Law Society alleges wrongdoing against Bay Roberts lawyer
© Telegram file photo by Rosie Gillingham
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.