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Facilitator's Guide - Small Claims Court Case Study (The Email)

Opening Paragraph

Just before his Small Claims Court trial began, Paul Singh reviewed the evidence brief prepared by Rhonda Milburn, the opposing side’s former paralegal.  Paul discovered a printout of a confidential email that Rhonda had sent to her client, Tony Cameron, accusing him of fraud and withdrawing from representation.  Paul didn’t know how to proceed.
  1. This case is intended for a study group discussion session on professional responsibility in Small Claims Court.
  2. Participants will be expected to put themselves in the position of the lawyer/paralegal, Paul Singh in the case and to identify and analyze the legal, professional and personal challenges he faces.
  3. Participants will also be expected to develop alternatives and an action plan for resolving the issues in accordance with Paul Singh’s professional obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct/Paralegal Rules of Conduct.
Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Inadvertent Communications, r. 7.2-10 and Commentary
  • Courtesy and Good Faith, rr. 7.2-1, 7.2-2  
  • Integrity, r. 2.1-1
  • Unrepresented Persons, r. 7.2-9
  • Disclosure of Error or Omission, r. 5.1-4
  • Errors and Omissions, r. 7.8
Paralegal Rules of Conduct and Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines
  • Courtesy and Good Faith, rr. 7.01(1), (7)
    • Guideline, 17, ss. 1 to 3
  • Integrity and Civility, rr. 2.01(1), (2), (3)
    • Guideline 1, ss. 4 to 6
  • Dealing with Unrepresented Parties, r. 4.05
    • Guideline 12, ss. 21, 22
  • Errors and Omissions, r. 4.01(7)
    • Guideline 20, ss. 1 and 2
  • Errors, r. 3.02(21)
    • Guideline 7, s. 15

Suggested Discussion Questions
Assume that you are the lawyer/paralegal in this case and answer the following questions with reference to the relevant Rules of Professional Conduct/Paralegal Rules of Conduct:
  1. Would you use the information contained in the email at trial? Why or why not?
  2. Is Paul obligated to advise the Small Claims Court of this issue?
  3. What discussion, if any, would you have with your client about the email?
  4. What duties, if any, does Paul have to Tony?
  5. Would you draw Tony’s attention to the confidential email in the evidence brief? Why or why not?
  6. What duties, if any, does Rhonda have to Tony?
Terms or Concepts Explained