Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation authorized:  January 30, 2020

Spencer Owen May

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 December 19, 2016 and January 4, 2017, in the course of acting for one or more of ZZ, YZ, [numbered company 1], and [numbered company 2] in a without-notice hearing in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, you failed to act honourably and with integrity, or acted contrary to your obligations to the court, or both, by doing one or more of the following:

a)  misleading the court by stating that the defendants appear to have left the country or disappeared, when you knew that one of your clients possibly knew the whereabouts of, had contacted, or had the means of contacting one of the defendants, and had purportedly obtained the defendant’s signature on documents in or about November 2016;

b)  misleading the court by failing to disclose material information concerning the whereabouts of, contact with, or means of contacting one of the defendants, including evidence that one of the defendants had purportedly signed and provided documents in relation to the proceeding in or about November 2016; and

c)  filing or relying upon the affidavit of your paralegal, AC, when you knew or ought to have known that the affidavit was false or misleading in relation to a purported contract document between Z & Co. and DT.

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

2.  Between approximately March 3, 2017 and March 14, 2017, in the course of acting for one or more of ZZ, YZ, [numbered company 1], and [numbered company 2] in a without-notice hearing in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, you failed to act honourably and with integrity, or acted contrary to your obligations to the court, or both, by doing one or more of the following:

a)  misleading the court by making statements to the effect that one of the defendants had not been or could not be located when you knew that one of your clients had purportedly obtained the defendant’s signature on documents in or about November 2016;

b)  misleading the court by failing to disclose material information concerning the whereabouts of, contact with, or means of contacting one of the defendants, including evidence that one of the defendants had purportedly signed and provided documents in relation to the proceeding in or about November 2016; and

c)  offering, presenting, or relying upon the affidavit of YZ when you knew or ought to have known that the affidavit was false or misleading in relation to a purported contract document between Z & Co. and DT.

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

3.  In the course of acting for one or more of ZZ, YZ, [numbered company 1], and [numbered company 2], you failed to comply with a direction from a Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia made on or about March 14, 2017, that you serve an order on the defendants.

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

4.  In the alternative to Allegation 3, you failed to honour an undertaking or commitment you made to a Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia on or about March 14, 2017, to serve an order on the defendants, contrary to one or more of rules 2.2-1, 5.1-6 and 7.2-11 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 between August 2015 and July 2018, in the course of acting for one or more of ZZ, YZ, [numbered company 1], and [numbered company 2], you failed to make reasonable efforts to obtain, or record, client identification information in relation to your clients, contrary to Rule 3-100(1)(a) and (b) of the Law Society Rules.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or incompetent performance of duties, or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

6.  Between approximately August 2015 and July 2018, in the course of acting for one or more of your clients ZZ, YZ, [numbered company 1] and [numbered company 2], you failed to do one or both of the following:

a)  make reasonable inquiries about your clients or the subject matter and objectives of your retainer; and

b)  make a record of inquiries made.

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

7.  Between approximately June 2018 and November 2019, in the course of a Law Society investigation arising from your representation of ZZ, YZ, [numbered company 1] and [numbered company 2], you failed to cooperate fully in the investigation, contrary to one or both of Rule 3-5(7) of the Law Society Rules (the “Rules”), and rule 7.1.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, by failing to comply with a requirement dated June 18, 2018 to produce your complete client files by the time and date set by the Executive Director, contrary to one or both of Rules 3-5(7) and 3-5(11) of the Rules.

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

8.  Between approximately June 2018 and November 2019, in the course of a Law Society investigation arising from your representation of ZZ, YZ, [numbered company 1] and [numbered company 2], you failed to cooperate fully in the investigation, contrary to one or both of Rule 3-5(7) of the Law Society Rules (the “Rules”), and rule 7.1.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, by providing incorrect, inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading information in one or more letters dated June 28, 2018 and September 27, 2019, about what records had been compiled or produced for or to the Law Society.

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