Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: September 1, 2020

Lindsay Adam Christopher Ross

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.  On or about May 31, 2012, in relation to a real estate investment matter involving the purchase of the S property and your client MT, you misappropriated or improperly handled $100,000 in funds received from MT, contrary to one or both of Rules 3-51 and 3-55 of the Law Society Rules then in force, and your fiduciary duties.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a lawyer, or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act, then in force.

2.  In the alternative to allegation 1, on or about May 31, 2012, you borrowed $100,000 from your client MT, contrary to Chapter 7, Rule 4 of the Professional Conduct Handbook then in force.

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

3.  On or about June 21, 2012, in relation to a real estate investment matter involving the purchase of the P Hotel property and your clients MT and GP, you misappropriated, or improperly authorized the withdrawal from trust of $100,000 in funds received from GP by distributing the funds to MT when you were not entitled or authorized to do so, contrary to Rule 3-56 of the Law Society Rules then in force.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a lawyer, or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act, then in force.

Misleading – MT Funds

4.  Between approximately May 2012 and July 2013, in relation to $100,000 you received from MT on or about May 31, 2012, you made representations to MT about the reasons the $100,000 was required, when you knew or ought to have known that the representations were false or misleading.

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

5.  Between approximately April 2013 and June 2013, in relation to $100,000 you received from MT on or about May 31, 2012, you made representations to an accountant, AH, about the true nature of the $100,000 provided by MT, and the location of the funds, when you knew or ought to have known that the representations were false or misleading.

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

6.  On or about June 21, 2012, in relation to $100,000 disbursed to MT, you made representations to another lawyer, KJ, about the true nature of the funds, when you knew or ought to have known that the representations were false or misleading.

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

7.  Between approximately April 2015 and February 2020, in relation to $100,000 you received from your client MT on or about May 31, 2012, you made one or both of the following representations to the Law Society of British Columbia that you knew or ought to have known were false or misleading:

(a)  that the $100,000 was a loan to your law corporation; and

(b)  that MT had agreed that you could repay the $100,000 to him by making a direct payment on a real estate investment matter on his behalf.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act, then in force.

8.  In the alternative to allegation 7, on or about November 29, 2012, in relation to $100,000 you borrowed from MT on or about May 31, 2012, you made a representation to the Law Society of British Columbia in your Trust Report for the reporting period ending August 2012, that you or your firm were not directly or indirectly indebted to a client at any time during the reporting period, when you knew or ought to have known that this representation was not true.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act, then in force.

Conflict of Interest: Sproat Lake Properties

9.  Between approximately 2002 to November 2012, in relation to two real estate purchases and sales in Sproat Lake, British Columbia, and the drafting and execution of a trust agreement dated September 27, 2005 (the “Trust Agreement”), you jointly represented two or more clients, including your wife JR, MQ, and AH, when you were in a conflict of interest, contrary to one or more of Chapter 6, Rules 1 and 4 of the Professional Conduct Handbook then in force (the “PCH”), Chapter 7 of the PCH, and your fiduciary duties to your clients, by doing one or more of the following:

(a)  jointly representing two or more clients where you had not done, at the commencement of the retainer, one or more of the following:

i.  explained to each client the principle of undivided loyalty;

ii.  advised each client that no information received from one of them as part of the joint representation can be treated as confidential as between them;

iii.  received from all clients the fully informed consent to the course of action to be followed in the event you received from one client, in your separate representation of that client, information relevant to the joint representation; and

iv.  secured the informed consent of each client (with independent legal advice, if necessary) as to the course of action that will be followed if a conflict arises between them;

(b)  performing legal services for your clients when you had a direct or indirect financial interest in the subject matter of the legal services;

(c)  carrying on in a business other than the practice of law in such a way that one might reasonably expect that in the carrying on of that business you would be exercising legal judgment or skill for the protection of your clients;

(d)  investing your clients’ funds, and advising your clients to invest in something in which you and your wife had a personal interest, where that interest would reasonably be expected to affect your professional judgment;

(e)  failing to advise MQ and AH that JR had obtained a mortgage and line of credit on a property, contrary to the Trust Agreement;

(f)  continuing to act for all clients in circumstances where you knew that JR had breached her duties as a trustee to MQ and AH; and

(g)  distributing the sale proceeds entirely to JR when you knew or ought to have known that the net funds of the sale were not enough to pay MQ and AH their share of the sale proceeds.

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

Facilitating a Breach of Trust

  1. On or about December 21, 2005, in relation to a property in Sproat Lake, British Columbia, and a trust agreement that you drafted and witnessed on September 27, 2005 (the “Trust Agreement”), you facilitated a breach of the Trust Agreement by your wife JR, by signing, as a personal covenantor, a mortgage obtained on the property by JR, when you knew or ought to have known that the Trust Agreement required the written consent of MQ and AH in order to charge their half of the property by way of mortgage or debenture, and when you knew or ought to have known that neither MQ nor AH had provided such consent to JR.

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

Misleading – AH and MQ

  1. Between approximately June 2005 and September 2014, in relation to a real estate purchase in Sproat Lake, British Columbia, involving JR, AH, and MQ, you made representations to AH and MQ, or failed to correct misinformation provided to them by JR, about the true purchase price of the property.

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