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Judge Waldrip grants Monique Rathbun’s discovery request, snubbing Scientology

Marty and Monique Rathbun

Marty and Monique Rathbun

It’s another victory for Monique Rathbun in her harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and its leader David Miscavige: Comal County, Texas Judge Dib Waldrip has granted her request for a continuance so she can gather more evidence to refute Scientology’s anti-SLAPP motion. A new hearing on the matter has been set for February 3 and 4, and in the meantime, Waldrip has given Monique a strongly-worded order to help her pry that evidence from Scientology.

Scientology presented its own argument in favor of its motion last week, on January 8, and tried to convince Judge Waldrip that its legal argument was so sound, no additional evidence was needed.

Scientology is trying to convince Waldrip that the years it spent spying on Monique and her husband Mark ‘Marty’ Rathbun were all just part of a religious dispute that the court has no business getting involved in. They’re classifying Monique’s lawsuit as a bullying action, and the church as an innocent victim. As our attorney analysts have pointed out, it’s a topsy-turvy use of anti-SLAPP law, which was designed to keep large, well-heeled bullies from suing small critics out of existence.

Monique filed her lawsuit in August, saying that she had been subject to four years of surveillance and harassment at her home, at her job, and anywhere she and her husband Marty went. Marty had been a high-ranking official in Scientology who defected in 2004 and then started up a blog critical of his old boss, Miscavige, in 2009. Since then, they had been subject to outrageous protests at their house, private eyes following them everywhere, even cameras set up to peer at the their house and record who was coming and going. Scientology has already admitted that it was behind that operation, but they argue that it was protected free speech and a religious debate. Monique, however, was never a member of the church and says it was simply harassment because Scientology didn’t like her husband’s views.

In order to fend off Scientology’s motion, Monique wants the time to get documents and other evidence from Scientology, an organization that is obsessed with record-keeping, and yet has turned over no records of the years it spent keeping tabs on the Rathbuns with private investigators, attorneys, hired protesters, and other operatives.

Now, Waldrip has given her a powerful tool to get those records from Scientology. Here’s the relevant portion of the order that Waldrip made on Tuesday…

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It is further ORDERED that the Anti-SLAPP Movants shall produce to Plaintiff the following materials generated or obtained between January 1, 2009 through August 16, 2013, and/or shall serve a privilege log concerning same, by January 27, 2014:

1. Regardless of format — including the “native” format, all recordings, videos, photographs, and any supporting medium (film, digital, electronic, etc.), if any, taken by, at the direction of, or on behalf of the Moving Parties or if any in care, custody or control of the Moving Parties, of Plaintiff inside her residence or within a 10-mile radius of her residence;

2. Regardless of format, all records and/or recordings, if any of any surveillance of Plaintiff’s conversations, telephone calls, e-mails, and/or text messages;

3. Regardless of format, all records and/or notes regarding communications by or on behalf the Moving Parties with the Plaintiff’s employer up to and including April 30, 2011; and

4. Regardless of format — including the “native” format, all recordings, videos, photographs, and any supporting medium (film, digitial, electronic, etc.), if any, taken by, at the direction of, or on behalf of the Moving Parties or if any in car, custody or control of the Moving Parties, of the Squirrel Busters or any and all other affiliated individuals affiliated generated or obtained within a 10-mile radius of the Plaintiff’s residence.

While that discovery is going on, next Wednesday there will be a hearing on Monique’s motion for sanctions — she’s asking Waldrip to punish Scientology for what she says is the dishonest conduct of its employees during depositions. It should be a lively hearing.

 

Monique Rathbun v Scientology: Order Granting Continuance and Discovery Request

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on January 16, 2014 at 17:35

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