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Ray Jeffrey fends off Scientology’s attempt to get him in hot water with the California Bar

Ray_Jeffrey2

 
San Antonio attorney Ray Jeffrey received word this week that a Bar complaint filed against him by the Church of Scientology in California has been dismissed.

As part of its scorched-earth litigation approach, Scientology is known for filing endless motions to gum up a court, and for trying to get the attorneys of their opponents disqualified for trumped-up reasons. But the litigious church is also known for filing Bar complaints against attorneys. And Ray Jeffrey, who has had more success litigating against the church than anyone in recent years, turned out to be no exception.

The reason? He advised Karen de la Carriere when she was accused by the church of aiding an infiltration of its facilities, and later of misusing her YouTube channel by infringing on the church’s copyrights. Karen, who lives in Los Angeles, has a local attorney to handle litigation, and she found another local attorney who specialized in intellectual property cases to help her defend her channel. But she also turned to Ray Jeffrey.

Ray had made a name for himself representing former Scientology executive Debbie Cook when she was sued by the church, for representing former Scientology spies Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold when they sued Scientology after their termination, and, until recently, Jeffrey represented Monique Rathbun in her harassment lawsuit against Scientology leader David Miscavige.

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De la Carriere didn’t appreciate receiving accusatory letters from Scientology attorneys, and she asked Jeffrey to represent her in communications with the church. So Jeffrey stepped in and asked Scientology to communicate with her through him.

Scientology’s attorney Gary Soter then filed a complaint with the California Bar, saying that Ray Jeffrey had no right, as a Texas attorney, to represent de la Carriere in a California legal matter.

Ray’s response is a letter that we thought you’d want to see.

There are very few attorneys in the United States who will take on the Church of Scientology. (And some who have may regret that they did.) But Ray’s record of success is impressive, and we think you’ll see why when you read his letter. As a result of it, the Bar has dismissed Soter’s complaint.

Here’s a long excerpt from the letter, which is dated December 28. Below, we have the entire document embedded.

[Editor’s note: Earlier today, we posted a version of this letter that had been supplied to us by Karen de la Carriere. It turned out to be a draft and not the final letter sent to the Bar. This is now the final version of the letter, which contained a few slight changes in wording, but some substantial differences in paragraph order.]

 

Thank you for your time on the phone and for granting an extension on my response to Mr. Gary Soter’s false complaint that I have been practicing law in the State of California. The complainant, Mr. Soter, is counsel to the Church of Scientology.

For 30 years, I have practiced law in Texas. I am AV rated by Martindale Hubbell, recognized as a “Texas Super Lawyer,” and board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in both Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law. I have served my community as mayor, as city council member, and on the boards of several charities and civic organizations. I have never been sued nor have I been the subject of a Bar Association complaint. I take my ethical and professional standing very seriously.

I have represented or been consulted by numerous people who have spoken out against the Church of Scientology. My experience includes three well-publicized lawsuits and at least a dozen other matters concerning Scientology. As a result of my experience litigating and dealing with the Church of Scientology, I have developed expertise shared by relativelyl few attorneys in the United States. I am consulted by individuals from around the world who have issues with Scientology. Scientology, through Mr. Soter and others, is heavy-handed and threatening toward persons who have displeased it. These threats are intimidating and disturbing for most people who receive them.

I have reason to believe that this bar complaint against me is Scientology’s latest attempt to disrupt our ongoing Texas litigation. Our current case against the Church of Scientology has been featured in worldwide news stories and several documentaries, including HBO’s acclaimed documentary, “Going Clear.” The complainant, Mr. Soter, has been actively involved in all our Texas litigation. Attached is the recent Texas appellate court ruling in our client’s favor, which describes Scientology’s policy of abusive tactics against its enemies (Exhibit A). Scientology’s official doctrine mandates the destruction of its enemies, and the use of litigation “to harass and discourage rather than to win”…

Karen De La Carriere is a lovely, compassionate woman who lives in Los Angeles. She is a former high-ranking Scientologist who has suffered cruel mistreatment by the Church of Scientology and has spoken out courageously against its human rights abuses. I have never met Ms. De La Carriere in person, nor have I visited California to render legal services for her. She has been represented for years by California-licensed attorney, Carl E. Kohlweck…

In 2013, I helped Ms. de La Carriere concerning a disgusting, malicious website created by Scientology to attack her. The site falsely accused her of prostitution in her youth, even though she was the wife of the president of the Church of Scientology International. Scientology routinely creates these hateful websites against “enemies.” The site was hosted by a Texas company and violated the host’s terms of use. Due in part to my efforts, the Texas company took down Scientology’s hate site.

Also in 2013, Ms. de la Carriere received a threatening letter from Mr. Soter. The letter, which is attached, was filled with baseless accusations and threats (Exhibit B). Without my assistance, Ms. de la Carriere sent the attached reply to Mr. Soter (Exhibit C). Then, she contacted me in Texas for insight about Scientology’s methods and thinking.

Ms. De La Carriere was uncomfortable with direct communications from Mr. Soter, and requested that I serve as her contact person for any future Scientology threats. I emailed Mr. Soter (whom I knew personally from his involvement in my Texas litigation) that I represented Ms. de La Carriere, and I asked him to direct any further communications to me. My email to Mr. Soter is attached (Exhibit D). Neither Ms. de la Carriere nor I ever revoked this request. Because Scientology’s accusations and threats were so ridiculous, it was unsurprising that we never again heard from Soter or Scientology about the matter.

In March of 2015, Ms. De La Carriere received another baseless and threatening letter from Mr. Soter on behalf of Scientology. According to Soter, Ms. de La Carriere’s worldwide internet protests against Scientology abuses violated Scientology’s intellectual property rights. Soter’s letter is attached (Exhibit F). Ms. de la Carriere forwarded Soter’s letter to me, and reminded Soter to direct such communications to me (Exhibit G). Then, Soter forwarded his threat letter to me (Exhibit H).

Ms. de la Carriere retained Andra Vaccaro, a California lawyer with expertise in intellectual property litigation, to handle any actual legal dispute that might arise…

In consultation with Ms. de la Carriere’s California legal counsel, Ms. Vaccaro, I sent Mr. Soter the attached letter (Exhibit I). I reminded him that I had asked him to direct to me his communications for Ms. de la Carriere. A Texas attorney may not direction communicate with a represented person. In this regard, Texas Disciplinary Rule of Professional Conduct 4.02 appears to be similar to California Rule of Professional Conduct 2-100.

Scientology threat letters are upsetting, and it would have been basic professional courtesy to send it to me, rather than to surprise Mr. de la Carriere. Mr. Soter knows me well. Of course, Scientology’s goal is to upset and intimidate, so it is not surprising that Mr. Soter bypassed me and sent his threat directly to Ms. de la Carriere.

In the letter, I also provided our comments on Scientology’s frivolous intellectual property allegations. Again, Scientology’s threats were so empty that we never heard from Mr. Soter or Scientology again. That is, until this California Bar Association complaint.

My assistance to Ms. De La Carriere is limited to the unusual world of Scientology-related matters. Scientology’s primary headquarters are in Florida and California, and it has operations in most of the United States. Ironically, it is Scientology’s usual ploy to claim that it is not governed by the laws of any state. I have worked with Ms. De La Carriere’s California legal counsel, and it is not my role to advise her on, or to handle, California litigation or other California legal matters. Based on the foregoing, I hope that the California Bar will put this matter to rest…

The complainant, Mr. Soter, is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of California and is general counsel to the Church of Scientology. His practice involves threatening and attempting to silence Scientology’s perceived enemies throughout the United States. Unfortunately, Mr. Soter and the Scientologists consider me to be an “enemy.” I have been involved in significant Texas litigation on behalf of citizens whose rights have been attacked by Mr. Soter and the Church of Scientology. In every one of those cases, Mr. Soter and his clients have used their vast resources to attack my co-counsel and me. They have conducted surveillance on my office and my home, and they have threatened me and filed unsuccessful motions attacking my professional conduct. Mr. Soter is actively involved in the Texas litigation, but is not admitted pro hac vice.

It is Scientology’s unwavering policy to “destroy” its perceived enemies through litigation and other “Fair Game” tactics. Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs (“OSA”) handles all “threats” against Scientology, including litigation. OSA’s predecessor — Scientology’s Guardian’s Office (“GO”) — ran the largest domestic espionage operation in United States history. Eleven key Scientologists involved in this espionage were caught by the FBI, convicted, and sentenced to federal prison. The FBI’s raid on the Church of Scientology was the largest raid it had ever conducted. The complainant, Mr. Soter, works for OSA.

For decades, the multi-billion dollar Church of Scientology has devoted itself to “scorched-earth” litigation. In a 2013 article in the Rutgers Journal of Law & Religion, the authors observed: “Of all the contemporary sectarian groups operating in the world today, Scientology’s litigation aggression is unrivalled.” In the University of Texas’ The Review of Litigation, another author examined Scientology’s “extremely aggressive litigation tactics,” and proposed solutions for its abusive behavior. The Church of Scientology is listed as a notable vexatious litigant in Wikipedia’s discussion of “Vexatious Litigation.” American judges, legal scholars, historians, and journalists have documented Scientology’s calculated abuse of our legal system.

Scientology has a long and ignominious history of judicial and extra-judicial warfare against litigants, opposing counsel, witnesses, and even judges. As noted, Scientology does not attack only opposing attorneys; its attacks against the judiciary are well known. In its notorious Wollersheim litigation, Scientology unsuccessfully sought to disqualify the entire United States District Court for the Central District of California, and it unsuccessfully brought a federal suit against not just the two presiding judges whose rulings displeased it, but against the entire Los Angeles Superior Court.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter. It is my hope that The State Bar of California will not allow itself to be used by the Church of Scientology to harass me and to influence ongoing litigation in Texas. The complainant, Mr. Soter, writes threat letters to individuals in Texas and other states where he is not licensed. He comes to Texas and provides legal services in Texas litigation. By making a simple complaint against me, he has served Scientology’s goal of distracting me from our precedent-setting litigation in Texas. I believe Soter’s complaint is brought in bad faith, and I hope there is some applicable mechanism to punish his misuse of the State Bar of California’s services.

 
The calmly aggressive tone of Ray Jeffrey’s letter reminds us of his style in court. We’ve made a couple of trips to Texas to see Jeffrey in action. What impressed us was that he has a homey, warm persona which is entirely genuine, but in court that friendliness works to his advantage. We saw him time and again make Scientology’s attorneys look foolish, and always while appearing to do so in a friendly way. It’s quite entertaining.

In contrast to Jeffrey’s almost laconic style, Elliott Cappuccio was like a laser in court. Scientology’s attorneys do their best to confuse the court by turning the law on its head. But we witnessed Cappuccio slice through that with a precision that left us astonished. And as for appeals, we considered Leslie Hyman’s briefs some of the most impressive we’ve ever read.

This is the team that was fired last week from one of the most significant cases of Scientology litigation to be filed in years, a case they were winning. Imagine not wanting this team on your side. We’re having a hard time understanding it.

For a glimpse of what it was like to see this team in action, we recommend going back over three posts from September 2013, with our live blogging from the Comal County courthouse. They were some of the best days ever at the Underground Bunker…

LIVE FROM TEXAS: The Monique Rathbun vs. Scientology Temporary Injunction Hearing
MONIQUE RATHBUN’S TESTIMONY: Day One Finishes in Her Temporary Injunction Hearing
MONIQUE RATHBUN VS SCIENTOLOGY, DAY 2: Texas Showdown Shifts Gears

Here’s the full text of Ray Jeffrey’s letter to the California Bar…

Ray Jeffrey Letter to CA Bar

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on February 3, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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