Lawyer suspended for sleeping in, missing flight, lying about it

Sumit Ahuja’s month-long suspension comes partly because of a past case of dishonesty
Lawyer who worked at a Langley office had been out late, attending a Canucks game, the previous night | Brian A. Jackson, Shutterstock

B.C. lawyer Sumit Ahuja has been suspended for one month because he slept through his alarm, missed a flight to Kelowna and then lied to the court and his client by saying that the plane was overbooked.

Ahuja had been drinking alcohol while watching the Vancouver Canucks beat the L.A. Kings in a 3-2 squeaker of a game on April 4, 2016, and was home later than planned, according to a Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) hearing panel's decision.

Instead of owning up to his lapse, Ahuja on April 5, 2016, asked his assistant to send a memo to the court in Kelowna, advising that he had missed his plane because the flight was overbooked, the decision noted.

He was allowed to attend the Kelowna court hearing via telephone and, before he joined the proceedings, the judge noted to opposing council that he had been advised that Ahuja missed his flight due to overbooking

Ahuja did not immediately go to his office and, in several emails with partners of his firm, Ahuja apologized profusely for missing the plane but did not correct the explanation offered, the hearing panel noted.

It was not until the evening of April 6, 2016, that Ahuja admitted to partners at his firm what happened. The next night, he sent an email to several partners and confirmed that he had provided wrong answers to direct questions about whether he had lied to his client, according to the decision.

“You asked me point blank, and I didn’t tell you the entire truth,” Ahuja wrote in the email, the hearing panel noted.

In its decision on disciplinary action, the LSBC hearing panel considered similar past cases and Ahuja’s professional conduct record. At the hearing, Ahuja testified that when he applied for admission to the LSBC, he admitted he provided a false name to a police officer while driving under suspension. As a pre-admission requirement, he provided a letter to the LSBC’s credentials committee addressing the importance of truthfulness and candour for lawyers.

The court filing did not mention what firm Ahuja had been working for but said that he was working in the Langley office of a firm that had offices in both Vancouver and Langley.

Ahuja had been working for Lindsay Kenney, which has offices in Vancouver and Langley. Lindsay Kenney managing partner Frank Potts confirmed to Business in Vancouver that Ahuja is no longer working for the firm.

In addition to the one-month suspension, Ahuja must pay $3,500 in costs, plus disbursements.

gkorstrom@biv.com 

@GlenKorstrom 

comments powered by Disqus

More from Law & Politics

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer on taxes, pipelines and pot

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer slams Trudeau government for killing pipeline projects

Read Article

Who's getting sued: November 14, 2017

These corporate claims were filed with the BC Supreme Court registry in Vancouver. Information is derived from notices of civil claim. Civil claims have not ...

Read Article

Lawsuit of the week: Four Seasons’ landlords sue for breach of lease

Landlord Cadillac Fairview Corp. sues Four Seasons Hotels Ltd. for breach of lease, claiming hotel on West Georgia Street isn’t up to standard

Read Article

Profile: U.S. Consul General to B.C. and Yukon Katherine Dhanani

Diplomatic service calls Massachusetts native north

Read Article

Who's getting sued: November 7, 2017

These corporate claims were filed with the BC Supreme Court registry in Vancouver. Information is derived from notices of civil claim. Civil claims have yet ...

Read Article

Subscribe to our mailing lists

You may withdraw your consent at any time.

* indicates required

Newsletters

* You can modify your newsletter subscriptions at the bottom of any newsletter you receive.
Business in Vancouver Media Group
303 West 5th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia
V5Y 1J6 · Canada
604-688-2398
×