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Scientology denied twice in wrongful death lawsuit as parents grieve for Tabatha Fauteux

 
“There’s nothing we don’t miss about her. She was just a lot of fun. Even when you were having the worst day of your life, she could figure out how to get a smile out of you,” Guy Fauteux told us yesterday about his daughter Tabatha. “It’s the worst. And she was doing so good. She wanted to do so good.”

We called him to catch up on what’s been happening in a wrongful death lawsuit that he and his wife Sheila filed against Scientology’s Narconon International and the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE) after Tabatha Fauteux’s heroin overdose in November 2015.

You may remember our stories about Tabatha’s death. She had gone through Narconon’s rehab program in Texas and then was hired on staff. She was then flown to Los Angeles with her boyfriend, another Narconon staffer, to receive special training from ABLE on a new change being made to the Narconon counseling regime. While staying in Los Angeles at an apartment paid for by ABLE, Tabatha died of a heroin overdose.

Tabatha’s boyfriend told us that fellow Narconon staff had given them “kratom,” an herbal drug that was supposed to deliver a high something like the heroin they had managed to put behind them. But the kratom didn’t really work as advertised, he told us, and only left them craving the real thing. So they started using heroin again, even as they were being trained on Narconon’s anti-drug program. One morning, the boyfriend found Tabatha in the shower, unresponsive. An autopsy confirmed that she died of a heroin overdose.

In the wrongful death lawsuit her parents filed in November, the Fauteuxs are alleging that Narconon was negligent in its lax control of the recently graduated “students” of its program, and that they seemed more interested in trying to convince Tabatha to join Scientology than in keeping her sober.

Narconon’s attorney, William Forman, jumped on that allegation, filing an anti-SLAPP motion that singled out the lawsuit’s references to proselytizing. Claiming that Narconon and ABLE are “secular,” he denied that Tabatha had been pressured to join Scientology, and even if the proselytizing had happened, it would be activity that is protected by the First Amendment.

But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael J. Raphael issued a ruling that the lawsuit’s allegations of proselytizing aren’t being pointed to as the cause of Tabatha’s death, but they are being offered as evidence that Narconon was negligent in their supervision of Tabatha. Or, as the judge put it…

Religious proselytization may be protected conduct under the anti-SLAPP statute in many circumstances. But in this Court’s view, plaintiffs’ claims in this first amended complaint arise from the alleged negligent supervision of plaintiff’s daughter in the training program, and not from protected activity.

Judge Raphael denied Narconon’s anti-SLAPP motion. Narconon also filed a motion known as a demurrer, which in general is an admission of the facts but asks that a case be dismissed because it doesn’t meet a legal standard. In this instance, Narconon asked the judge to find that even if Tabatha died while in ABLE training, ABLE didn’t supply her with heroin, and it was Tabatha who injected herself, citing the “unclean hands” doctrine. In other words, they were saying, stop blaming us for her bad or immoral behavior. But Judge Raphael found that there were enough facts stated in the complaint to suggest that negligence could be proven, depending on what facts are presented at court. (He wasn’t saying the Fauteuxs would necessarily win at trial, but there was enough evidence to proceed for the time being.) As for the unclean hands of Tabatha Fauteux, the judge said…

Plaintiffs might successfully argue that their daughter’s drug addiction was not morally blameworthy but rather was a morally neutral physical or psychological addiction that she did nothing to bring upon herself.

We have to say, that sure seems like a pretty enlightened position for a judge to take.

After a hearing was held on March 28, Judge Raphael denied the demurrer.

We asked Guy Fauteux how he felt about that, but he admitted that he didn’t even know it had happened. “You’ve told me more about it than I’ve heard!” he said.

We put in a call to Gary Richardson, who is representing the Fauteuxs, but he was in a conference and we hope to talk to him soon. He’s scored a couple of impressive victories early in this case, and we’ll be anxious to find out who he plans to depose as it moves forward.

It was David Miscavige who ordered the new training program at the Narconon clinics, according to his pronouncements at Scientology events. And it was that new program that brought Tabatha Fauteux to Los Angeles. It might be a long shot to get Miscavige into the witness chair for this case, but it sure would be interesting.

 
DOCUMENTS:
Original complaint, Guy and Sheila Fauteux v. Narconon International and ABLE
Narconon’s anti-SLAPP motion

And Judge Raphael’s ruling denying Narconon’s anti-SLAPP and Demurrer…

Fauteux v. Narconon: Ruling on anti-SLAPP and Demurrer by Tony Ortega on Scribd

 
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Chris Shelton and Aaron Smith-Levin talk Clearwater

Says Chris: “I did a Skype call podcast chat with Aaron Smith-Levin, mostly talking about the Clearwater council vote yesterday and what we think David Miscavige may do in return, among other things.”

 

 
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Countdown to Denver!

 

 
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans.

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,728 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,831 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,325 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,365 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,077 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 603 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,692 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,832 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,152 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,127 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 483 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,785 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 892 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,294 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,167 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 748 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,253 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,497 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,606 days.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on April 22, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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