Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision on Facts and Determination


Homayoun Sebastian Nejat

Vancouver, BC

Called to the bar: June 1, 2010

Discipline hearing: March 12, 2019

Panel: Lisa Hamilton, QC (chair); Ralston Alexander, QC; Carol Gibson

Decision issued: May 6, 2019 (2019 LSBC 16)

Counsel: Kathleen Bradley for the Law Society; Michael Shirreff for Homayoun Sebastian Nejat

FACTS

Homayoun Sebastian Nejat was acting for a client regarding an appeal of a Provincial Court family law matter. Nejat filed a notice of appeal with the Supreme Court of BC, following which standard directions require that, within 45 days the appellant, among other things, file transcripts of the order under appeal and a written outline of grounds for the appeal, procure a hearing date, and file a notice of hearing.

Approximately seven weeks after filing the notice of appeal, Nejat told his client that a written outline of the grounds for appeal had been sent to the court for filing, when in fact no such outline had been submitted. In numerous communications with his client in ensuing weeks and months, Nejat offered multiple reasons for not procuring a hearing date, including problems with the reservation system, travel, and a trial. Approximately seven months after Nejat filed the notice of appeal, counsel for the opposing party filed notice of application to dismiss the appeal, on the basis that Nejat had failed to file or serve transcripts, failed to file a written outline of the grounds for appeal, and failed to procure a hearing date.

Nejat asked for an adjournment of the application to dismiss the appeal and a hearing date was set. Nejat informed his client that a hearing date had been set, but did not inform the client that the purpose of the hearing was to hear the opposing party’s application to dismiss the appeal. Nejat appeared at the hearing with no written materials prepared either in support of an application for an adjournment or in response to the application for dismissal of the appeal. At the hearing, Nejat told the court he had instructions to bring an application to extend the time to perfect his client’s appeal. The court refused the adjournment application and dismissed the appeal.

DETERMINATION

The hearing panel found that Nejat misled his client by stating he had sent a written outline to court when he had not, failed to advise his client that the opposing counsel had filed an application for dismissal of the appeal and failed to tell his client that the purpose of the hearing that had been set was to hear the opposing party’s application to dismiss the appeal. The panel also found that Nejat had represented to the court that he had instructions from his client to apply to extend the time to perfect his client’s appeal, when he did not have such instructions. The panel further found that Nejat failed to provide his client with the quality of service that is expected of a competent lawyer by failing to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of the appeal, to answer his client’s requests for information and documents, to answer within a reasonable time communications from his client, to ensure work on the appeal was done in a timely manner, and to provide his client with complete and accurate information about the client’s matter.

The panel found that all of the above constitute professional misconduct.

2019 LSBC 16 Decision on Facts and Determination