Tuesday, December 7, 2021
The Alberta Law Society has reprimanded an attorney who had been retained by an elderly client to fight his daughter's attempt to invoke a power of attorney he had previously granted.
RL was 85 years of age. He was concerned that his Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA), which named his daughter, LS, as his attorney, had allegedly been triggered after LS obtained declarations of his incapacity from two medical doctors.
The misconduct (admitted by the attorney) involved the failure to forward her expert's revised opinion to opposing counsel
On July 4, 2019, after reviewing additional evidence, Dr. JQ provided Ms. Gee’s office with an addendum to his prior report (Dr. JQ’s revised opinion), which concluded that he was now of the view that RL lacked the capacity to manage his finances, to create a new EPOA or personal directive and that he lacked both testamentary capacity and the capacity to instruct counsel.
Gee was on vacation at the time Dr. JQ’s revised opinion was received. It was sent to her via email on July 26, 2019 following a discussion about the contents of the report between her and another lawyer at her firm.
Upon reviewing Dr. JQ’s revised opinion, Ms. Gee elected not to forward that opinion to counsel for LS. Instead, Ms. Gee elected to internally refer to the revised opinion as “preliminary.” After reviewing further evidence forwarded to him by Ms. Gee, Dr. JQ wrote a letter to Ms. Gee dated October 2, 2019 which endorsed the same conclusions outlined in his revised opinion of July 4, 2019.
On October 4, 2019, Ms. Gee forwarded Dr. JQ’s October 2, 2019 letter to counsel for LS. Dr. JQ’s revised opinion of July 4, 2019 was never forwarded.
From the reprimand
We are hopeful that this process has been of some benefit to you. We thank you for cooperating with the Law Society to resolve this matter without the necessity of a full hearing and we trust that you will apply the lessons learned as a result of this incident throughout the remainder of your legal career. Thank you and good luck.