Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Notorious Church-Suing Lawyer Obtained Clients by Phoning Parishioners and ‘Fishing for Victims’

John Manly Catholic abuse lawyer John C. Manly
Unethical conduct for financial gain? Southern California contingency lawyer John C. Manly

From The Media Report:

Southern California contingency lawyer John Manly, who has pocketed millions of dollars by suing the Catholic Church, has now admitted that his office has obtained clients for abuse lawsuits by making unsolicited phone calls to Catholic Church parishioners.

This startling new revelation in the Catholic Church abuse narrative was exclusively reported by Sue Nowicki at The Modesto Bee newspaper.

According to Nowicki's piece, numerous individuals in the Diocese of Stockton (Calif.) have said that they received unsolicited phone calls to their homes from a woman hired by Manly. These calls, they claim, left them to conclude that Manly was "fishing" for victims in the case of an accused Catholic priest, Fr. Michael E. Kelly.

Manly has admitted that he hired the woman, but only to "investigate" Kelly.


The obvious question for Manly is this: For what other reason would a Church-suing contingency lawyer "investigate" a Catholic priest except to garner clients?

Confronted with the charge that he was "fishing for victims," Manly, of course, denied the claim.

"We don't call people and ask if they want to be in lawsuits," Manly said in part to Nowicki. "That's not happening; it's not what we do. What we are doing is investigation. 'Did you ever see anything that was odd with Father Kelly?' That's how we got our first client."

So Manly has pretty much admitted that he found his first client against Fr. Kelly by "investigating" areas where the cleric worked. Wow.

The phone calls revealed

Some recipients of the phone calls from Manly's employee say the calls left them "infuriated and disgusted."

Nowicki reports:
"[One recipient said] she was given the 'strong impression' that if she said her son, now 32, was interested in filing a lawsuit, 'they would have jumped all over that. They were going to find something (against Kelly), regardless if there was any cause for action.'"
And another:
"[Another woman] tried to tell [the caller] that she has known Kelly for three decades and described his positive influence on her sons. 'She told me she has found 10 more victims … She was going on and on and tried to convince me that I was stupid and didn't realize this was going on. I finally had to hang up on her.'"
Are these calls legal?

In her article, Nowicki reveals, "According to the state Bar Association, it is unethical for attorneys to make calls soliciting clients for financial gain." Indeed, it will be interesting to see if the California bar says anything about Manly's actions. (In 2006, by the way, Manly was sanctioned by a judge for "unacceptable" conduct.)..

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