Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Decision of the hearing panel on facts and determination

Marc Andre Scheirer (Eckardt)

Chilliwack, BC

Called to the bar: January 5, 2015

Hearing dates: October 21, 2020, March 31, April 1, 6 and 13, and June 15, 2021

Decision issued: December 13, 2021 (2021 LSBC 51)

Panel: Dean P.J. Lawton, QC, Chair, Clarence Bolt and Gavin Hume, QC

Counsel: Mandana Namazi for the Law Society; David J. Taylor for Marc Andre Scheirer (October 21, 2020 only) and Scheirer appearing on his own behalf

FACTS

A family law client of Marc Andre Scheirer retained him to seek spousal support and a portion of the equity in the matrimonial home. The client said she gave him the paperwork for her file and informed him her former lawyer had kept some of the file materials.

At the hearing, an issue in dispute was the extent of documents Scheirer received from the client at their initial meeting, with Scheirer saying that he did not receive all of the client’s documents until five months after their first meeting. The panel accepted the client’s evidence as there was no indication that Scheirer had requested further documentation from the client after their first meeting.

Scheirer did not obtain the client’s file materials from her former lawyer. He sent one letter informing the former lawyer that he had been retained and requesting the file. He did not communicate with counsel for the client’s former husband and did not file and serve a notice of change of lawyer.

Scheirer submitted a bill to the client listing the legal services he provided, including reviewing the materials and pleadings and taking copies of them through BC Online. There is no evidence that he dealt with the substantive issues related to the file, and the panel concluded no further work was done on it.

The client met with Scheirer at his office to receive an update on her family law matter. The client testified that she smelled alcohol on his breath. At the meeting, Scheirer said he could not find the client’s file at his office and suggested that she come to his home office. When she arrived at his home, Scheirer left to get something in his car, and returned carrying a number of large bottles of vodka. He asked if she would like a martini, which she declined. He made a martini for himself and left to go change his clothes. The client said he returned wearing shorts and an unbuttoned shirt, sat in very close proximity to her and put his arm around her. She testified she pushed him away and left. Scheirer disputed her characterization of these events.

DETERMINATION

The panel found that Scheirer did not keep the client reasonably informed, that he did not take substantive steps to advance her matter, did not provide prompt service and he did not maintain an appropriate file to document his dealings with the client, the management of her legal issues, orthe advice he had given her.

The panel also found that Scheirer failed to act honorably and with integrity during his meeting with the client. It concluded that the client was uncomfortable and offended by Scheirer’s actions.

The panel determined that Scheirer committed professional misconduct.

2021 LSBC 51 Decision on Facts and Determination