Bohol lawyer suspended for abandoning client’s case, causing dismissal
The Supreme Court (SC) has suspended abogado J. Albert Tinampay from practicing law for one year because he never disclosed that he was representing his client, causing the latter to be declared in default and lose the case in 2000.
In a recent 11-page decision, the SC 2nd Division also ordered Tinampay to return the amounts of P121,000 and $950 to complainant Victoria Sousa.
The SC found Tinampay guilty of violating Canons 17 and 18 and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). It warned that failure to comply would be dealt with more severely.
Sousa alleged that during the pre-trial of her case for annulment of sale before the Tagbilaran City Regional Trial Court (RTC), Tinampay remained silent and did not submit any notice for his substitution as her new counsel.
Thus, Sousa and her former counsel were declared in default, leading to the dismissal of the case. Yet, Tinampay allegedly continued to accept payment.
Tinampay argued that he was never Sousa’s attorney and Teofisto Cabilan remained to be her counsel of record. He said there was no retainer agreement, although he admitted that he billed Sousa P41,500 as referral fee.
The SC, however, said Tinampay’s claim was belied by the special power of attorney (SPA) executed by Sousa on January 13, 2000, which appointed him to “appear for and in my in all stages all cases [sic] filed for or against me.”
It noted that Tinampay’s inaction was worsened by his failure to inform Sousa so that proper action could be taken to reverse the default order.
“Respondent’s neglect of the legal matter entrusted to him constitutes flagrant violations of the tenets of the CPR. It constitutes inexcusable negligence for which he must be held administratively liable,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul Inting.