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$1.5M lawsuit launched by realtor sanctioned in Richmond deal

Vicky Wang should have appealed the decision with the Financial Services Tribunal rather than going to court, says BCFSA.
A realtor sanctioned for professional misconduct in a Richmond property sale is suing a BCFSA lawyer.

A realtor, who was fined $28,000 for misconduct, is pointing a finger at a lawyer in the case for her role in an "unjust and unfair conclusion" based on "weak and problematic evidence."

Vicky Wang, a Vancouver realtor, filed a claim for $1.5 million in damages against B.C. Financial Services Authority's (BCFSA) senior legal counsel Catherine Davies in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver last June.

Wang, who is self-represented, claimed in her lawsuit she was "bullied and discriminated by the power."

She alleged that Davies exercised "strong" and "aggressive" influence during the disciplinary process that led to BCFSA chief hearing office Andrew Pendray's finding in May 2023 that she committed professional misconduct by lending a client $50,000 to purchase a property on Blundell Road.

Davies' response, however, calls Wang's lawsuit "scandalous, frivolous and vexatious," and asks it to be struck.

Wang was fined almost $28,000 in administrative penalty and enforcement expenses according to a recent sanction decision issued by the BCFSA.

She was also ordered to go through remedial education at UBC's Sauder School of Business and take an ethics course at the Real Estate Institute of Canada.

Wang claims Davies is responsible for a notice of discipline hearing mistakenly claiming Wang made a loan for a property on West 48th Avenue in Vancouver when it was actually for the Blundell Road property, and alleges the complainant provided "controversial, problematic, false statement and intentional complaint" between 2017 and 2018.

She claimed she had "eight years of closer friendship" with the complainant and there was no loan agreement proving she was owed $50,000.

BCFSA ultimately amended the address of the property in question to the Blundell property in the fifth amended notice of discipline hearing issued in January 2023.

Wang also claimed Davies' approach was to "aggressively press and influence (her) to admit misconducts on the basis of (Davies') assumed, misleading, twisted story rather than on the basis of investigated facts and evidence."

Wang said Davies asked her on four occasions to sign an undertaking for an enforced education course in Ontario, which would cost "10 times more than" the course at the UBC Sauder School of Business.

She also alleged issues with Davies' witnesses who were unable to "provide reliable evidence" about the matter. Wang claimed one was an investigator who joined in July 2021 and "didn't have a chance to involve in the investigation," and the other was a broker who had left Sutton West Coast Realty, had no access to the brokerage's documents and testified he "couldn't remember any details about the two transactions" from seven years ago.

Wang claims Davies "couldn't have" found evidence of misconduct in this case.

"This extended repeated discipline process consumed seriously Ms. Wang’s lifetime and energy in the circumstance where there had no clear, sufficient, convincing, cogent evidence in the complaint package and investigated documents to determine misconduct," reads Wang's notice of civil claim.

Wang added she was living on "commission revenue" while she suffered from "deep depression, consistent low mood, isolation, anxiety, insomnia, sicky feeling for more than (four) years," which impacted her ability to go out and network.

"(Wang's) reputation and brand name had been seriously damaged by the published Notice of Discipline Hearing on BCFSA website for the past (four) years," reads the notice of civil claim.

Lawyer unable to understand 'irrelevant and nonsensical allegations'

In a response to the June lawsuit, Davies denied all of the facts alleged in Wang's notice of civil claim.

"The notice of civil claim contains irrelevant and nonsensical allegations and it is not possible for Davies to understand the factual allegations being advanced against her," reads the response.

Davies said the former Real Estate Council of British Columbia, now the BCFSA, received a complaint in 2017 alleging Wang failed to provide a client with a 55-per-cent commission rebate for the purchase of the West 48th Avenue and Blundell Road properties, and failed to deposit rent cheques for the Blundell Road property in time.

According to the response, investigators learned, while looking into the complaint, that Wang had lent $50,000 to the client for the deposit for the Blundell Road property, which led to the disciplinary citation and a hearing in 2023.

Davies said she was acting in her capacity as senior legal counsel for the real estate council or the BCFSA and she carried out her duties "fairly, resolutely and honourably and treated Wang with candour, courtesy and respect."

She denied any wrongdoing in the conduct of the disciplinary proceeding and argued the notice of civil claim was an "abuse of process."

BCFSA lawyer asking for lawsuit to be struck

"(Wang and her company are) suing Davies because they dislike the outcome of her doing her job. However, the law is clear that such an action cannot succeed. The plaintiffs cannot hold Davies responsible as the author of their misfortune," reads Davies' application to have the lawsuit dismissed filed in September 2023.

Wang's notice of civil claim disclosed no reasonable claim, was "unnecessary, scandalous, frivolous or vexatious" and constituted an abuse of process, Davies argued.

In the application, Davies said she "made numerous attempts to achieve an early resolution" and to streamline the process, but Wang rejected her efforts.

"These are routine procedures in disciplinary matters, and Davies at all times behaved toward the plaintiffs with courtesy and respect," reads the application.

Davies also denied misleading the hearing officer during the disciplinary process.

She argued Wang's claim has "no reasonable prospect of success" because the notice of civil claim was "overly long, tedious, difficult to follow and replete with irrelevant and nonsensical information" and the claim for $1.5 million in damages was "an exorbitant and fanciful amount."

She added Wang failed to set out "any possible legal basis" for her claim and "no private action can lie against Davies as opposing counsel."

Davies referred to statutory defences under the Real Estate Services Act and the Disciplinary Authority Protection Act and said she "cannot be held liable for doing her job" as an employee of and counsel for the BCFSA.

Wang subsequently opposed Davies' application in a response filed in the same month.

In a statement to the Richmond News, BCFSA director of communications Candace Jones said the regulator considered "the personal civil suit brought by Wang against an individual on our staff to be inappropriate and vexatious."

"The work undertaken by BCFSA’s legal counsel is in support of the public interest, and within the scope of BCFSA’s consumer protection mandate."

She added the appropriate avenue for Wang and other individuals who disagree with BCFSA's disciplinary decisions is to seek an appeal with the Financial Services Tribunal.

"BCFSA’s guiding principles for regulatory action (are) rooted in fairness and (give) everyone the right to be heard prior to a decision being made, and the opportunity to appeal a decision within 30 days by filing a Notice of Appeal with the Financial Services Tribunal," Jones explained.

The application has not yet been heard and none of the claims have been proven in court.

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