Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision on Discipilinary Action and Costs

Tracey Lynn Jackson

Vancouver, BC

Called to the bar: May 19, 1995

Hearing: April 20, 2016

Panel: Herman Van Ommen, QC (chair); Woody Hayes; Gavin Hume, QC

Decision issued: June 27, 2016 (2016 LSBC 27)

Counsel: Kieron Grady for the Law Society; J. Kenneth McEwan, QC and Rebecca J. Robb for Tracey Lynn Jackson

FACTS

Jackson was retained to represent a client with regard to a dispute over certain chattels that were in a storage locker. She appeared on behalf of her client before a master of the court, who ordered the client to retain certain of the chattels.

Jackson and opposing counsel did not agree as to whether the master had ordered that the client must produce the key. Opposing counsel made application for further orders regarding the storage locker and key.

Jackson was on vacation, and an associate at her firm attended the hearing of opposing counsel’ s application. The associate came away from the hearing uncertain whether the judge had made an order regarding the key.

Opposing counsel advised she would appear before a master on September 17, 2012, to settle the terms of the order. Jackson instructed the associate to prepare an interpleader application allowing the key to be delivered to the court, and have it set down on Friday, September 14, 2012.

Jackson revised her affidavit to add a paragraph that stated, “ I have no knowledge that any orders have been made with respect to storage locker and key fob.”

The interpleader order was obtained on September 14, 2012, directing delivery of the keys to the court and extinguishing any liability Jackson’ s firm might have had with respect to the keys.

On September 17, 2012 the master issued his order including a term requiring production of the key.

On November 16, 2012 the opposing counsel’ s firm applied to set aside the interpleader order and sought special costs against Jackson personally. In response, Jackson filed a further affidavit repeating the statement, “ I have no knowledge that any orders have been made with respect to the storage locker and key fob.”

On November 29, 2012, a judge set aside the order extinguishing liability of Jackson’ s firm and, in adjourning the application for special costs, spoke critically about Jackson’ s actions. Jackson voluntarily settled the claim for special costs by paying $15,703.16.

DETERMINATION

At the Facts and Determination part of the hearing (2015 LSBC 57), the panel found that Jackson knew her affidavit sworn on September 13, 2012, was misleading and that sending her firm’ s associate into court on an application without notice based on such deficient material constituted professional misconduct. The panel also found that statements Jackson made in her affidavit sworn November 28, 2012 were misleading and also constituted professional misconduct.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

While Jackson breached the important duty of counsel to be candid and truthful in representations to the court, that conduct was inconsistent with the usual manner of her practice. She had no previous conduct record, and character letters made clear that she was well respected in and out of the profession.  Jackson acknowledged her mistakes and has taken steps to ensure that they are not repeated.  While misleading the court would lead to a suspension in most cases, the somewhat unique facts of this case led the panel to conclude that a reprimand and significant fine was appropriate.

The panel ordered that Jackson be reprimanded and pay:

  • a fine of $15,000; and
  • costs of $6,000.

2016 LSBC 27 Decision on Disciplinary Action and Costs

2015 LSBC 57 Decision on Facts and Determination