Monique Rathbun’s harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, moves to a new venue today as oral arguments are heard at the Texas Third Court of Appeals in Austin.
We’ll have several observers on hand as the proceedings begin at 1:30 pm, local time. At issue today is Comal County Judge Dib Waldrip’s decision that Monique Rathbun should get to depose Miscavige for jurisdictional reasons (Miscavige is arguing that he shouldn’t be a party to the lawsuit because, he claims, he does no business in Texas and had nothing to do with Scientology’s surveillance of Monique and her husband Marty Rathbun over the last several years).
In December, Waldrip decided that Miscavige could be questioned about his connection to the surveillance of the Rathbuns and his connection to Texas. But Scientology petitioned the Third Court of Appeals for a writ of mandamus, arguing that Waldrip abused his discretion when he made that decision. Monique’s lawyers fired back that Scientology is trying to confuse the court with arguments about religion and free speech, when this is a case about harassment — harassment the Rathbuns believe Miscavige personally oversaw.
Speaking for Scientology will be Wallace Jefferson, who until recently was the chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Monique’s response will be given by attorney Leslie Hyman, who has already proved to be an effective litigator against the church’s legal team.
It was Hyman’s arguments that seemed decisive when Judge Waldrip also found for Monique in another recent decision. Waldrip denied Scientology’s ‘anti-SLAPP’ motion, which had taken over the lawsuit for a few months. Now, Scientology has filed a notice that it is also appealing that Waldrip order to the same appeals court. As that notice explains, these appeals essentially stop Monique’s lawsuit in its tracks, and she’ll have to wait for the appeals court to sort things out before we can get back to Waldrip’s courtroom for progress on other issues in the case.
Today, the focus is only on Waldrip’s order that Miscavige could be deposed. We’re told that no recording devices can be taken into the Austin courtroom, but as soon as our observers are back out with their reports to us, we’ll post what they tell us. (No decision will be coming from the appeals court today, but we’ll be interested to hear what sorts of questions the three-judge panel asks.)
Meanwhile, in the Luis and Rocio Garcia federal fraud lawsuit against Scientology, the Garcias have filed a renewed motion to amend their original complaint, which they were asked to resubmit by Judge James Whittemore, who also asked them to attach their proposed amended complaint.
Saluting the Chairman of the Board
Karen de la Carriere has put together a fun video about the reverence required of Scientology leader David Miscavige required inside the church.
And here’s another video: Chris Shelton talks about what you get for your donations in Scientology!
Posted by Tony Ortega on April 9, 2014 at 07:00
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