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RATHBUN SUIT: Scientology’s last swipe in its anti-SLAPP appeal before hearing next week

Thomas Leatherbury

Thomas Leatherbury

Next Wednesday, Monique Rathbun and the Church of Scientology will tangle in another hearing before the Texas Third Court of Appeals.

The last time the court heard arguments in this lawsuit, it then reversed a trial court ruling that held Monique could depose Scientology leader David Miscavige in a question of jurisdiction. This time, the entire lawsuit is on the line.

Scientology is appealing Comal County Judge Dib Waldrip’s denial of the church’s “anti-SLAPP” motion, which attempted to portray Monique Rathbun as a bully who was misusing the law to squelch Scientology’s free speech rights. In this case, Scientology’s free speech expression included hiring private investigators and supplying protestors who spent four years or more surveilling, following, and harassing the Rathbuns in their Texas homes. Scientology has admitted to hiring the PIs and keeping a close watch on the Rathbuns, but the church argues that Marty Rathbun, a former church official, and his wife Monique (who was never a member of the church) were using their home to spread anti-church material to the media.

Judge Waldrip found, among other things, that Scientology’s own testimony showed it was a business trying to protect its turf from Marty Rathbun, and so the anti-SLAPP statute didn’t apply.

Scientology has appealed that ruling, and if the Texas Third Court of Appeals agrees with it this time, the lawsuit is over. Last month, Monique Rathbun’s attorney Leslie Hyman answered Scientology’s appeal, and now, the church is responding to her broadside with a number of legal arguments. We’ll ask our numerous attorney readers to help us judge whether the church’s argument looks effective or not.

On Wednesday, both sides will be in the courtroom for oral arguments, and we’ll have reports coming from our correspondents.

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Here’s Scientology’s reply brief, written by attorney Thomas Leatherbury of Dallas…

 

Monique Rathbun v. Scientology: Reply Brief of Appellant CSI

We also have the reply briefs specifically for defendant Ed Bryan (one of the “Squirrel Busters” and an OT 8, the highest level of spiritual achievement in Scientology) and Steven Gregory Sloat, a former law enforcement official, self-published author, and aspiring master spy.

ADDED: We also have the reply briefs for private investigator Monty Drake and Scientology PI David Lubow.

 
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Judge James C. Mahan

Judge James C. Mahan

Scientology suffers another setback against Ryan Hamilton’s lawsuits

In a strong rebuke, Federal District Judge James C. Mahan has struck down another motion to dismiss filed by Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon, in a federal fraud lawsuit brought by Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton.

In the Welch lawsuit, one of twenty filed by Hamilton against Narconon centers in Nevada, California, and Colorado, the family of 19-year-old Jack Welch is suing because, like so many others before them, they found out only after paying a large amount of money up front that Narconon provides Scientology training, not the drug counseling it advertises.

The attorneys for Narconon’s Nevada facility, Rainbow Canyon Retreat in Caliente, asked that the lawsuit be dismissed on technical grounds, but Judge Mahan called the lawsuit “well-pleaded,” and indicated that he found the allegations somewhat stomach-turning:

The court finds that these allegations alone, when taken as true, preclude dismissal of plaintiffs’ intentional infliction of emotional distress claims. The conduct described could support a jury finding of extreme and outrageous conduct performed with the intention to create, or reckless disregard for, emotional distress.

It’s worth a read. And once again, a federal order knocks down Narconon’s arguments and can be cited in other lawsuits.

 

Welch v. Narconon: Order by Tony Ortega

 

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on September 18, 2014 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

 

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