Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay lawyer faces professional misconduct allegations

A Thunder Bay lawyer is facing allegations that he misled several clients over more than a decade, including claiming that a settlement had been reached when he had never actually filed legal action.
The Law Society of Ontario has made allegations of professional misconduct against Thunder Bay lawyer Thomas Michael Harris. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

A Thunder Bay lawyer is facing allegations that he misled several clients over more than a decade, including claiming that a settlement had been reached when he had never actually filed legal action.

The Law Society Tribunal late last month filed the allegations against Thomas Michael Harris, applying for a hearing to determine whether there was professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming of a licensed lawyer.

Harris is facing several separate allegations, many of which claim that he failed to commence legal action that he had been retained to undertake.

In one case, between November 2005 and August 2017, Harris did not commence an action he had been retained to launch and "failed to be honest and candid and act with integrity and in good faith for a period of almost 12 years," which included advising his client that there had been a $450,000 settlement.

The filing also alleges that Harris failed to file an expert's valuation report required by a case conference order, which resulted in a default judgment against his client for $240,000.

Another allegation claims that Harris withdrew a client's claim to terminate spousal support payments and falsely advising the client that his firm would make payments on the client's behalf. The tribunal alleges that ultimately led to the client's driver's licence being suspended for not paying spousal support.

Harris' law licence had previously been put under an administrative suspension by the Law Society of Ontario. A proceeding management conference is scheduled for early December.