Admitted Discipline Violations

Summary of Decision of the Hearing Panel on Facts and Determination

Rosario Cateno Di Bella

Victoria, BC

Called to the bar: September 10, 1980

Suspended: February 19, 2021

Custodian appointed: April 30, 2021

Hearing date: September 28, 2021

Panel: Lisa Hamilton, QC (chair), Darlene Hammell and Gavin Hume, QC

Decision issued: December 14, 2021 (2021 LSBC 52)

Counsel: Barbara Lohmann for the Law Society; Richard Margetts, QC for Rosario Cateno Di Bella

FACTS

The facts in this summary are from a notice to admit that served on Rosario Cateno Di Bella, to which he did not respond.

Di Bella was appointed as an attorney, health care representative and executor of a client’s estate. His client died, and her son was the beneficiary under her will. After several unsuccessful attempts to contact Di Bella about the estate and the status of the deceased client’s remains, the son submitted a complaint with the Law Society about Di Bella’s delay, failure to communicate and failure to release the client’s file and/or records.

During its investigation into the complaint, the Law Society corresponded with Di Bella over the course of six months. Di Bella sent a response to the Law Society’s initial letter and attached documents, but did not respond to the investigator’s requests to speak with him for nearly four months. The client’s remains continued to be in his possession.

DETERMINATION

The panel determined Di Bella repeatedly failed to respond to correspondence from the Law Society for more than four months and his conduct constituted professional misconduct.


2021 LSBC 52 Decision on Facts and Determination