Disciplinary commission sues Beaumont attorney who allegedly claimed influence over judges

David Yates Apr. 21, 2011, 8:45am

The Commission for Lawyer Discipline has filed suit against Beaumont attorney Rhett Phares, who allegedly demanded $100,000 from his former client and threatened him by lauding his influence over local judges.

The lawsuit, filed April 18 in Jefferson County District Court, stems from a case filed by Phares' former client, Dr. Saeed Ally, who sued the attorney in July.

As previously reported, Dr. Ally, a Beaumont cardiovascular surgeon, filed a lawsuit against Phares on July 19 in Jefferson County District Court, after receiving emails from Phares allegedly demanding a $100,000 cash payment in exchange for keeping private information confidential.

According to the lawsuit brought by the Commission for Lawyer Discipline, Phares' emails contained multiple threats, "including claims that he was able to improperly influence government agencies and officials (such as) various judges."

Phares' threats didn't end with Dr. Ally, court papers say.

The attorney has also allegedly harassed private investigator Philip Klein, who served him with Dr. Ally's lawsuit.

"After he was served with the lawsuit, (Phares) continued the pattern of harassing emails and text messages and begun including complainant Philip Klein as a target," the suit states.

"The emails also included derogatory, humiliating and embarrassing content with no purpose other than to harass, embarrass and burden the persons to whom they were directed."

The commission's lawsuit faults Phares with numerous rule violations, including representing opposing parties in the same litigation, improper communications, threatening persons with criminal charges to gain an advantage in a civil matter and implying an ability to improperly influence a government agency or official.

The suit does not name the government officials and judges Phares supposedly holds sway with.

Klein brought Phares' alleged actions to the attention of the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas on Sept. 10.

Chief Disciplinary Counsel Linda Acevedo represents the commission.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 6oth District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. B189-800

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