The Law Society of Saskatchewan has suspended lawyer John Hardy for 30 days for failing to respond to requests for information. Friday marked Hardy’s fourth appearance before the society’s disciplinary committee, and he promised members they wouldn’t see him again.
“I sincerely hope this is the last time,” said Hardy, who admitted to two counts of conduct unbecoming a lawyer for failing earlier this year to reply to communications from the law society regarding two complaints.
Although the society found no merit to the complaints, it spent considerable time and resources trying to get Hardy to respond, said Drew Plaxton, the lawyer representing the society during the hearing. In addition to the 30-day suspension, which begins Dec. 21, the society ordered Hardy to pay $5,655 in legal expenses.
Hardy was first reprimanded in 1999 because the society found difficulties with some of his trust reports and he failed to respond to the society’s communications.
In 2004, he received a six-month suspension for failing to serve a client and failing to respond to the society’s communications.
In November 2006, he was suspended for 30 days for failing three clients, including a couple who lost their house because of his inattention to their mortgage file.
Hardy’s lawyer, Morris Bodnar, told the society his client’s problems stem from his diagnosis with major depression. “Mr. Hardy is not a dishonest person,” said Bodnar. “His problem has been a medical problem, and it’s being addressed effectively.”
The Law Society of Saskatchewan’s disciplinary committee has suspended a lawyer for 30 days and fined him more than $3,000 after he pleaded guilty to conduct unbecoming a lawyer in his dealings with three clients.
For Khan Thavisone, 43, and Diana Thomas, 34, and their two children, lawyer John Hardy’s inattention to their mortgage resulted in the family’s eviction from their home and a destroyed credit rating.
“It’s like our nightmare is never ending,” Thavisone said. “You never woke up yet. It’s still dragging on.” A mortgage company was commencing foreclosure on the family’s Avenue E home in 2003. They retained Hardy’s services to apply for a new mortgage, and filled out the necessary paperwork.
Although they received notices threatening the repossession of their home, Hardy told them not to make payments and assured them he would take care of the situation. In March 2004, the family received a notice ordering them out of the house within four days.
While Hardy told the family to stay put on deadline day, a deputy sheriff arrived at their home to escort the family out. They lived in a hotel, then stayed with friends, and couldn’t access any of their possessions for more than three months.
Thomas and Thavisone have lost an $18,000 down payment on the house, plus mortgage payments. Their ruined credit rating means neither can receive a new mortgage nor have a credit card. Following their eviction, Hardy didn’t answer the couple’s calls for a week. “I feel like he shouldn’t be practising,” Thomas said.
According to law society documents, Hardy had agreed to represent another client appealing a drinking and driving conviction. Hardy missed appointments with the woman and failed to provide the Supreme Court of Canada with documents it requested.
Another client who retained Hardy to represent him in a civil suit said no work was done on the file while Hardy repeatedly reassured him the matter would be ready to go to court.
While the law society tried to investigate the complaints, much of the correspondence to Hardy went unanswered, or Hardy sent replies months later. The society charged him with nine counts of conduct unbecoming, including failing to keep appointments with clients without explanation or apology, failing to serve his client in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner and failing to promptly reply to communication from the law society.
Hardy’s lawyer, Morris Bodnar, told the disciplinary committee Thursday his client was struggling with depression at the time. His condition is now well-managed with medication and he sees a psychiatrist and a counsellor, Bodnar said. The law society has received no founded complaints against Hardy in the past two years, Bodnar said. “He has proven himself by doing well,” he said.
The law society had also suspended Hardy’s licence from June until December 2004. Because administrative delays meant Hardy did not get his licence back until February 2005, Bodnar told the committee Hardy shouldn’t receive any further suspension.
Law society lawyer Allan Snell said although the disciplinary committee should be sympathetic to Hardy’s depression, the committee had no medical diagnosis before them. Snell said he doesn’t know how much of an effect depression had on Hardy’s actions, or what impact his inaction would have on clients.
“As compassionate as we may feel for Mr. Hardy, or any other person who suffers from this disease, the function of the law society is to protect the public,” Snell said.
Bodnar said in an interview Hardy was not acting maliciously toward his former clients. “These are not matters where he acted in a devious fashion in trying to line his own pockets,” Bodnar said. Bodnar also told the committee Hardy is sorry for any harm he caused.
Hardy’s licence will be suspended for 30 days starting Dec. 18. When he returns to practise, he must comply with conditions, such as practising in association with another law society-approved lawyer, having no signing authority on trust accounts and continuing with treatment prescribed by his psychiatrist.
He must pay $3,196 in legal expenses, plus the cost of Thursday’s hearing to the law society by June. Thomas and Thavisone said they’ll be filing a claim with the Saskatchewan Lawyers Insurance Association in an attempt to reclaim their losses.
Saskatoon lawyer John David Hardy has been suspended for six months by the Law Society of Saskatchewan, which found him guilty on three charges of conduct unbecoming a lawyer. The suspension was ordered at a sentencing hearing on June 15. He was found guilty in August 2003.
Hardy, a member of the Merchant Law Group, had acknowledged at a Law Society disciplinary hearing that he failed to honour trust conditions imposed on and accepted by him and that he failed to answer with reasonable promptness communications from another lawyer.
One complaint involved Hardy using money held in trust on a client’s real estate deal to make payments on the client’s behalf to an Alberta lawyer for investments in a Calgary company.
Though the buyer of Hardy’s client’s property had paid the full amount of the real estate purchase, that money was not available to pay out the previous mortgage holder, who then took steps to foreclose. That matter has not been entirely resolved, said Law Society co-director Kirsten Logan.
The second complaint involved Hardy’s failure to follow a client’s instructions on a real estate transaction which began in 2000. He failed to answer repeated written correspondence on the matter with a member of the client’s family and with the Law Society. That matter stretched into 2003.
In the third complaint, Hardy was hired by a Mr. B to appeal SGI’s decision to terminate B’s benefits, which he had been receiving because of a 1997 auto accident. Hardy never filed the appeal and did not respond to correspondence and phone calls from the client. The appeal period lapsed.
Hardy was suspended from practising for three weeks in February and March 2003 because of complaints against him to the Law Society. He was allowed to resume practice pending the outcome of the current matters, Logan said.
At the end of six months Hardy will be allowed to practise under conditions that he will not have signing authority on trust accounts, must practise with a member of the Law Society approved by the discipline committee, must continue “treatment as directed by his health professional” and consent to his health professional providing reports to the chair of the disciplinary committee, if requested.
He can apply to the discipline committee to have the conditions removed if he can demonstrate they are no longer necessary. Hardy was also ordered to pay $4,399.23 in costs incurred by the Law Society.
He was disciplined once before, in 1999, for failing to file forms required by the Law Society and for failing to respond.
Saskatoon lawyer John David Hardy was found guilty Tuesday of two counts of conduct unbecoming a member of the Law Society of Saskatchewan.
Hardy, a member of the Merchant Law Group, acknowledged at a law society disciplinary hearing that he failed to honour a trust condition or trust conditions imposed on and accepted by him and that he failed to answer with reasonable promptness letters and communications from another lawyer that required an answer.
Details of the complaints involving three allegations are outlined in an agreed upon Statement of Facts which was not released to the media Tuesday. It will be two or three weeks before the public document is made available, said disciplinary committee chair Brent Klause.
Hardy will be sentenced at a future meeting of senior members of the law society, probably in December.
Tuum Est - It Is Up To You
Not Progress. Get forward?
Why eastward, and westward
And southward, and nor’ward.
Big barriers stop me!
Demolish that monster,
Bemuddles me more: I did
Think myself clever,
But fear from the Centre
I’m farther than ever.
The Metropolitan Minotaur
Law School: University of Saskatchewan
Degree: LL.B. (Bachelor of Laws)
Admitted to Bar: 1988
Practice Areas: Real Estate, General Law
International Standard Lawyer Number:
The ISLN uniquely identifies each practicing attorney in the Martindale-Hubbell database. It helps Bar Associations track lawyers who move from one jurisdiction to another.
Saskatoon Lawyer John Hardy is the son of the allergist Dr. Larry Hardy. When acting as the MD's counsel at the College hearing, John Hardy said he “hoped the case won't lessen patients' confidence in Dr. Hardy’s abilities.”
That recommendation must be viewed in the context of the lawyer's own history: In 2004 the Law Society of Saskatchewan suspended John Hardy for 6 months. At the end of that time, John Hardy was allowed to resume practicing law under these conditions:
It did not take long for John Hardy to breach those conditions. During 2006 and 2007, lawyer Hardy was handed two new suspensions, of 30 days each. John Hardy meets the definition of recidivist: a repeat offender.
John David Hardy suspended for 45 days effective Nov 12, 2012 plus fine, costs, practice conditions.
John David Hardy suspended for 30 days effective Dec 21, 2007.
John David Hardy suspended for 30 days effective Dec 18, 2006.
John David Hardy suspended for 6 months effective June 10, 2004.
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