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David Miscavige wastes no time once the stay is lifted in Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit

MV2Captain_David_Miscavige

 
As we expected, as soon as the Texas Supreme Court temporarily lifted the stay in Monique Rathbun’s harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, a motion was filed this week in Dib Waldrip’s Comal County court, and we have a copy of it for you. And sure enough, there was a surprise — the motion asked for substitution of counsel.

For a moment, we got pretty excited. Was Monique revealing that she’d hired new attorneys to replace the ones she’d fired?

But then we noticed that it was Scientology leader David Miscavige who had filed the motion about his attorney, Lamont Jefferson. It turns out that since Miscavige first hired Jefferson to represent him in Texas, Jefferson has left the firm of Haynes and Boone and has formed his own firm, Jefferson Cano.

Really? That was worth a court motion? Miscavige takes advantage of the stay being lifted to notice the court that his attorney has started a new business? Sheesh.

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We asked TX Lawyer if there was anything we could conclude about this, other than that Lamont Jefferson has new business cards.

“This is not really a meaningful move by Miscavige to stick with the big gun he originally hired to defend the case,” TX Lawyer says, referring to the fact that Jefferson’s brother, Wallace, was chief justice of the state supreme court from 2004 to 2013. “I don’t think it tells us much one way or the other, except that Miscavige is certainly not unilaterally disarming like the Rathbuns have done.”

And just a reminder, since this case got so complex so quickly: Miscavige and the Religious Technology Center, where he is chairman, are not party to the anti-SLAPP motion that was denied by Judge Waldrip, affirmed by the Texas Third Court of Appeals, and which Scientology is petitioning to the state supreme court (and their brief is due by tomorrow). The reason that Miscavige and RTC are not part of that motion and its appeals is that, you will remember, Miscavige and RTC filed “special appearances” after Monique first filed her lawsuit in August 2013.

What that means is that Miscavige and RTC have refused to accept that they are parties to this lawsuit, arguing that, as California residents, they have nothing to do with Texas or the activity that Monique characterizes as harassment. They argue that Waldrip’s court has no jurisdiction over them. In order to prove that it does, Monique had sought to depose Miscavige, and had submitted evidence she said proved that Miscavige does pesonally direct surveillance and harassment campaigns against people he considers enemies of the church. (One fairly spectacular piece of evidence Monique submitted to prove this were texts that former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder said he received from Miscavige directing him as he was following and harassing BBC journalist John Sweeney during the making of Sweeney’s 2007 documentary, “Scientology and Me.”)

Meanwhile, the other defendants in the case — the Church of Scientology International (CSI) and some of the operatives used in the surveillance of Monique — tried to help out Miscavige by falling on their swords, submitting declarations admitting that they were part of a complex operation to follow and investigate the Rathbuns. In court, meanwhile, Scientology’s attorneys pointed out that CSI would be able to pay for whatever damages there might be in the case. They seemed to be saying, “please judge, throw the book at CSI and the operatives, but spare poor Mr. Miscavige.” The declarations filed by CSI and the others are among some of the most remarkable ever submitted by Scientology in any litigation, and was a sign of how much this lawsuit scared Miscavige and his attorneys.

Judge Waldrip ignored CSI’s attempt to shift blame on itself and issued an order saying that Monique could depose Miscavige for the purpose of gathering evidence to settle the question of whether Miscavige was personally involved in her harassment. But the Texas Third Court of Appeals then overturned Waldrip’s decision, providing Miscavige cover under a Texas doctrine that protects CEOs from depositions as a general principle. If Monique was going to prove that Miscavige should be a defendant in the case and convince Waldrip to wipe out his “special appearance,” she would have to do it without questioning Miscavige himself.

Meanwhile, CSI and the operatives filed their anti-SLAPP motion, claiming that Monique’s lawsuit was infringing on their free speech rights, but Waldrip denied the motion and then they appealed. That’s when the case was stayed, and we’ve been in a holding pattern ever since. Waldrip has still never ruled on Miscavige’s “special appearance” and whether the church leader should be included as a defendant.

But now, at least, Waldrip will know where to send his attorney any further notices.

(We know this week’s motion didn’t really bring all this up, but we thought we’d provide a little review of the case for those who might have a hard time remembering what it’s been through, and how significant some of those declarations were. This case really was a landmark one, and promised to become a serious problem for Scientology, as TX Lawyer has indicated. Now, Monique has fired her attorneys and we suspect that the case will settle, even though, as TX Lawyer and other observers have told us, Monique was clearly winning after the appeals court upheld Waldrip’s denial of the anti-SLAPP motion.)

DOCUMENT:
Lamont Jefferson substitution of firm

 
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Chris Shelton talks to counselor Rachel Bernstein

 

 
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Derek Bloch on stage

Derek’s recent debut as a stage performer!

 
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Bonus photos from our tipsters

Hey, girl. I ran around a pole in the dark until I hallucinated that I was a four-foot-tall tadpole with chicken legs. And now I have this cool piece of paper that certifies I’m a genius.

 
CRRD

 
I am a wealthy Venezuelan. Please take my money.

 
Chacon1Chacon2Chacon3

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on February 18, 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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