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Valerie Haney asks judge to reconsider ruling, and has some excellent arguments

[Valerie Haney has asked Judge Burdge for a second look]

On January 30, Valerie Haney’s lawsuit against the Church of Scientology was stopped in its tracks when Judge Richard Burdge Jr of the Los Angeles Superior Court granted Scientology’s motion to force her to take her grievance to “religious arbitration.”

It was a shocking development, and we scrambled to learn what Valerie’s options were. We learned from a legal expert that she had two choices, and neither of them were very good. She could go through with Scientology’s kangaroo court, putting herself in the hands of her abusers as it were, and then appeal the court’s decision after the judge accepted the result of the arbitration. Her second option would be to take a chance on petitioning for a writ of mandamus, appealing to a higher court that would have no obligation to hear her matter, and in most cases wouldn’t bother.

Now, a little more than a month later, Valerie and her attorney, Bobby Thompson, are trying a third option. They’ve filed a motion to reconsider with the court, asking Judge Burdge to change his decision, and they’re citing some pretty fabulous evidence to support their argument.

For example, Scientology represented to the court that Valerie was obliged to submit to religious arbitration because she had voluntarily left her Sea Org job and had signed a binding agreement on her way out the door.

But along with hundreds of pages of declarations that Scientology filed early in the case was an affidavit from Scientology lifer Lynn Farny who admitted that Scientology had fired Valerie a week before she signed that agreement!


As can be seen from the language above and contrary to Defendants’ claims, Plaintiff had already been terminated by Defendants and their related affiliates before any “voluntary” staff departure and/or arbitration agreement was signed, thereby nullifying any such “Staff Departure Agreement” or agreement to arbitrate. Moreover, Plaintiff was declared an enemy of Scientology (“Suppressive Person”) approximately a week before she signed the “Staff Departure Agreement.” Pursuant to Scientology policy, an enemy of Scientology is “Fair Game” for relentless and cruel behavior.

How could Valerie be held to an agreement to submit to arbitration when Scientology had already fired her the week before? And this is not simply asking Judge Burdge to change his mind, but asking him to pay attention to new evidence that had not previously been brought up to him.

The motion’s second big point is even more obvious, and something we had discussed earlier with an expert on religious arbitration, Pepperdine scholar Michael Helfand, who wondered why Valerie’s legal team hadn’t focused more on the inherent unfairness of Scientology’s “religious arbitration” rules.

This was something that Luis and Rocio Garcia had tried to hammer home in their 2013 federal fraud lawsuit against Scientology, that there were no arbitration rules on Scientology’s books, and that the church would be relying on its “committee of evidence” rules for arbitrating the Garcias’ claims. A committee of evidence is more like a court martial than a mediation, and with a three-member panel made up of members of the church in good standing, there was no way they would render a fair ruling for “suppressive persons” like the Garcias. In that case, Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore brushed aside those concerns and forced the Garcias into arbitration anyway. They are appealing that ruling.

Now, Valerie’s attorney is making the same argument here, going into detail about Scientology’s version of arbitration and how inherently unfair it is. The motion also cites the Hooters case that we told you about almost eight years ago. In the Hooters case, the restaurant insisted that an employee submit her sexual harassment claims to an arbitrating panel chosen entirely by Hooters itself. The woman’s lawyers argued successfully that it’s one thing to require an employee to take their grievance to arbitration, but then that arbitration has to be fair, and requiring that the restaurant choose all three panelists violated that fairness.

Scientology is asking for exactly that kind of one-sided control, and Valerie is right to call it out.

But to what avail? It would have been nice if Valerie’s attorneys had brought up these points to Judge Burdge before the January 30 hearing and his decision to side with Scientology. Motions of reconsideration, even with new evidence like in this filing, are rarely granted.

It’s kind of heartbreaking to see Valerie’s case argued so well now, after it might be too late.

Here’s the motion itself…

Haney v. Scientology: Motio… by Tony Ortega on Scribd

Meanwhile, in the third of the lawsuits filed by the national legal team, the Jane Doe child sexual abuse lawsuit in Miami, a new filing indicates that some video depositions will be taken on March 19.


According to the filing, Jane Doe’s attorneys will be deposing Scientology’s Warren McShane and Lynn Farny, as well as a representative of the Religious Technology Center (Scientology’s nominally controlling entity) and the Church of Scientology International.

We wish we could sit in! And we’ll just have to hope that those videos, or the transcripts, get entered as evidence at some point.


Jackie Lacey falls below 50 percent as DA vote count continues

In Wednesday’s story, we were watching the vote count in the Los Angeles County election for district attorney. If Jackie Lacey, running for her third term, falls below 50 percent of the vote, she will face a runoff election in November against the number two vote-getter, which is former San Francisco DA George Gascón.

In 2016, Lacey had run unopposed, and she collected 1.31 million votes.

This time, in early voting Lacey jumped out to a 54-percent portion of the votes, but those ballots had come in before Monday’s dramatic news that Lacey’s husband David Lacey pointed a gun at protesters outside their home that morning. As the ballots cast Tuesday were (slowly) counted, her lead continued to fall. And as of last night, she slipped below 50 percent as the vote total neared the 2016 level. Here’s the progression:

Wed. 7:30 am: 830,614 votes counted in the DA contest, Lacey lead falls to 51.39 percent.

Wed, 9:20 am: 966,307 votes counted in the DA contest, Lacey lead falls to 50.69 percent.

Wed. evening: 1,062,199 votes counted in the DA contest, Lacey lead falls to 50.14 percent.

Thu. evening: 1,100,139 votes counted in the DA contest, Lacey lead rises to 50.29 percent.

Fri. evening: 1,231,759 votes counted in the DA contest, Lacey lead falls to 49.9987 percent



Jon Atack: Scientology, any regrets?

Jon answers this question from a reader: “Following Blue Sky and the subsequent harassment, do you regret speaking out? What, if anything, do you miss about your time in Scientology?”



And now a message from flyonthewall…

(More details at the convention website.)


Ask a Scientologist!

Here’s a question that came in to, and we thought recent Sea Org defector Peter Nyiri might be the best person to answer it. If you have a question for one of our many experts, please send it in!


On what occasions do the Sea Org members wear their faux naval uniforms now days?

We were wearing a naval style uniform only one day a year — Sea Org Day (August 12, to commemorate the founding of the Sea Organization on August 12, 1967). But at Flag we were only wearing it up to 2014 or so because there simply weren’t enough uniforms for all staff. After that only the Honor Guards were wearing it for Sea Org Day and recruitment events. On the Freewinds they were still wearing it for the Sea Org Day ceremony before I left in 2016. As for Miscavige, he has a military-style uniform,and would still wear it when meeting with people like Colonel Prado, also sometimes on staff briefings. But definitely on Maiden Voyage.

— Peter Nyiri


Source Code

“You can pick up a rock and handle it quite safely. It won’t disappear on you for the excellent reason that it has so many fundamentals, so many basics, so many premises from which it sprang. There are so many alter-isnesses which have proceeded along the line, that it’s not really likely to as-is in your hands. But if you start plowing around about the original rock or the source of all rocks, or you start questioning the source of all rocks, if you did it expertly enough I’m afraid you would feel the rock tremble, because if you did it completely successfully, it’s liable to be gone.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 7, 1957


Overheard in the FreeZone

“LRH tried to get an enormous amount done in a short life time and it is somewhat of a miracle that he got as much done as he did. He realized that just shooting people up the Bridge to OT was not enough and OTs can be keyed in again (after all, we were originally) and entheta is so prevalent on this planet in so many levels it is very difficult for even a small group to stay exterior let alone an individual. This is why the focus became ‘Clearing the planet’ and getting more and more people educated and through the lower levels in an attempt to raise the tone level of the planet overall to an environment where stable OTs could be made. The more we retreat into our little close knit community the smaller we will get and we will end up back where we started, newly gain experience notwithstanding. We need to expand, get more people ON the bridge, find out what people so desperately need most of and expand our base.”


Random Howdy


“Hubbard deciding the right tone level for being mauled by a bear is fabulous.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Jay Spina: Sentencing set for April 3 in White Plains
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members: Trial set for April 14 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Waiting for an appellate decision from the Eleventh Circuit
— Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Hearing on motion for reconsideration set for April 16
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology: March 11 (plaintiff attorneys pro hac vice, defense motions to quash), March 20 (demurrers by Masterson and Scientology), March 27 (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe’s attorneys have asked for discovery, March 19 depositions (Warren McShane, Lynn Farny), April 20 hearing set (motion to compel arbitration)
Matt and Kathy Feschbach bankruptcy appeal: Oral arguments on March 11 in Jacksonville
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Complaint filed.


Start making your plans…

Head over to the convention website and meet us in St. Louis!


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, and Juliette Lewis]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Scientology denied: Eleventh Circuit brushes aside church attempt to stop Garcia appeal
[TWO years ago] Is American culture now so hopeless that Scientology’s insanity is no longer notable?
[THREE years ago] Paul Haggis spoils movie night for Scientology, shows what a real humanitarian does
[FOUR years ago] There’s a backstory to the recent news of a Scientology TV ad being banned in the UK
[FIVE years ago] Jon Atack visits an org — ALSO: The richest Scientologist gets even richer!
[SIX years ago] BRAD HALSEY, 1957-2014
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology: Dear Judge, Protect Us from Rathbun and Rinder!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,870 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,374 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,894 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 914 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 805 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,112 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,980 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,754 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,528 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,874 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,440 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,359 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,527 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,108 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,369 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,407 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,120 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,645 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,172 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,735 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,875 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,195 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,050 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,170 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,525 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,828 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,934 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,336 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,208 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,791 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,286 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,540 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,649 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 7, 2020 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, 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 can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | Shelly Miscavige, 14 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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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