A Waterloo, Ont., lawyer’s decision to launch a defamation lawsuit against a former client who complained about him to the law society constituted a professional misconduct, according to the regulator.
When a former client accused him of acting in conflict of interest, lawyer Williams Hoskinson brought an action against the client, Rodney Slagter, on the basis that he never acted for Slagter and his company. According to a Law Society of Upper Canada tribunal decision, Hoskinson did, in fact, act for Slagter and against him in the same mortgage matter.
“In our opinion, it is improper to commence defamation proceedings in order to affect consideration of a complaint by the law society. This is particularly true in this case because, contrary to the allegations made in the defamation action, Mr. Hoskinson did act for Mr. Slagter and Jannet Inc. as he subsequently conceded,” wrote tribunal chairman Malcolm Mercer.