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Valerie Haney to state supremes: Scientology abuses less real than deadlines in a pandemic?

We told you last week that Valerie Haney has taken her fight against Scientology ‘arbitration’ to California’s state supreme court, but we didn’t have a copy yet of her actual petition for review.

We have that document now, and we’re surprised to see that a matter as important as Valerie’s, which may force a woman to seek justice by having to crawl back to her abuser, is being held up over concerns about the interpretation of court deadlines, and in the unprecedented time of a global pandemic.

In January, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Burdge denied Valerie the right to a trial when he granted a motion filed by the Church of Scientology regarding its internal brand of “religious arbitration.” A former Sea Org worker who had grown up in Scientology, Valerie spent years as church leader David Miscavige’s personal steward, working in his private quarters at the secretive Gold Base near Hemet, California. She knew intimate details of Miscavige’s life (some of which she shared with us in an interview), and she was one of the last people to see Dave’s wife Shelly before she vanished in late summer 2005. After Shelly disappeared, Valerie was moved to another post and ended up working at Gold Base’s video department as a casting director. She wanted desperately to leave the base, but knew that she would never be allowed to leave because of how much she knew about Miscavige and his private life. So she made her escape by hiding out in the trunk of the car of an actor who had been shooting a video at the facility. After her escape, Valerie went to work for Leah Remini as her assistant and they got to work on telling her story in the A&E series Scientology and the Aftermath. Valerie described how she was then subjected to a ferocious “Fair Game” campaign by Scientology as it tried to intimidate her with stalking private investigators.

But because Valerie had signed an agreement (in the presence of an armed guard) in which she agreed to take any grievances to arbitration rather than a court of law, Judge Burdge found that she couldn’t sue the church in his court, even though she is alleging stalking and slander that occurred years after she left her job.


Valerie can appeal his decision, but only after she has submitted herself to that arbitration, which a previous couple, Luis and Rocio Garcia, described as an utter joke.

Instead of doing that, in September Valerie filed a petition for a writ of mandate with the California 2nd Appellate Division, asking them for the right to an appeal without first having to go through the arbitration.

But the appellate division, which is under no obligation to consider her request, denied her petition with only a very brief response:

The court has read and considered the petition for writ of mandate filed September 10, 2020, the preliminary opposition filed September 21, 2020, the reply filed October 1, 2020, and the amicus curiae briefs filed by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and the National Crime Bar Victim Association. The petition is denied as untimely. (Reynolds v. Los Angeles County Superior Court (1883) 64 Cal. 372, 373; Volkswagen of America, Inc. v. Superior Court (2001) 94 Cal.App.4th 695, 701; see also United Firefighters of Los Angeles v. City of Los Angeles (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 1576, 1582 [“‘A party does not waive his right to attack the order [compelling arbitration] by proceeding to arbitration; the order is reviewable on appeal from a judgment confirming the award’”].)

Presiding Judge Laurence Rubin added a note: “I would deny the petition only on the ground that petitioner has an adequate remedy on appeal.”

In other words, to Judge Rubin the situation wasn’t extraordinary enough to call for an appeal at this point since Valerie can appeal after she’s submitted herself to Scientology’s star chamber.

Valerie wasn’t amused. She submitted the new petition for review to the state supreme court, written by her appeals lawyer Valerie McGinty. And from the language in the petition it’s clear that they believe the court’s decision is simply based on a blown deadline.

Burdge granted Scientology’s arbitration motion at the end of January and it was official on February 18. Valerie then filed for a motion for reconsideration on March 3.

Ten days later, the country plunged into lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic, and the courts were hamstrung. Burdge didn’t rule on Valerie’s motion until August. Only a month later, Valerie filed her petition that the appeals court found “untimely.”

The appeals court was apparently referring to a rule that a petition should be filed within 60 days of a court ruling, which would have been April 18, not September when Valerie did file it.

But in mid-April the court was paralyzed by the pandemic, and Burdge didn’t rule on the motion for reconsideration for months.

“An important question of law: May a court reject a common law writ petition as untimely where the reconsideration order was delayed for five months due to a pandemic that closed the courts?” Valerie McGinty asks the supreme court in the petition for review.

If Valerie Haney had filed for a writ in mid-April, wouldn’t it have created a conflict between Burdge’s court, where he was yet to rule on her motion to reconsider, and the appellate court, which would have been considering her petition?

But a California appellate attorney who is very familiar with the case tells us that there are more problems than are indicated in Valerie’s petition for review. She points out to us that the motion for reconsideration itself was filed a day late in March, and that Judge Burdge didn’t have to consider it at all.


The appellate attorney tells us that it wasn’t just late but a complete waste of time, and the legal team should have immediately at least filed a notice with the appellate court that it was intending to file a petition for a writ, and to make it clear that a grave injustice had been done and emergency measures were necessary.

“You have to understand that with a writ the appellate court is not compelled to review it. And if you’re not showing an extreme need for them to review this issue, if you wait several months before even filing your petition, then they’re just going to summarily deny it, as they did, which is why like 90 percent of petitions are turned down in California,” she says.

“They should have filed their petition with the appellate court in March, not September, and they just didn’t show an emergency. I would be shocked if the state supreme court takes it up. This team is grasping at straws,” she says.

But couldn’t Valerie benefit from the stunning news we reported yesterday, that in another judge’s courtroom at the same Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Steven Kleifield is questioning whether Scientology can use an arbitration agreement to shut down lawsuits about things like stalking and libel, and years after the victims worked for the church?

Experts we consulted told us that at this point, Valerie can’t inject news of Judge Kleifield’s extraordinary decision to call for a new hearing because it’s in a different lawsuit, the one against Danny Masterson and Scientology brought by Masterson’s rape accusers. And even if Kleifield ends up denying Scientology’s motion for arbitration in that lawsuit, it won’t have an effect on Valerie’s case. In fact, if Valerie does get a decision from the appellate courts, it would take precedence over whatever Judge Kleifield decides at the trial court level.

The complexity is maddening, but we’ll continue to rely on our experts to help us get through it. For now, three big dates are looming: December 18, when Judge Kleifield will rule on Scientology arbitration, January 6, when Danny Masterson is arraigned in his criminal case on three counts of forcible rape, and the date when the California Supreme Court decides whether or not to hear Valerie Haney’s case.


Leah Remini podcast: Claire Headley

We’ll be forever indebted to Claire Headley for helping us out on our 2013 series here at the Bunker, “Up the Bridge,” which took us step by step through Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom” and its nutty courses and auditing levels.

Claire and her husband Marc were also stars in Leah’s A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath (see photo), and they also were key to one of the most important pieces of Scientology journalism of all time, the story by Joe Childs and Tom Tobin at the Tampa Bay Times revealing that Scientology was forcing women in the Sea Org to get abortions.

For all those reasons, we’re thrilled that Leah and Mike brought Claire onto their podcast this week, which you can listen to here…




Source Code

“I couldn’t tell you where I lived in 1102 A.D. My memory on the earlier track wasn’t so bad, but they — in spots — but I realized there was practically nothing on the early, early track at all. Nothing! What was this? There were great big chunks like twenty years missing out of the track, see….During the war I remember vividly thinking about the Phoenician navy and how different our administrative system was than the Phoenician navy’s administrative system and so on. And of course I’d been in my same rank for so long, that I was getting moldy. That was true of anybody who went out to the combat areas. And I mentioned this to somebody. I didn’t tell them, I didn’t tell them I was remembering and so forth. I got dreamily reminiscent about the Phoenician navy and the good old days, you know. They printed me up a certificate on the ship and they printed me up a commission, feeling sorry for me for being in grade for so long, you see. And gave me my original commission back as a lieutenant in the Phoenician navy with the date of rank, 1003 B.C. printed on it. Only it didn’t seem very funny to me. Only they didn’t have lieutenants. Well, we won’t go off into that. There was another way of designating rank and grade. What all this comes down to was how willing I was to create the early track or to create the memory of an early track, which is all memory is. Now you have a reality on it because you know it is-was.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 17, 1959


Overheard in the FreeZone

“We are Scientologists. If you don’t like the fact that we don’t believe in psychiatry, why are you here?”


Past is Prologue

1995: Steve Holroyd posted an ad he recently came across in the West End Extra which lists the current claims for the state of Clear. “SCIENTOLOGY ‘Do you want more out of life?’ Become a Scientology Clear. A Scientology Clear has
– Over 135 IQ
– Creative imagination

– Amazing vitality
– Deep relaxation
– Good memory
– Strong willpower
– Radiant health
– Magnetic personality
– Good self control
If you would like to have all these qualities then look into Scientology. Enquire today.”


Random Howdy

“Scientology came into existence in the 50s, which saw the advent of the beatniks and new ageism followed by the hippies and a rampant world wide interest in the supernatural, occult, and paranormal. It’s fitting to me that Scientology peaked in the 80s with the rise of the yuppie.”



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.


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.


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.


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.


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?



[ONE year ago] Scientology’s sleep cures are enough to keep you up at night
[TWO years ago] Cyril Vosper: The mind-bending illogic of Scientology’s upper levels
[THREE years ago] Days before jumping to his death, actor Brad Bufanda credited Scientology with saving his life
[FOUR years ago] San Diego’s new Scientology ‘Ideal Org’ looks like it’s ready for its close-up
[FIVE years ago] Our Scientology tech experts review Lisa McPherson’s grim cycle of guilt and self-blame
[SIX years ago] More L. Ron Hubbard history that Scientology has done its best to disappear
[SEVEN years ago] LIVE OVER CLEARWATER: Watching Scientology from an Eye in the Sky
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Accused of Spending Millions to Influence Florida Judges
[NINE years ago] Scientology Chillin’ With Hip Hop! A Video That Cannot Be Unseen


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 2,123 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,627 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,147 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,167 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,058 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,365 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,233 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,007 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,811 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,127 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,693 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,612 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,780 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,361 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,622 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,660 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,373 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,898 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 253 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,428 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,979 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,128 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,448 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,303 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,422 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,778 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,081 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,187 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,589 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,461 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,044 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,539 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,793 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,902 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 17, 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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