Doug Moores facing possible sanctions

Terry Roberts
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Law Society alleges wrongdoing against Bay Roberts lawyer

Doug Moores

A prominent Conception Bay North lawyer is facing a host of serious allegations of wrongdoing and will appear before a Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador adjudication tribunal this week for possible sanction.

The Law Society is alleging that A. Doug Moores failed to comply with what are called "Uniform Trust Account Rules" and "did fail to avoid questionable conduct" in connection with 12 property transactions that occurred in the Bay Roberts area between 1999 and 2009.

It's alleged that, among other things, Moores inappropriately withdrew money from a trust account without the authorization or knowledge of the person for whom the money was held in trust, and that Moores had clients sign documents acknowledging the receipt of deposits which are alleged to not have been received.

The Law Society has scheduled a hearing at its Water Street, St. John's office for July 10-11 to determine possible sanctions against Moores, who was called to the bar in 1972 and is a partner in the firm Moores & Collins Law Offices in Bay Roberts.

According to a Law Society document obtained by The Compass, Moores is alleged to have breached his professional responsibilities and is "deserving of sanction."

In a strongly worded complaint, the society alleges that Moores ;

- failed to properly supervise legal assistants;

- failed to act with integrity;

- failed to act with competence and provide a proper quality of service;

- failed to act with impartiality and to avoid conflict of interest between clients;

- did fail in his duty respecting preservation of clients' property;

- did fail in his duty respecting the administration of justice;

- and did fail to avoid questionable conduct.

In relation to the 12 properties, it's alleged that Moores "failed to be on guard against being duped by unscrupulous clients or associated persons in connection with the said transactions," and that he failed to supervise his real estate practice in connection with these transactions.

It's also alleged that Moores failed to disclose "material facts" to his lender clients and purchaser clients, and that he failed to serve his clients "to the standard of a competent lawyer."

The complaint also finds fault in Moores' record keeping, and that he provided inaccurate information to clients and mortgage lenders

The Law Society is also alleging that Moores swore an affidavit without meeting the client, and conducted "false attestations." In other words, the name Douglas Moores, QC appears as a witness on documents, "however, (Moores) is alleged to not have been present when true documents were signed."

It's not known how much money is involved, though one complainant contacted by The Compass said civil action is being considered to recover "tens of thousands of dollars."

The matter is sure to send shockwaves through not only the legal community, but also the volunteer and recreation communities in Conception Bay North.

The matter surfaces less than two months after Moores, a resident of Harbour Grace, was selected as an inductee into the Newfoundland and Labrador Volunteer Hall of Fame.

An induction ceremony is planned for Oct. 4 during a gala dinner in St. John's.

Moores was chair of the 1992 NL Summer Games, which was co-hosted by the towns of Carbonear and Harbour Grace, and is a founding member of the CeeBee Stars senior hockey team.

In light of these developments, his induction into the provincial volunteer hall of fame is no longer a certainty.

When contacted today, Edward Roberts, who chairs the three-member selection panel, said he was unaware of the Law Society matter.

"We'll wait until the process is complete, and then all I can say is I … will speak to my colleagues on the selection committee," Roberts stated.

When contacted, Moores declined to comment, and directed questions to his lawyer, Peter O'Flaherty.

O'Flaherty said he will comment "at the appropriate time," likely after the hearing is concluded.

Bern Coffey, the lawyer representing the law society, confirmed the matter will proceed to a hearing this week, but declined to add anything more than what was contained in the document.

Geographic location: Bay Roberts

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  • pleamon
    September 24, 2013 - 23:13

    The Law Society is alleging that A. Doug Moores failed to comply with what are called "Uniform Trust Account Rules" and "did fail to avoid questionable conduct" ....whatever happened to this character. Is he still practising law?

  • Eli
    July 17, 2013 - 19:05

    Hey Dougie, talk to Jerome Kennedy. He was unequivocal in his condemnation of present day judges alledging theer were incompetent political appointees amongst them. He was also called on the mat and what did he plead? "I was taken out of context". Life went on the the yellowtail. Try something like that Dougie.

    • jim
      August 25, 2013 - 20:22

      What happened with this story? It all went quiet after this initial posting. Did the guy get booted or as one cynic might expect, a kiss and told go forward and sin no more!

  • Bemused Observer
    July 16, 2013 - 17:44

    Wait a minute. Previous reports indicate that it was established that there was no gain to anyone. Why was the Law Society in such a rush to smear a member who may not have followed administrative procedures as carefully as required? A direction to be more careful was all that was required instead of the public circus and irreparable harm to Mr Moores that evolved. This was not even newsworthy. What I have observed through news reports on this case is similar to the unnecessarily aggressive behavior by some of the lawyers involved with turning the Cougar crash inquiry. THAT was turned into an OJ Simpson-like trial instead of an inquiry. What disgraceful conduct; on the part of the Law Society.

  • Don II
    July 11, 2013 - 13:36

    It appears that most lawyers are honest, ethical, impartial, well educated and competent. It appears that some lawyers do not always meet that high standard. The damage that a lawyer can intentionally or unintentionally inflict on an unsuspecting, trusting, less educated or less sophisticated client can be financially and personally ruinous for the client. Making mistakes in the practice of law is a serious matter which can and does result in serious consequences for lawyers, clients and other adversely affected parties. I will not be commenting on this particular case which is reported by The Compass but it appears that matters such as this raises issues regarding the practice and administration of the law generally which should be addressed more fully by the media in the public interest. The public rely on and trust in the integrity, honesty, impartiality and competence of lawyers to assist them in many legal matters from real estate transactions to being defended against serious criminal charges at trial. It appears that in order to protect their own interests, clients seeking legal advice or representation must undertake due diligence. It appears that clients must check the background of lawyers whom they intend to approach or retain for legal advice or representation. It appears that searching the Registry at the Supreme Court and the Law Society Benchers Notes can reveal information regarding client lawsuits against lawyers and client complaints of breaches of the Law Society rules and disciplinary action taken against lawyers. It appears that it is difficult for a client to obtain information to determine if a lawyer is a business partner or relative of the opposing lawyer or party to the case and the client must depend on the lawyer to reveal such a potential conflict of interest. It appears that it is difficult for a client to obtain information regarding a lawyer's criminal record. It appears that it is difficult for a client to obtain information regarding a lawyers record of success or failure in handling cases before a Court. It also appears that the per capita percentage of lawyers in Newfoundland and Labrador who routinely failed to file required documents to pursue appeals in Court before the limitation of action period expired is the highest in Canada! It appears that easy access to such background information would be very helpful to a client in making informed decisions to retain the services of a lawyer who is demonstrably honest, ethical, competent and impartial. It appears that the Law Society should make available to the public for free or at very low cost an easily accessible on line registry and static hard copy registry which records such information and provide a convenient open public inspection of records which include:(1) all pending or decided lawsuits against lawyers (2) all complaints and disciplinary action filed against lawyers. (3) the total number of legal services billing disputes against lawyers resolved by a Taxing hearing or referral to Court and by default Judgement against the client. and (4) a regularly updated record of the Judicial decisions provided in all Court cases handled by lawyers in Newfoundland and Labrador. It appears that public access to such information would not be as be prejudicial to lawyers with a past record of improper conduct than it is to other persons who are criminally charged and publicly identified prior to knowing the disposition of the allegations against them at trial! It appears that when the public is seeking competent legal advice or legal representation it is not just a simple matter of relying on a lawyers advertised services and abilities or calling the Law Society to ask for help in finding an honest, ethical and competent lawyer. It appears that the legal profession is a buyer beware closed shop which polices itself. It appears that there is practically no defense available for clients against being inadequately advised, inadequately represented, not advised of a conflict of interest, over charged for legal services whether rendered or not rendered or being defrauded by a lawyer. It appears that the client would likely never have known about a lawyers past criminal record, past convictions and discipline for breaches of Law Society rules, being a defendant in lawsuits filed by former clients, vulnerability to being blackmailed or improperly directed or influenced by other parties, significant involvement in other business activities outside the practice of law, failure to declare actual or potential conflicts of interest as a party to a Power of Attorney or inflating the complexity of a case in order to justify extracting usurious billing payments and legitimize suing to obtain Judgements for the seizure of the payments or property in lieu of defaulted payment from the client. The client may not know about their right to file a complaint against a lawyer, may be too intimidated to complain or may feel that the Law Society will not investigate, rule against or sanction its own members. It appears that complaints filed by clients against their lawyers are not as successful in resolving the issues or obtaining rulings requiring discipline or sanction as are complaints filed by lawyers against other lawyers. It appears that improvement in transparency and effective recourse for clients including access to competent advice and representation in pursuing investigation, public hearings, appeals and fair resolution of complaints against members of the legal profession is clearly required in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • NO NAME
    July 11, 2013 - 12:10

    Good ole karma

  • Daisy
    July 10, 2013 - 11:06

    I truly believe that where there is Smoke there is Fire !!! Mr. Moores must be feeling the heat now and so he should!!!

  • Donna
    July 10, 2013 - 07:48

    its not RCMP charges its a law society complaint that they are dealing with. Mr. moores was my divorce lawyer many years ago and I was pleased with the job. If he failed to supervise the legal assistants and they went off on there own doing work he should lay them all off and get more. They should not have been doing things on there own. They are not the lawyers but some think they are. The other stuff will follow and he can carry on.

  • Not surprised
    July 10, 2013 - 06:26

    too bad , embarrassing to the moores family ,embarrassing to hr grace

  • Whaddaya At
    July 09, 2013 - 19:16

    Hey, Mike Curnew, in 1994, an ' outstanding citizen ' and President of the Law Society of NL was sent to prison for 5 years for doing what Mr. Moores is alleged to have done, so give it up with the ' outstanding citizen ' bit. As for wishing Mr. Moores ' all the best ', put yourself in the shoes of one of the complainants who is considering legal action to recover tens of thousands of dollars from Mr. Moores.

    • Dick Barrett
      July 10, 2013 - 15:54

      To the person WHADDAYA AT: Tens of thousands of dollars....you must be on the law society panel to know that information or you think you know all. Before making comments, know what you are talking about and be like the rest of us, wait until the real story comes out. Good think you claim to know all about it. The man did a good job for me some years back and I can not comment on what he done now because like most of us, we are only reading stories posted here online. But maybe you do know all. From what I read its not a Court Case in any Court, its a panel of the Law Society.

  • Tim Whatley
    July 09, 2013 - 12:06

    No doubt in my mind that he is guilty.

  • Long Overdue
    July 09, 2013 - 09:10

    I hope the Law Society will continue to dig and undoubtedly will reveal much, much more wrong-doing. Its about time his arrogance be challenged! I hope all of his victims will come forward and put him in his place. Finally....going down!

    • Give Me A Break
      July 09, 2013 - 12:40

      My personal opinion: ...victims...it says in the story "unscrupulous clients". If you or someone you know feel that they are a victim of some kind with the man, let it out. File a complaint sure yourself. Good to know there's people out there that have a chip on their shoulders and want to dig someone's hole a bit deeper. I myself had Mr. Moores as a lawyer and he got the results I wanted on the custody of my children. We have to wait to hear his side of the story. Don't know why Edward Roberts was contacted about the award, what does an award have to do with possible charges. I dont know all the facts on what happened and I bet most of us dont. I can only give my personal opinion on the man, and he did a fine job for me. I then can say that I am not one of the victims. From reading the story the RCMP are NOT involved. Your comment on finally going down....going down where. Mr. Moores has did a lot for Conception Bay and a lot for a lot of his clients. Just as many clients are happy with him than are not happy. I don't have a bad word for the man and would hire him again.

  • NoneYaBusiness
    July 09, 2013 - 08:13

    Wrong doing was done here, and no matter who he is or what he has done in the past, he still should be treated like anyone else. If found guilty, which I am sure he will be, consequences of his actions should be suffered. Many people seem great and I am sure they are, but many many people and actually pretty much everyone has skeletons in their closets, some worse than others and some from the people we least expect !!!

  • mike curnew
    July 09, 2013 - 00:57

    think we should all wait and see if he is guilty first im in this community 45 years and new mr moores from his hockey day's and all and I only knew him as a outstanding citizen and wish him all the best and I hope this community could get some back bone and stand up for one of our communities leaders because he stood up for enough of us best of luck doug

  • joe
    July 08, 2013 - 23:58

    haha, just making his move into politics,,, got to be a good swindler to join the old boys club

  • Whaddaya At
    July 08, 2013 - 23:30

    The caption under the picture should read, ' would you buy a used car from this guy '?. Guess his induction into the Hall of Fame is on hold until the 7 charges against him by the Law Society are dealt with. lol.

  • Tom
    July 08, 2013 - 21:43

    Hey people, these are just allegations that haven't been proven yet. Innocent until proven guilty, remember?????!!!!

  • Millie
    July 08, 2013 - 21:43

    We should wait to hear his side of the allegations.

  • Scott Free
    July 08, 2013 - 20:12

    Geez, with those credentials, he'd be a shoe-in for appointment to Prorougie Steve's Senate; he'd even raise the credibilty factor in the upper chamber.

  • George
    July 08, 2013 - 19:46

    I have always found Mr. Moores and his family to be of the utmost in sincereity and honesty.I am sure that he will be found innocent of any suggested wrongdoings.

  • Annie B.
    July 08, 2013 - 19:41

    Do not believe everything you read.

  • No Name
    July 08, 2013 - 19:37

    How the rich get richer I guess! Induct him, more like arrest him...

  • Linda Smith
    July 08, 2013 - 19:29

    I don't think at a wrong "supposedly" conmitted today should erase the many rights that were peformed so many yeas ago!

  • Wendy
    July 08, 2013 - 16:29

    I don't thinn I would induct someone with this track record, in my opinion.

    • Becky
      July 09, 2013 - 08:24

      What track record????? Doug Moores has always been in the media in a positive way. The volunteer work that he done is still the same. That hasn't changed.

  • tina clarke
    July 08, 2013 - 16:21

    hard to believe but then again it happens everywhere!

  • Me Next
    July 08, 2013 - 16:00

    He'd make great politician!!