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Scientology predictably trashes Valerie Haney’s request for state supreme court review

[Valerie Haney hears from Scientology’s two legal hired hands]

We’ve obtained a copy of Scientology’s answer to Valerie Haney’s request for review to the California State Supreme Court, and it will probably not surprise you that it is a rather disparaging document.

Last week we told you that we had discussed with a California litigator who is familiar with the case some of the problems that were facing Valerie in her attempt to get a lower court ruling overturned, and that it involved some less than stellar work by her legal team. In particular, our helper pointed out that Valerie’s lawyers had not been very conscientious about deadlines, and had failed to show a sense of urgency about Valerie’s situation.

And that is certainly pounced on by Scientology’s attorneys, William Forman for the Church of Scientology International, and Matthew Hinks for the Religious Technology Center (Scientology’s nominally controlling entity). We have the document they filed with the state supreme court for you below.

We have a lot of new people coming to the Bunker thanks to Leah Remini’s series now appearing at Netflix, so we’ll do a quick recap for those folks who may know Valerie only for her appearance on Scientology and the Aftermath. She was the subject of the third season’s stellar premiere episode, which first aired on November 27, 2018.

As that episode showed, Valerie paid a steep price for becoming Leah’s assistant after her gutsy escape from Gold Base in the trunk of a car. Valerie had made that escape because, as a Sea Org worker who had served David Miscavige for years as his personal steward, she knew she’d never be allowed simply to walk away from the base because of the secrets she knew about the church leader. (Some of those secrets she shared with us in an interview after her episode aired.) She filed suit against Miscavige and Scientology in June 2019, alleging kidnapping for the years she was kept on the base, and stalking and slander for how she was treated after she left.


But in January, Scientology successfully convinced Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Burdge that by signing an agreement after her escape, Valerie was obliged to take any grievances — even those regarding surveillance and harassment of her years after she left the organization — to Scientology’s own internal brand of “religious arbitration,” and that she had promised not to sue in a court of law. Judge Burdge’s January 30 ruling became official on February 18, and on March 3 Valerie’s attorneys filed a motion for reconsideration, asking Judge Burdge to overturn his own decision, based on what Valerie’s attorneys claimed was new information. At that point, however, Scientology’s attorneys pointed out that the “new” information was actually covered in documents Valerie’s side had filed months before, and Judge Burdge upheld his decision in an August ruling.

In September, Valerie’s team then filed a petition for a writ of mandate to the California 2nd Appellate Division, asking for the right to appeal Judge Burdge’s decision without first having to go through the religious arbitration. Because Valerie is a former Scientologist and no longer a member of the church, they argued, it would be a violation of her First Amendment religious rights to force her to go through such a “religious ritual” as Scientology’s procedure. (Scientology’s “arbitration” is not like independent arbitration but is a reworking of its court martial procedures and requires a panel of arbitrators who are members of the church in good standing.)

The appeals court curtly denied the petition, saying that it was untimely, and with little explanation. But our California litigator tells us it was simply a case of Valerie’s attorneys waiting too long to file their petition. Judge Burdge’s ruling came on February 18, and even if they wanted to ask him to reconsider it, Valerie’s attorneys should have at least filed a notice with the appeals court in order to make the extraordinary importance of the situation clear. Instead, they didn’t file until September, and the litigator said that simply shows no sense of urgency. The appellate court’s presiding judge, Laurence Rubin, indicated that Valerie does have an appeal she can file, after she goes through with the arbitration (which she does not want to go through).

Valerie’s side has asked the state supreme court to review the case, and her appeals lawyer Valerie McGinty is saying that the supremes should take into consideration that the pandemic had slowed down Judge Burdge’s ruling on the motion for reconsideration.

In their answer, Scientology predictably pounces on all of these issues, thrashing Valerie’s team for trying to bring in the pandemic as an issue, for example.

And this is Scientology, so they take the opportunity to make another gratuitous attack on Valerie’s claims that has nothing to do with her request for review.

Up until 2017, Petitioner was a life-long member of the Church of Scientology and chose to live her adult life in the Church’s religious order, the Sea Org, serving her religion. The Sea Org order is composed of the most dedicated Scientologists – individuals who have committed their lives to the volunteer service of their religion. As befits a religious order, Petitioner agreed to submit to Church of Scientology discipline, serve without pay, and live communally. Part of her commitments to service in the Sea Org included Petitioner’s execution of the agreements at issue, all of which she signed when she was over 30 years old. Defendants petitioned for arbitration based on five agreements containing arbitration provisions that Petitioner signed while a member of the Sea Org (the “Church Agreements”), and one agreement she signed upon her departure from the Sea Org in 2017.

Translation: “You see, judges, we’re just a humble religion and Valerie was like a space nun? And you know when you become a space nun that you’re going to live an ascetic life and, well, she signed a contract and now she’s whining over stuff she agreed to. That’s all there is to this.”

You can read the whole thing for yourself here. We are keeping in mind what the litigator told us, that the petition for a writ was a longshot to begin with, and so it’s likely that the state supreme court will not take it up. But it’s a shame that it gave the Church of Scientology another opportunity to smear this woman who is still looking for a proper day in court.

Here’s the document…

Haney v. Scientology: Answe… by Tony Ortega



Verdict in Steve Cannane case coming today

A verdict in the libel trial against Australian journalist Steve Cannane is scheduled to be released today at 5:30 pm Eastern time, which will be Wednesday morning in Sydney.

See our previous coverage for some background on this ludicrous case, which required Cannane to prove all over again what a royal commission concluded nearly thirty years ago — that patient deaths were directly the result of the shameful work of several doctors using a discredited “deep sleep” therapy. It was a trial that never would have happened in this country, and demonstrates how poor Australia’s protections are for journalists doing their work.

We’ll be watching for today’s result.

UPDATE: Slam dunk victory for Steve Cannane. “Deep Sleep” doctors were responsible for deaths, and Steve pointing that out in a book 30 years later is just good journalism. Their libel lawsuit against him dismissed, and Cannane’s side awarded costs…



Leah Remini’s podcast: Mary Kahn

Mary Kahn’s episode in the first season of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath was particularly special to us for a couple of reasons. First, there was a heavy emphasis on former Sea Org members in the series, and for good reason. The way Sea Org members had been treated was horrific, and had become the focus of an FBI investigation. The defection of several high-ranking former Sea Org officials was the biggest challenge to David Miscavige’s leadership in decades. However, most Scientologists aren’t Sea Org members and so Mary Kahn’s experience as a “public” Scientologist, who had been targeted with disconnection because she dared to break away, was an eye-opening departure for the show. And it was also the episode that we saw Mike Rinder break down after hearing what Mary had been through, and that made for some really remarkable TV. So we’re very excited that Mary has now rejoined Leah and Mike for their podcast this week. You can listen to the episode here…




Source Code

“Nobody ever objects to anybody in India being found dead. So they’re dead. They’re dead. They get married when they’re 12 or 14, kick the bucket when they’re 21, 28 — real quick. The only trouble with the people is, it’s too hot there and they key in all the prenatals they’ve got. It is about 90. Any time you get a climate which is approaching 98.6, you can get the whole prenatal bank keyed in almost perpetually, because that’s the temperature in the prenatal bank, 98.6. That’s why hot countries turn feminine, so forth, so it’s not a hardy country. But way up north, those boys live with kind of wild abandon, too. They always have.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 24, 1953


Avast, Ye Mateys

“COMMENDABLE: CS-1 Cmdr Hana Eltringham is commended for getting out and duplicated the CLO org bd and MOs for getting it into action at CLOs in UK, DK and US. A very nice, rapid production requiring no further correction. All who helped her are also thanked.” — The Commodore, November 24, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The people who say Scientology is utter rubbish are clearly wrong, the people who say Scientology is utterly the best are also wrong. The truth like with most things really lies somewhere between. So that’s why I’m half a Scio. I’m also not afraid of the Covid hoax and the possible devastation it could cause. Somehow things tend to work out all right for me, so I expect Covid’s not going to cause all this badness. There’s no need to fear. Be positive because everything’s awesome. I also certainly ain’t a Christian, reading the Bible ruined the religion for me. I believe in Trump though so maybe that’s my official religion now.”



Past is Prologue

1997: Scientology issued a press release this week attacking the Channel 4 documentary on L. Ron Hubbard. “The Church of Scientology condemns as ‘journalistic terrorism’ the vicious rendition by Channel Four’s ‘Secret Lives’ of a purported ‘biography’ of L. Ron Hubbard, the Founder of Scientology and Dianetics. The program is the most contemptible form of tabloid disinformation and reeks of journalistic deceit and immorality. Boxes of factual information and documents disproving the lies of their sources were provided to 3BM, the independent company that produced the show, its director Simon Berthon and its producer Jill Robinson. The producers were offered an interview with L. Ron Hubbard’s official biographer, Mr. Dan Sherman, which they ignored. All of it was rejected in creating a programme dripping with bias, lies and a disreputable parade of self-serving and discredited sources. Through our own news journal, we are investigating how this atrocious programme came to be aired and we have uncovered the sordid tactics used by 3BM’s Jill Robinson and Simon Berthon.”


Random Howdy

“My take on it is that Hubbard created Dianetics as a ‘short con’ and when it took off on a level he didn’t expect and when everyone by the early 60’s had reached ‘Clear’ and the gravy train started to slow down he created the ‘long con’ of the OT levels. The $64,000 question is whether due to mental illness and perhaps drug use did he start to believe in his own bullshit? When he says at the end of OTVIII ‘now that you know what you aren’t are you ready to find out what you really are?’ I see this as phase 2 of the long con. Hubbard is saying ‘Hey, guess what kids, I took a detour and I was on the wrong road but now I’m on the right one, so lets go.’ The bottom line and perhaps unanswerable question is how much was calculated and how much was crazy.”


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. Nov 18: Feshbachs indicated they will enter into consent judgment to pay the debt.
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] Scientologists use faith healing to convince fire victims they’re actually helping
[TWO years ago] Xenu’s first public outing: Robert Kaufman’s stunning 1972 testament, ‘Inside Scientology’
[THREE years ago] KID CORPS: When a disease outbreak brought Scientology unwanted attention
[FOUR years ago] Leah Remini’s Scientology series opens with a gut-wrenching story of ‘disconnection’
[FIVE years ago] Strange scenes from the Moscow hearing that banned Scientology yesterday
[SIX years ago] HBO and BBC battling to get full-length films about Scientology out first
[SEVEN years ago] Jenna Miscavige Hill on Scientology’s New Dawn: “I Can’t Believe People Still Buy This BS”
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Leader David Miscavige Added as Defendant in Ken Dandar’s Federal Lawsuit
[NINE years ago] Paulette Cooper, Scientology’s Original and Worst Nightmare: A Thanksgiving Tribute by the Village Voice


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 2,130 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,634 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,154 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,174 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,065 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,372 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,240 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,014 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,818 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,134 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,700 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,619 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,787 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,368 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,629 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,667 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,380 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,905 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 260 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,435 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,986 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,135 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,455 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,310 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,429 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,785 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,088 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,194 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,596 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,468 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,051 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,546 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,800 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,909 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 24, 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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