Dimock Defendant Forcing Own Lawyer Out as Fake News Blames Cabot

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

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Dimock defendant Ray Kemble and friends have so exasperated their lawyer that he’s screaming “let me out” as AP puts out fake news calling Cabot the bully.

Monday will be a thoroughly entertaining day in Montrose. Things are coming to a head in the Pigs to Rigs lawsuit. Ray Kemble after promising the court he’d change his ways and be a good boy, has so antagonized his lawyer, Rich Raiders, that the latter is simply begging the court to release him from representing this infamous Dimock defendant. We knew it was coming. Bill Huston told us so.

And, now we have a copy of the motion filed with the court. It tells anyone interested in the truth what a bunch of fakery Kemble and friends have engaged in, as they’ve traveled the country on somebody’s expense account attacking Cabot, fracking and the gas industry. Yet, what do we get from AP? More fake news that ignores the lawyer fiasco, fails to share data it had in its possession and falsely accuses Cabot of bullying for simply demanding Kemble be held in contempt for not cooperating on depositions. It’s the journalistic template, it seems.

Dimock defendant

Monday, Februrary 4, 2019 at 8:45 AM – Act VI of Pigs to Rigs

The AP story, compiled by an ordinarily decent reporter I’ve dealt with many times by the name of Mike Rubinkam, is titled “Gas driller seeking to have man thrown in jail for contempt.” There’s nothing like a little inflammatory language when it comes to reporting on Dimock, is there? Of course, Mike doesn’t write the headlines for his stories, so we can forgive him that one. But, when he writes that Cabot is “demanding” Kemble “be thrown in jail over his failure to submit to questioning as part of the company’s $5 million lawsuit against him,” that’s not quite the truth, is it?

No, the hearing that will take place at 8:45 AM on Monday is for Kemble to show why he should not face contempt and potential jail time for refusing to honor a subpoena to appear for a deposition in a case where he is the defendant! What is Cabot to do? Can a defendant avoid a lawsuit by merely walking away and refusing to participate? That’s hardly justice. No, there have to be consequences for failure to appear for court proceedings, and depositions are clearly extensions of court proceedings. The point of the hearing is to examine whatever reasons Kemble offers for not cooperating and to act accordingly. But, AP wants to paint Cabot as the bully for demanding the real bullies answer questions.

Kemble, all of sudden, after years spouting off to everyone everywhere Food & Water Watch could arrange a visit by him, doesn’t want to talk. That’s odd, huh? But, last September, before being subpoenaed for depositions, he talked a lot about how Cabot had supposedly “wrecked his finances, health and quality of life.” He’s tried to maintain he still has water quality issues after settling his case in 2012.

He worked with hog farm suer Charlie Speer, in fact, to sue Cabot again, despite that settlement, until Speer actually moved to dismiss his own lawsuit on behalf of Kemble, another fact left out of the AP story. And, to further embellish the fake part of the news, also left out is the fact ATSDR has already indicated there’s no evidence of a water quality problem attributable to Cabot. AP apparently got that information from Bill Huston’s blog long ago and obliquely referred to it another story, but there’s no mention of it in this one. No, no…just wouldn’t fit the template. Better to say the Feds are “still analyzing the results.”

The real story that reveals Dimock defendant Ray Kemble in the full light of day is to be found in the Rich Raiders motion to withdraw. I assume AP knew about it and had a copy of the filing as it’s a public record. Yet, once again, no mention is made. The fact Cabot is asking Kemble to be held in contempt isn’t news—it happens in courtrooms every day. What doesn’t happen every day is that an attorney, in a relatively high-profile case for himself, asks to withdraw because is “impossible” to represent his client. That’s real news AP is smothering to death. Here it is, though, right from the motion itself (emphasis added):

AND NOW, Rich Raiders, counsel for Defendant, Raymond Kemble (“Kemble”); submits this Memorandum in support of his Petition to Withdraw as Counsel for Kemble.

Attorney Raiders agreed to enter the case in November 2017, shortly after Plaintiffs successfully sought default against Mr. Kemble in the instant matter. Mr. Raiders then successfully sought the Court’s leave to reopen the case for Mr. Kemble, to where Mr. Kemble filed Preliminary Objections that are being argued before this Honorable Court contemporaneously with this Petition.

On February 28, 2018, Mr. Kemble and several associates participated in a press conference in Montrose concerning Mr. Kemble’s ongoing issues concerning his water supplies at his residence. Mr. Kemble alleged that his ongoing water supply issues are directly related to the ongoing dispute in this matter concerning his use of his property. The press conference created significant negative coverage, as fully documented in the Petition for Leave to Withdraw. Mr. Raiders was wholly unaware of the press conference, unable to counsel his client to either not hold the press conference or to structure the press conference in a manner that did not implicate the ongoing action. The Complaint at bar substantially concerns Mr. Kemble’s publicizing the events that led to a certain 2012 settlement agreement with Plaintiffs. After reviewing the contents of the materials sent to Mr. Raiders by two members of the media, Mr. Raiders sought the Court’s opinion about if he can stay on as Mr. Kemble’s counsel. This brief follows…

Mr. Kemble has resisted participating in discovery, declining to provide answers to basic questions, indicating his unwillingness to be deposed, requesting counsel to file frivolous quashal motions to avoid deposition, and otherwise obstruct counsel’s attempts to represent his interests. These actions and the actions of the others the Court will hear from on February 4 have made ongoing representation of Mr. Kemble impossible. Counsel is fully unable to develop any case strategy while dealing with months of drama to allow basic discovery to occur. This firm does not have the resources to address the ongoing battles while trying to sustain any defense whatsoever…

Here, the press conference, the discovery challenges and Mr. Kemble’s unwillingness to engage in any discovery efforts has made the instant representation difficult if not impossible. This press conference, conducted without any advance warning to counsel, directly implicates the causes of action Plaintiffs offer in their complaint. Counsel only learned of the press conference by two members of the media alerting counsel, who resides over 100 miles away in Lebanon County. The Court will hear at this argument session from William Huston, who has assume the role of attorney in this matter. Mr. Kemble has adopted Mr. Huston’s legal strategy and theories, such as some sort of conspiracy within Plaintiff’s organizations to act in Mr. Kemble’s interests. Counsel has no idea what Mr. Hustons legal theories would possibly accomplish.

An attorney seeking to withdraw is required to seek the Court’s review of the issue. Any withdrawal Is at the discretion of the Court. Here, the press conference showed that counsel is not in a role to have a full and open opportunity to develop litigation strategy and tacticsCounsel fully understands that Mr. Kemble has the right to seek support from his friendsHowever, when such support, which manifested itself in the instant press conference, harms the case, counsel must reconsider his role in the ongoing litigation.

Mr. Huston and Mr. Stevens have both attempted to assert with counsel that communications with them are subject to either the attorney-client privilege or the attorney work-product privilege. Inasmuch as such communications are strictly between Mr. Kemble and counsel, all such communications are privileged. Inasmuch as individuals or organizations work with counsel to assist counsel with developing attorney work product, such communications would likely be privileged. However, an actor crosses a bright line when a non-party attempts to force confidentiality upon counsel for another in an attempt to invoke work product privilege. Mr. Huston has done Just that. His “work product”, not invited by counsel, acting under the alleged color of authority of the client, cannot be privileged. Were that work product being coordinated by counsel, then a colorable argument exists that such efforts could be considered contributing to attorney work product.

Here, Mr. Huston is acting as Mr. Kemble’s attorney, seeming with possible license from Mr. Kemble. On a lesser scale, Mr . Stevens may also attempt to act, in some manner, as  counsel for Mr. Kemble. These individuals do not understand that their attempts to steer thls litigation without the oversight of counsel do nothing more than damage and compromise counsels’ ability to run any case at all. Under these conditions, counsel cannot continue.

In the last six months, Mr. Huston has asked, allegedly on behalf of Mr. Kemble, for counsel to take unsupportable positions in advancement of an agenda that does not seem to comport with this Court’s understanding of the case and direction In the Court’s body of rulings. Mr. Huston, allegedly under the color of authority of the client, demanded that counsel attempt to quash Mr. Kemble’s subpoena. However, counsel is fully unable to find any authority whatsoever under 231 Pa. Code§ 234 et. seq. that would allow a named party to decline to attend a baseline deposition. However, 231 Pa. Code § 4016 allows counsel, during such a deposition, to object to “fishing expeditions” and other attempts by counsel to stray from the search for discoverable evidence. Mr. Huston’s demanded that counsel stop Mr. Kemble’s deposition. Counsel found no colorable legal means to do so. Mr. Kemble Is a named party, his knowledge, experience and opinions are, by definition, relevant to the matter at hand. His defense from any Cabot “fishing expeditions” is to participate in the deposition and have counsel (or himself, if acting prose) objecting to questions outside the bounds of discoverable evidence. Counsel refused to file any such protective motion, as it would violate our duties as counsel to provide candor to the tribunal and not file flatly frivolous pleadings and motions without at least colorable legal justification. Thus, counsel refused such demands.

Interestingly, while the actors here refuse to engage in discovery, at least Mr. Houston alleges that counsel must depose a roster of people whom may or may not be involved in the factual dispute here without support or justification. Mr. Huston offers such demands  misunderstanding the limits governing attorneys’ roles and responsibilities. An attorney must show the relevance of any discovery target to the search for admittable evidence.

An attorney must develop any work product that would fall under the work product privilege. Mr. Huston falls to understand that work developed for someone other than the attorney, on direction of anyone not the attorney or the client, cannot be privileged in Pennsylvania. The only two types of privilege of note are attorney-client privilege, which is explicit between counsel and client, and work product privilege, which only relates to work product that the attorney produces or directs be produced to assist counsel. Demands from non-parties, without an explicit attorney request to assist with work product, cannot be privileged and are not binding upon the attorney. Mr. Huston wants to take over the conduct of this case. That is not his prerogative. Clients, their alleged representatives or non-attorneys may not dictate the conduct of a case. This attorney will not tolerate such interference. If Mr. Huston wants to assist Mr. Kemble, any such assistance must be managed by counsel, not MrHuston. The situation is untenable, further representation is simply not possible. Thus, counsel requests this Court’s leave to withdraw from a situation that Mr. Huston has publicly stated is untenable (exhibit to be provided at argument).

Mr. Raiders understands that Cabot objects to his withdrawal. Cabot has experienced much of the frustration with the process, as they have actively pursued resolutions to many of the problems of which Mr. Raiders here complains. I believe that Cabot’s real concern is that the amount of cooperation they receive from this defendant would be reduced from the limited cooperation available under these circumstances to none if Mr. Kemble were to continue pro se. However, Cabot’s convenience is of no moment when a client’s conduct has made  representation impossible. I also believe that, in denying the prior Petition to Withdraw, that the Court believed that Mr . Kemble would cooperate with his counsel in pursuing this matter after the February 2018 press conference incident. However, nothing has changed.

No trial is imminent . Discovery has now begun. Mr. Kemble should be able to obtain new counsel or proceed without formal counsel. Counsel, now facing an untenable situation, should be granted leave to withdraw.

And, AP didn’t think any of this was worth a mention? Tells us all we need to know, doesn’t it? Can’t wait for Monday morning!

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10 thoughts on “Dimock Defendant Forcing Own Lawyer Out as Fake News Blames Cabot

  1. Typical of you, Tom, to write and accuse Ray and others of doing what you do so well.
    You give carefully-chosen parts of the story in your articles to slant them in your favor.
    You accuse others of misinformation or lies and then misinform and present your bias in this article..
    Ray Kemble had doctor notes presented to his attorney and Cabot during and post cancer surgery from which he is still recovering from and cannot attend a deposition,
    which usually lasts a full business day of 7 to 8 hours.

    You shall hear the evidence of Cabot’s harassment of
    local citizens and their unfounded allegations
    against said citizens on Monday.

    Cabot has a total of 899 DEP Violations so far in Pa…-
    how can such a company be still allowed in our State ?
    How can you paint them as the innocent in all this?

    How many others are on non-disclosures from Cabot besides Ray Kemble….?
    Why all the silencing of our citizens who have had harm or complaints with Cabot?

    Ray’s attorney, Raider, has not asked for Discovery of Cabot, but Cabot’s attorneys have asked for Discovery of Ray.

    Tom, you work for the Industry and must be getting paid for it…your presentations are strongly biased and slanted in the Industry’s favor. This is not Truth.

    Cabot does not have a 5 million dollar lawsuit against Ray Kemble…County Judge Legg threw out this amount as Cabot PR.

    Ray is not avoiding the subpoena but too ill to attend.

    Ray Kemble has new contamination since 2009 with the fracking that was allowed in 2012.
    His neighbor, Ken Morcum and Kim Grosso have new contamination since the fracking allowed in 2012 in Dimock…plus others…and still getting water delivered to them for six years or more from Cabot.

    Cabot is still testing every two weeks still for about ten years the levels of methane in that 9 sq. mile area in Dimock to see if the levels can possibly come down to pre-exisitng levels before gas drilling and down to 7 mg/l levels and still hasn’t happened, so Cabot can’t come back into this area to continue drilling and fracking.
    the methane levels post gas drilling are still too high and I’ve seen the test results and the results are up
    to 83 mg/l …..

    State Attorney General, Josh Shapiro is still pushing for lawsuit against the gas industry for low gas royalties and the gas Industry continues it’s delaying tactics in this case of several years…see front page of Rocket Courier of Jan. 31, 2019.

    • The media has been the tip of the spear in this war against nat gas and Vera, Ray, Craig, Bill, et Al. have been the shills. I hope Cabot is able to find out where all of you got the money to spend virtually every day in NY state prior to the ban and Ray’s trip to Paris….that’s very telling that someone has bankrolled all of you. Park Foundation, NRDC, OSI perhaps? What is most interesting is that all of you still live in an area that you claim is now unlivable by your incessant protestations. Monday will be most enjoyable to see Willy squirm.

      • Where we got the money?!!! Perhaps August Braun is jealous that he didn’t get any nice wad of gas lease money, as I did (deliberately not from Cabot, I might add! Rather, I chose SWN), which is how _I_ was able to afford participating in a bunch of the “anti” events of which he speaks. Cabot did more than any “anti” ever did to keep HVHF out of New York.

        • So I hit a nerve! Excellent. Money is the tie that binds all of you antis. If you received lease, and I presume royalty money from Southwestern, why are you an anti? Is your water damaged in any way? Angry you weren’t able to gouge Southwestern for more money? Cabot had zero to do with keeping gas out of NY. The Park Foundation, Heinz Foundation, the Open Space Institute and their mole, Joe Martens, former NY state DEC Commissioner, etc, had EVERYTHING to do with keeping gas out of NY. NY farmers and landowners were selling scrap metal to make ends meet. I know this for a firsthand FACT. We got nothing from any kind of foundation or the gas companies. We were crushed by a tsunami of money from the aforementioned foundations and lackeys like the ones being finally brought to court tomorrow. It’s my hope that Cabot’s lawyers can trace where all the money came from to keep this circus alive and well all these years. If you doubt for a second that billionaires were behind all this, all you need to do is read this U.S. Senate report from the Committee on the Environment and Public Works that lays it all out in nauseating detail about what is really going on – http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/6ce8dd13-e4ab-4b31-9485-6d2b8a6f6b00/chainofenvironmentalcommand.pdf Lastly, a shorter read written by Tom Shepstone a number of years ago and published in the NY POST about the land grab that is behind this charade: http://nypost.com/2013/03/19/blueblood-agenda/ I did leave out one key actor in all of this: the news media. They have squelched so much hard data about the good that fracking has done for the nation. They bear equal responsibility for killing drilling in NY along with their billionaire masters and benefactors.

          • It appears that it is _I_ who has hit a nerve, Mr. Braun; hahaha!

            Me dissatisfied with SWN? No! Just proud that I signed with them and not Cabot.

  2. I was in a town board meeting in Port Crane where Huston told the town board he was a scientist, a scientist lol… and I am a heart surgeon, need a by-pass, I put a table and overhead lights in my garage I’ll do you for whatever you can afford…. just sign this…

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