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Classic Scientology shenanigans as class action lawsuit is filed against legal opponent NAFC

Wasn’t it just yesterday we made the point that Scientology is incapable of evolving into a more benign form?

For you connoisseurs of classic Scientology legal chicanery, you’re going to love the full body and complex flavors of this vintage.

Yesterday, the National Association of Forensic Counselors filed a pointed response to Scientology leader David Miscavige’s motion to dismiss himself from the NAFC’s massive 82-defendant federal lawsuit against the church and its drug rehab network, Narconon.

As we told you earlier, Miscavige’s motion had been written by one of Scientology’s most colorful legal voices, Jeffrey K. Riffer, who made a name for himself writing bombastic, over-the-top letters to Vanity Fair and CNN in which he made his client, Miscavige, sound more holy than the saints in heaven. And the motion also contained a smeary attack on the NAFC’s president, Karla Taylor, which we expected NAFC attorney David Keesling to answer rather forcefully.

He did do that, but in his response, Keesling also referred to a stunning new development: On October 6, Clark Carr, the president of Narconon International (pictured above and characterized as a “Miscavige lackey” by Keesling), quietly filed a class action lawsuit against the NAFC and Taylor in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming fraud and alleging that his fellow (unnamed) victims number in the untold hundreds.


The smeary stuff we saw in Miscavige’s motion is spelled out in even more detail in Carr’s lawsuit, describing some 1972 felonious behavior which has nothing to do with Karla Taylor or the NAFC. Keesling told us previously that Scientology’s digging into the past of Taylor’s husband is pure intimidation, and he said the NAFC isn’t going to be frightened away by it.

To understand the full extent of Scientology’s legal audacity here, we’ll back up a bit and remind you what this lawsuit is all about. We have to go back to July 2012, when a 20-year-old woman named Stacy Dawn Murphy died of a drug overdose at Scientology’s flagship drug rehab facility, Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma. She was the third patient to die at the facility in only nine months, and multiple government investigations and civil lawsuits were soon launched.

Those deaths and investigations also motivated a couple of former Narconon Arrowhead employees, Lucas Catton and Eric Tenorio, to come forward with a litany of complaints about what they’d seen go on at the place. And it was Tenorio who told us that he notified Karla Taylor at the NAFC that one thing he saw was the misuse of her organization’s certifications and logos. Catton and Tenorio both, for example, say that multiple employees at the rehab center had fraudulently obtained the NAFC’s Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor (CCDC) certifications by lying about their backgrounds and cheating on exams.

Taylor was particularly livid when she realized that none of Narconon’s NAFC-certified counselors had reported that there had been deaths at the facilities in Georgia and Oklahoma, as required in the NAFC’s rules. We first talked to Taylor in February 2013, and she told us she had launched a full investigation of how Narconon employees had obtained their CCDC certifications, whether they had kept them current and were in compliance, and how they were using NAFC logos and trademarks on Narconon websites.

About a month later, the NAFC stripped Narconon Arrowhead CEO Gary Smith of his CCDC certification. And Taylor told us that her investigation was still just starting up.

Then, more than a year after we first talked to Taylor, the NAFC filed its lawsuit, naming 82 defendants, including Gary Smith and Scientology leader David Miscavige. The NAFC’s attorney, Keesling, indicated that his client had filed the suit only after spending many months of intense investigation.

In the motion to dismiss himself from the lawsuit filed by Miscavige, the Scientology leader went after NAFC’s legitimacy as an organization, raising questions about the NAFC dissolving and reforming itself at points in its history. (Several of our readers pointed out that it was Scientology that had boasted about its NAFC certifications for years — now, suddenly the church claimed that those credentials were bogus?)

Another person named among the defendants in the lawsuit was Clark Carr, stand-up comic, Scientology Sea Org member, and president of Scientology’s Narconon International, an umbrella group that is sandwiched between the Narconon centers and Scientology’s Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE). Carr has now taken a step further the notion that it was the NAFC, not Narconon, which was up to no good.

He filed his class action lawsuit in LA Superior Court, naming the NAFC as well as Taylor and her husband, and alleged that he and other (unnamed) drug counselors had been duped into paying for useless certifications from the NAFC which, among other things, was selling credentials in the state of California even though the state had not approved of the NAFC’s certifications.

David Keesling tells us there’s a fascinating bit of sleight of hand going on here. He says that Carr is mischaracterizing the NAFC’s status in California — though Keesling did acknowledge that the NAFC fell off of a particular list of recommended credentialing organizations assembled by the state. The reason? Because of the NAFC’s association with Scientology.

Many of our readers will be familiar with Nanette Asimov’s epic 2004 series about Narconon in the San Francisco Chronicle which motivated the state of California to take a hard look at the drug rehab network. The state didn’t like what it saw, and as a result, the NAFC was dropped from a list of approved organizations. Here, we’ll let Keesling give a more complete version of it in a statement he sent us yesterday…

In 2005, the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (CA ADP) adopted regulations mandating certain requirements for alcohol and other drug addiction counselors (AODA). Included in these regulations was a list of certifying bodies that were approved by the CA ADP for AODA counselor certification in the State of California.

Prior to the adoption of these regulations, the CA ADP did not “recognize” or “approve” any certifying body; however, they maintained a “Directory of Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor Certifying Organizations” which stated, in part, “California does not regulate the credentialing or certification of treatment and recovery counselors, nor does it accredit organizations that provide certification services…However, the AOD field has developed a variety of private sector counselor credentialing and certifying organizations in order to meet the need for specialized counselors …You are encouraged to contact these organizations to obtain additional information regarding their certification requirements and services.”

The NAFC and the NBAE were included in this Directory.

In January of 2005, the California Department of Education released a report on the Narconon Drug Abuse Prevention Program (NDAP) conducted by the California Healthy Kids Resource Center. The NDAP was found to be “inaccurate,” contained “misleading drug-related information,” and “does not reflect accurate, widely accepted medical and scientific evidence…”

Consequently, it was found that the NDAP was not appropriate and should not be presented to students in the California school system. Contained within the NADP High School Curriculum were the following false statements regarding the credentialing of Narconon presenters by the NAFC/NBAE:

• Why Narconon Drug Education in Our Schools?…Use of Trained Certified Chemical Dependency Counselors with Years of Experience Working with High School Student.

• Most of the Narconon presenters have a wealth of experience:…have worked professionally in the drug rehab field and are CCDCs (Certified Chemical Dependency Counselors)

Within a few months of this report on the NDAP, the NAFC was excluded from the opportunity to be included on the new list of approved certifying bodies. The NAFC was not even given the opportunity to apply for inclusion on this new list developed for the newly adopted regulations, even though the NAFC had been previously included in the California Directory and met and/or exceeded the new requirements for approval of certifying organizations.

So, here’s the upshot. Keesling is saying that it was its association with Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon, that got the NAFC caught up in a bureaucratic roadblock in California. But now the president of Scientology’s Narconon International is suing the NAFC, claiming that the NAFC’s complications with California are an example of the NAFC’s fraud. Do you see the circularity of that?

Keesling tells us that yesterday, he had Carr’s class action lawsuit removed to federal court, and he says he’s confident that the NAFC will succeed in getting it dismissed.

We’ll defer to our legal experts in the Bunker community to comment on Carr’s lawsuit, but even with our amateur eyesight we notice a couple of troublesome signs for Carr. First, he filed a lawsuit in LA’s Superior Court that named not just an out-of-state corporation but two of its supposed out-of-state officers. (Karla Taylor supplied an affidavit saying her husband is not, in fact, a current corporate officer of the NAFC.) This is known as “piercing the corporate veil,” and even if Carr had done it properly, it’s our understanding that you don’t name out-of-state defendants unless you’re filing in federal court. Also, we’re not sure that Carr notified the Oklahoma federal court that he was suing the company, NAFC, that is suing him there. And that, we understand, is a no-no.

Things are definitely getting interesting with the NAFC litigation, and Scientology just made things a lot weirder. Don’t they always?

If you’re new to Scientology Watching, it’s important to know that scorched-earth litigation is a sacrament in Scientology that follows a simple article of faith: No delaying maneuver or appeal or other legal diversion is ever too outrageous or too expensive.

Here’s the NAFC’s response to Miscavige’s motion to dismiss…

NAFC vs. Narconon: Response to Miscavige Motion to Dismiss

And here’s Clark Carr’s class action lawsuit against the NAFC…

NAFC vs. Narconon: Clark Carr Class Action against NAFC


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 14, 2014 at 07:00

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