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Judge in Danny Masterson lawsuit doubts Scientology ‘arbitration,’ sets hearing

[Judge Steven J. Kleifield]

In what appears to be a pretty unusual turn of events, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield, after hearing Scientology’s argument on November 6 about why it should be able to force Danny Masterson’s rape accusers into “religious arbitration,” has decided to erase that hearing as if it never happened.

In a new two-page order, Judge Kleifield expresses doubts that Scientology can force former Scientologists into arbitration, and has asked the church’s attorneys to submit new filings answering his specific questions about how Scientology’s scheme fits under federal law. He set a new hearing for December 18 to make a ruling on the answers they submit.

Um, wow!

We told you previously that attorneys for Chrissie Carnell Bixler and the other plaintiffs (who are suing Scientology and Danny Masterson not for the rapes they accuse Masterson of, but for the campaign of harassment they say they experienced after coming forward to the LAPD in 2016) had argued that Scientology should not be able to force four former members of the church into Scientology’s own internal brand of religious arbitration and what is essentially a “religious ritual.” It’s a First Amendment violation of religious rights, they have argued.

But Judge Kleifield is bothered by something entirely different, and something that neither side has previously brought up (“not previously briefed,” he says). In his ruling, he points to the language of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), under which the church claims that it has authority to hold Carnell Bixler and the three other former members to the language of contracts they had signed as Scientologists, promising to bring any grievance not to a court of law but to internal arbitration.

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Kleifield notes that the federal act relies on the idea that arbitration is appropriate in cases of commerce, not complaints of harassment or stalking or libel.

“Defendants argue that the arbitration agreements are broad enough to cover any claim whatsoever. The question arises whether the FAA is available to Defendants to enforce the arbitration agreements at issue in this case.”

To that end, Kleifield has asked Scientology’s attorneys to submit new filings answering these specific questions:

1. Do the contracts at issue evidence transactions involving commerce?
2. Do the controversies arise out of the contracts or transactions?
3. If the answer to issue #1 or 2 is “no”, may the arbitration agreements be enforced under the FAA?

The simplicity and obviousness of it is stunning: How is Scientology successfully convincing courts that it can stalk, harass, and slander former members for the rest of their lives without recourse to the courts? Judge Kleifield seems to be the first one to point out that this is being done under a law about contractual disputes involving dollars and cents, not harassment, surveillance, and poisoning pets.

And to add some insult to injury, Judge Kleifield has told Scientology’s attorneys that they have to limit their answer to his questions to only five pages. Those of you who are familiar with Scientology’s style of litigation will understand not only how difficult this will be for attorneys working for David Miscavige, but it also says something about Judge Kleifield’s tolerance for the way the church has been conducting itself in this case so far.

We cannot wait to see the Scientology freakout over this. The church’s response is due about December 2.

 
SOME OF OUR PAST REPORTING ON THE MASTERSON CASE

March 3, 2017: LAPD probing Scientology and Danny Masterson for multiple rapes, cover-up
March 8, 2017: Danny Masterson: Victim C gets support from a veteran actress
March 11, 2017: Scientology made Danny Masterson’s Victim B search past lives to explain being raped

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May 9, 2017: Masterson hires Michael Jackson criminal defense attorney Tom Mesereau in rape probe
Nov 2, 2017: Read the threatening letter Danny Masterson’s attorney Marty Singer sent a victim’s husband
Nov 26, 2017: EXCLUSIVE: Scientology interrogated Danny Masterson and accuser, didn’t notify LAPD
Feb 14, 2018: PROSECUTORS PREPARE CHARGES CARRYING LIFE SENTENCE FOR DANNY MASTERSON
Apr 27, 2018: Strange days for a woman accusing Danny Masterson of rape — and for her rocker husband
July 8, 2018: Masterson witness fears for safety as investigation drags on and on
Nov 30, 2018: LEAH REMINI: Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey, do your job already
Aug 14, 2019: RAPE ACCUSERS SUE DANNY MASTERSON, CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY, AND ITS LEADER
Jan 22, 2020: Cedric Bixler-Zavala blames Scientology for poisoned dog he had to put down yesterday
Feb 3, 2020: Here’s Scientology actor Danny Masterson’s legal response to his rape accusers
Feb 10, 2020: Another dog poisoned: Bobette Riales says harassment worse since suing Scientology
Feb 26, 2020: SEVENTH victim comes forward to LAPD accusing Scientology actor Danny Masterson
Feb 29, 2020: Amended complaint filed against Danny Masterson with new stalking allegations
March 14, 2020: Danny Masterson’s victims speak out in sworn documents in lawsuit against Scientology
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May 4, 2020: Masterson: Drop me from Scientology lawsuit if the ‘Jane Does’ won’t name themselves
June 17, 2020: SCIENTOLOGY CELEB DANNY MASTERSON CHARGED ON MULTIPLE RAPE ALLEGATIONS
June 19, 2020: Records show that Danny Masterson is a woeful Scientologist — would he turn on the church?
June 23: 2020: The key thing about Danny Masterson’s ‘DJ Donkey Punch’ nick is why he stopped using it
Sept 30, 2020: Could Danny Masterson’s odd legal fight over his Hollywood house endanger his freedom?
Oct 11, 2020: Danny Masterson asks to halt civil lawsuit while criminal case is ongoing, as expected
Oct 12, 2020: Bijou Phillips on her husband Danny Masterson: A macho ‘Strong Island’ guy
Oct 16, 2020: Danny Masterson ‘accidentally’ outs Jane Doe accuser after judge told him not to

 
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Source Code

“The only other thing I could tell that you really need to know about this meter is, when it’s all the way up to the vicinity of 6.0 or even into the black, you’re reading a thetan who believes he is dead. Completely aside from the theta bop, these are the readings of a body if it were dead: But the thetan believes he’s dead up that high. I learned this from plants. When plants think they’re dead, man, they rise right up there and there they are. And a plant can conceive that it’s dead long before it departs. It says, ‘I’m dead,’ goes right on up here to 6.0. After that, you get no needle motion. You get nothing.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 16, 1959

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“Regarding the FBI who like the IRS and the FDA along with their controlled media are just tools used by various vested interests who consider actual Scientology a threat to their monopoly. Seems they have no objection to what since 1993 has been called ‘the Scientology Religion’ which is based on meaning in a derivative sense as in squirrel ‘the works of L Ron Hubbard’ which is probably why they don’t get all hot and bothered when someone like Mike keeps bleating for an investigation of some kind of the hen house by the fox etc. It sort of emphasized the point that as Ron says there is no other hope but ourselves in straightening up this mess.”

 
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Past is Prologue

2000: Reuters reported that Scientologist and owner of Executive Software Craig Jensen is angry that Microsoft has released a way to disable the Diskeeper software. “‘The stench of religious intolerance is high among government officials in Germany,’ Craig Jensen, owner and CEO of California-based Executive Software International, said in a statement issued over the weekend. Microsoft — bowing to pressure over the Scientology link — has said it will remove the part of the Windows 2000 operating system software that has generated the bad publicity — a disk defragmenter which helps hard disks run more efficiently. A Microsoft spokesman in Germany said on Friday the problem stems from the fact that ‘people and the media’ in Germany became aware of the fact that the developer of the tool was Executive Software, whose CEO is a member of the Scientology Church. A German Interior Ministry information security expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity, has said that some German officials and clergy have voice fears that this part of the software ‘could have a security problem’.”

 
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Random Howdy

“My wife used to say the reason I was a such a morbid negative weirdo was because of all the horrible stories my dad use to tell me about Korea and WWII and all the other mondo cane shit he saw during his time in the merchant marines. I think she may have been right.”

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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson’s demurrer denied Oct 19, arraignment delayed to Jan 6.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed for ‘Fatico’ hearing on Jan 19.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition for writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District. Petition for review by state supreme court filed Oct 30.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 18, re-hearing on motions to compel arbitration; Jan 29, Masterson’s request to stay discovery pending the criminal case
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Oct 19: Feshbachs still considering further appellate relief.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, awaiting verdict.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.

 
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SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks

The Australian Seven News network cancelled a 10-part investigation of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks. Read the transcripts of the episodes and judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.

SCIENTOLOGY: FAIR GAME

After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.

LEAH REMINI: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE AFTERMATH

An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and coming November 1 to Netflix.

SCIENTOLOGY’S CELEBRITIES, from A to Z

Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

 
Other links: Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Scientology banned his book and trashed him as an apostate. Here’s his full-throated reply!
[TWO years ago] Scientology’s ‘Super Power’ poster boy gets dunked on by yet another irked judge
[THREE years ago] How Pete Griffiths sued a Scientologist and ended up being vilified by former friends
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s websites try a little too hard to convince you that all is right in crazy town
[FIVE years ago] Lisa McPherson in Orlando: What her hotel roommate witnessed, and the Slaughter rule
[SIX years ago] Sunday Funnies: Get yer boots on for some Scientology line dancing in Austin!
[SEVEN years ago] Jon Atack: Did Mary Sue Hubbard Doubt Scientology’s Key Experience?
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s Big Gamble: “Golden Age of Tech 2” Is Here!
[NINE years ago] Scientology Watching Gets Fancy!

 
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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 2,122 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,626 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,146 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,166 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,057 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,364 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,232 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,006 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,810 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,126 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,692 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,611 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,779 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,360 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,621 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,659 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,372 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,897 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 252 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,427 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,978 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,127 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,447 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,302 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,421 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,777 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,080 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,186 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,588 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,460 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,043 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,538 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,792 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,901 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on November 16, 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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