On Tuesday, we posted Narconon’s response to the first of four federal fraud lawsuits filed against the Scientology drug rehab facilities in recent weeks. Now, just days later, Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton has come swinging back, asking the court to accept that Narconon has essentially admitted to the allegations his client made about the deceptive practices at the Nevada facility, Rainbow Canyon Retreat in the town of Caliente.
That’s aggressive lawyering, and maybe an informed approach to Scientology’s legal style, given its history.
A couple additional court notes before we let you loose on the court filing.
An eagle-eyed reader noticed that the law firm hired by Narconon in this lawsuit — Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP — is the same one that used to employ Graham Berry, the New Zealand ex-pat who lives in Southern California and who tangled with Scientology in several different actions. (For a little ancient history involving your narrator, see this story about Berry we did for New Times Los Angeles in 1999, which was also published in the Phoenix New Times.)
We asked Berry about his old firm getting involved, and he posted this to Facebook: “My old law firm, Lewis, Brisbois, is now defending Narconon in Las Vegas after successfully defending against Scientology in the Flynn case (1980s), the Yanny I (appeal) and Yanny II (trial and appeal) and Fishman-Geertz cases. I’m shocked, except that OSA and Eugene Ingram did a potentially damaging investigation of the senior partner of Lewis, Brisbois after we had also won the Fishman-Geertz case.”
Hey, there’s a whole lot of avenues for our readers to run down!
And Graham pointed out another connection we didn’t make right away. Also on Tuesday, we reported that the new judge in Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit against Scienetology is Robert L. Hess.
We should have remembered that name, but it was Berry who reminded us — it was Hess who scheduled an evidentiary hearing in 2002 that resulted in Scientology throwing in the towel in one of the church’s greatest court defeats of all time. Rather than have that hearing occur, the morning it was scheduled, Scientology showed up with a check for nearly $9 million, ending litigation that had lasted for more than 20 years with former church member Lawrence Wollersheim. That capitulation motivated us to write about the entire Wollersheim saga. Just a couple of weeks before it was scheduled to run in New Times Los Angeles in October 2002, the newspaper folded, and we weren’t able to publish that story until 2008. Give it a look when you have some time to kill.
Anyway, as Graham points out, Judge Hess has plenty of history with Scientology, and so the church’s move to disqualify Judge Rafael Ongkeko could not have turned out worse. Hess is well aware of Scientology’s legal shenanigans, and also should be very familiar with Scientology’s deceptive corporate structure, which was very much a part of the Wollersheim matter. We’re looking forward to how he handles Laura’s lawsuit.
So, without further ado, here’s Ryan Hamilton’s motion in the Welch lawsuit. As usual, we’re looking forward to reactions from our lawyerly readers…
Karen celebrates Year One
A year ago, Karen de la Carriere began her adventures in video…
Posted by Tony Ortega on March 27, 2014 at 07:00
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