Citation issued: February 11, 2015; amended august 11, 2015
Gerhardus albertus pyper
|Citations are authorized by the Law Society of BC's Discipline Committee and list allegations against a lawyer that will be considered at a discipline hearing. Please note that allegations in a citation are unproven until a discipline hearing panel has determined their validity.|
Nature of conduct to be inquired into:
1. Between November 2, 2011 and February 7, 2014, in the course of representing your client, NM, in a civil claim filed November 2, 2011, you failed to serve your client in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner so as to provide a quality of service at least equal to that which would be expected of a competent lawyer in a similar situation, contrary to Chapter 3, Rules 3 and 5 of the Professional Conduct Handbook then in force and Rule 3.2-1 and Rule 3.2-2 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia. In particular, you failed to do some or all of the following:
(a) ensure the Notice of Civil Claim was served on the defendant before it expired;
(b) take steps between December 30, 2011 and February 22, 2013 to serve the Notice of Civil Claim or to advance the litigation;
(c) obtain instructions from the client between April 19, 2012 and July 18, 2012 regarding service of the Notice of Civil Claim;
(d) contact your client between July 18, 2012 and February 22, 2013;
(e) between approximately November 2, 2012 and September 24, 2013, inform your client that the Notice of Civil Claim had expired and advise of the potential consequences of the expiration;
(f) review or respond to a letter dated July 31, 2013 from opposing counsel; and
(g) provide your client with a letter dated July 31, 2013 from opposing counsel or inform your client of the content of the letter and in particular, that the Notice of Civil Claim had expired.
This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or incompetent performance of duties undertaken in the capacity of a lawyer, pursuant to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.
2. After November 2, 2012, you failed to give written notice to the Lawyers Insurance Fund immediately, as required by section 4.1 of the BC Lawyers’ Compulsory Professional Liability Insurance Policy, of an error or circumstance which could reasonably be expected to be the basis of a claim against you, contrary to Chapter 4, Rule 5 of the Professional Conduct Handbook, Rule 7.8-2 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia and Rule 3-21(2) of the Law Society Rules. In particular, you failed to give written notice that the Notice of Civil Claim you filed on behalf of your client, NM, had expired because the defendant had not been served.
This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.
3. Between November 2, 2012 and December 17, 2013 you failed to recommend to your client, NM, that he obtain independent legal advice regarding the expiry of the Notice of Civil Claim you filed on his behalf, an error or omission which was or might have been damaging to your client and that could not be rectified readily, contrary to Rule 7.8-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.
This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, pursuant to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.