Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of the President’s Designate on an Application to Set Aside a Notice to Admit or to Extend the Time to Respond


Hong Guo

Called to the bar: May 4, 2009

Citation Issued: December 12, 2018

Written submissions: November 13, 2019

President’s designate: Philip Riddell, QC

Decision issued: November 22, 2019

Counsel: Alison Kirby for the Law Society; Craig E. Jones, QC, for Hong Guo.

BACKGROUND

Hong Guo applied to set aside a Notice to Admit or, failing that, to extend time to respond to the notice. The Law Society opposed the application.

On July 15, 2019, the Law Society provided disclosure to Guo’s counsel, including 66 documents in a banker’s box, numbered one through 66, with each number corresponding to the document disclosure index. The Law Society’s disclosure also included two encrypted thumb drives. Guo’s counsel characterized this disclosure as an unorganized “document dump.”

On October 25, 2019, a Notice to Admit was delivered to Guo, including 199 documents, the authenticity of which the Law Society was seeking confirmation. All of these documents were included in the July 15 disclosure, as were the documents from which many of the admissions of facts were drawn. Guo contended that the Notice to Admit constituted an abuse of process due to its “last-hour” delivery and the large number of documents referenced.

The President’s designate found no evidence that Guo made reasonable efforts to respond to the Notice to Admit but needed more time. Guo’s counsel did not contact counsel for the Law Society to determine how documents in the disclosure had been organized, and Guo’s counsel did not seek the passwords to the encrypted thumb drives until the day of the hearing of this application.

The President’s designate concluded that Guo’s conduct does not portray a party who has been acting diligently to respond to the Notice to Admit, but has been unable to do so as a result of factors cited in the application.

DECISION ON APPLICATION

The application to set aside the Notice to Admit was dismissed. The application to have discipline counsel deliver a document setting out the source of each document listed in the Notice to Admit was dismissed. The application to extend the time to provide a response to the notice admit was dismissed. Guo was required to respond to the Notice to Admit by 11:59 pm on November 22, 2019.

2019 LSBC 41 Decision on Rule 4-38 Preliminary Question Application