Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: January 7, 2020

Rosario Cateno Di Bella

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.  Between approximately March 2015 and April 2018, in the course of acting for your client AR in an estate matter, you failed to provide the quality of service required of a competent lawyer, contrary to one or both of rules 3.1-2 and 3.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, by failing to do one or more of the following:

(a)  attend to matters within a reasonable time frame, or inform AR about the potential for undue delay so that she could make an informed choice about her options;

(b)  ensure, where appropriate, that all instructions were in writing or confirmed in writing, including a settlement that you agreed to on her behalf with a term that the plaintiff receive costs of $2,000 payable from the estate;

(c)  keep AR reasonably informed, including failing to provide her with a copy of the entered court order dated July 19, 2017;

(d)  meet the deadlines set out in the court order dated July 19, 2017 on AR's behalf; and

(e)  answer reasonable requests by AR for information and respond to her telephone calls and other communications.

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

2.  On or around July 13, 2017, in the course of acting for your client AR in an estate matter, you acted without AR’s instructions when you agreed to settle the matter on her behalf with a term that the plaintiff receive costs of $2,000 payable from the estate.

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

3.  On or around October 19, 2017, in the course of acting for your client AR in an estate matter, you represented in email correspondence with AR that you had ordered a wills search when you knew or ought to have known that your representations were false or misleading, contrary to one or both of rules 2.1-4(a) and 2.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.

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

4.  Between approximately November 2015 and February 2018, in the course of acting for your client AR in an estate matter, you failed to answer with reasonable promptness one or more of 31 communications that required a response from opposing counsel as set out in Schedule “A”, contrary to rule 7.2-5 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.

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

5.  In or around April 2018 and continuing thereafter, after you were discharged by your client AR, you failed to do all that could reasonably be done to facilitate the orderly transfer of the matter to AR’s successor lawyer, contrary to one or both of rules 3.7-8 and 3.7-9 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, by failing to do one or more of the following:

(a)  deliver to the successor lawyer all papers and property to which AR was entitled;

(b)  render an account for outstanding fees and disbursements, promptly or at all; and

(c)  co-operate with the successor lawyer in the transfer of the file, including failing to respond to one or more of communications from the successor lawyer on May 8, 15, 25, 30 and June 15, 2018.

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