Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: April 26, 2018

Thomas Paul Harding

Citations are authorized by the Law Society of BC's Discipline Committee and list allegations against a lawyer that will be considered at a discipline hearing. Please note that allegations in a citation are unproven until a discipline hearing panel has determined their validity.

Nature of conduct to be inquired into:

1.  In or about April 2012, while acting as counsel for the plaintiff JW in Supreme Court Action No. [number] (Vancouver Registry), you made improper submissions to the jury in closing argument which resulted in Mr. Justice Voith declaring a mistrial on April 30, 2012 and awarding costs against you personally on February 25, 2014. In particular, you did one or more of the following:

(a)  implied that opposing counsel were not forthright or honest;

(b)  knowingly and intentionally made an expert witness an object of derision and ridicule;

(c)  asserted directly or indirectly that the expert was dishonest and had falsified measurements, misrepresented evidence or misquoted scientific literature, without any evidentiary foundation;

(d)  mischaracterized the issues before the jury by conflating how your client was injured with whether he was injured;

(e)  inaccurately and improperly asserted that the defendant’s position was that your client was feigning his injuries;

(f)  misstated in your submissions to the jury that the standard of care in negligence is to “protect the innocent”;

(g)  misstated the legal principles applicable to future cost of care calculations; and

(h)  encouraged the jury to award future costs of care or wage loss, or both, when there was an inadequate evidentiary foundation for those awards.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, pursuant to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.     

2.  Between or about June 29, 2012 and July 11, 2012, you made improper comments to a journalist about one or both of Dr. AT, an expert witness, and the judiciary, in that the comments were false, misleading, denigrating, unjust, disrespectful or otherwise inappropriate, contrary to one or more of Chapter 1, Rules 2(1), 2(2) and 3(4) of the Professional Conduct Handbook, then in force.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a lawyer, pursuant to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.