SOLEDAD NUÑEZ VS. ATTY. ROMULO RICAFORT A.C. NO. 5054.

MAY 29, 2002

Facts:

Sometime in October 1982 petitioner authorized respondent attorney to sell her two parcels of land located in Legazpi City for P40,000. She agreed to give respondent 10 percent of the price as commission. Respondent succeeded in selling the lots, but despite complainant s repeated demands, he did not turn over to her the proceeds of the sale. This forced complainant to file against respondent and his wife an action for a sum of money before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.

Respondent was declared in default and judgment was rendered in favor of petitioner. Respondent appealed said decision to the Court of Appeals but the same was dismissed for failure to pay the docket fee within the required period.

A writ of execution was issued, it appeared however that only a partial amount has been paid by the lawyer. Four postdated checks were subsequently issued to cover the balance. Said checks however, upon presentment were dishonored because the account against which they were drawn was closed. Demands to make good the checks were to no avail so a case for violation of BP 22 was filed by petitioner.

The lawyer denied the allegations and filed several motions for extension of time to file comment. Complainant filed a motion to cite lawyer for contempt for his alleged delaying tactics unbecoming of a lawyer and a law dean. Issue:

What is the liability of the lawyer? Held:

Atty. Romulo Ricafort is guilty of grave misconduct in his dealings with complainant. Rule 1:01 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest and immoral or deceitful conduct . Respondent had no intention to honor the money judgment against him in as can be gleaned from his: (1) issuance of postdated checks; (2) closing of the account against which said checks were drawn; and (3) continued failure to make good the amounts of the checks.

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