife.
The review board found that, although Perrick was aware of Van Ommen’s role in the Discipline Committee, he did not raise the conflict of interest issue in any aspect of the hearing, other than a passing reference. The review board dismissed this ground of review.
The second ground of review related to whether the hearing panel erred in its decision on facts and determination by failing to consider certain evidence such as the conduct of opposing counsel, Perrick’s client and the client’s subsequent counsel. The review board determined that the evidence does not undermine the conclusion reached by the hearing panel, which was firmly supported by the evidence.
The third ground of review was that the hearing panel erred in its decision on disciplinary action in ordering Perrick be suspended for 30 days, particularly in its consideration of his professional conduct record. Perrick submitted that a previous discipline hearing (2014 LSBC 01, 2014 LSBC 03, 2014 LSBC 25 and Fall 2014 discipline digest) should not have been considered as he had filed for a review of that matter and the review has not yet been decided.
The review board determined that, although a hearing decision may be reviewed or appealed, the decision is in force and valid from the time it is rendered. Disregarding a relevant discipline history would be unacceptable given the statutory duties of the Law Society. In this case, the prior disciplinary history revealed a pattern of behaviour of significant concern, and the hearing panel was correct to consider Perrick’s prior record.
The review board also found that the hearing panel considered the full circumstances of this case in ordering a 30-day suspension, including the successful civil action against Perrick for professional negligence.
The review board dismissed the application for review and confirmed the decision of the hearing panel.