Did we get it right Public Eye?
The Public Eye has posted another Law Society of Manitoba Discipline Case Digest. As is their custom, they include a metaphoric photograph leaving readers to figure out the connection. We have never met Mr. Fisher so based solely on pictorial evidence we're guessing American comic actor and writer from the 1950s Sid Caesar.
Although we haven't researched the subject, TTP is probably one of the few Canadian blogs, if not the only, that publishes disciplinary rulings from Law Societies. Increasingly, today's computer savvy clients are Googling lawyers before engaging their services making these postings invaluable.
Clare L. Pieuk
Manitoba Lawyer Robert Fisher (a/k/a Bob Fisher)
THE LAW SOCIETY OF MANITOBA DISCIPLINE CASE DIGEST
Member: Robert Lewis Fisher
Jurisdiction: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Called to the Bar: June 23, 1983
Particulars of Charges: Professional Misconduct (2 counts):
- Breach of Chapter 2 of the Code of Professional Conduct [failing to serve client in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner]
- Breach of Chapter 3 of the Code of Professional Conduct [failing to be honest and candid with client]
Date of Hearing: October 20, 2008
- Robert A. Dewar, Q.C., Chair
- Victor P. Bellay
- Donald G. Douglas
- Fine of $2,000.00
- Costs of $4,600.00
- Joe R. Gallagher for The Law Society of Manitoba
- Member, Unrepresented
Failure to Serve Client/Failure to Be Honest and Candid with Client
Mr. Fisher was retained in October, 2003 to defend a claim brought against his client by the builder on a contract for the purchase of a lot and construction of a residence for the client. At the examinations for discovery in 2005, Mr. Fisher entered into a settlement agreement on behalf of his client but did not confirm the terms of the settlement in writing to the client.
Shortly thereafter, it became apparent that his client had not understood the terms of the agreement. Instead of withdrawing as counsel and referring his client to new counsel, Mr. Fisher continued to act, and he failed to be responsive to opposing counsel who was trying to enforce the settlement agreement, or to his client who was trying to determine the status of the matter.
As a result, and without the client’s knowledge, Summary Judgment was entered against him and a Writ of Seizure and Sale of the client’s property was issued to the Sheriff’s Office to execute the Judgment. Sherriff’s officers attended at the client’s residence in August 2006 to execute the writ.
Mr. Fisher was contacted and misled his client as to the status of the matter. He advised the client that there had been an error by someone in Mr. Fisher’s office, and that the client would have to immediately pay $15,134.00 into court to correct the error. The client provided a certified cheque which was sufficient to satisfy the judgment, interest and the costs of the writ.
Thereafter, Mr. Fisher failed to respond to communications from opposing counsel, and failed to advise the client of a motion to amend the Judgment, or of the fact that the motion was granted and the Judgment amended to permit the release of funds held to complete repairs of deficiencies.
Mr. Fisher was charged with failing to serve his client in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner so as to provide a quality of service equal to that expected of a competent lawyer, and also failing to be honest and candid with his client.
Decision and Comments
The Committee accepted Mr. Fisher’s admission to both counts and found him guilty of professional misconduct.
The Committee accepted the joint recommendation made by the parties and ordered that Mr. Fisher:
(a) pay a fine in the amount of $2,000.00 to the Society; and
(b) pay $4,600.00 to the Society as a contribution towards the costs of the investigation, prosecution and hearing of the matter.
The Committee ordered that the fine and costs be paid by way of consecutive monthly payments until paid in full, with the amount and schedule of the monthly payments to be agreed from time to time, but not less than annually, between the Society and Mr. Fisher.