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Scientology asks California Supreme Court to review its defeat on ‘religious arbitration’

[Plaintiff Chrissie Carnell-Bixler and defendant Danny Masterson]

Last year the California State Supreme Court took the unusual step of intervening in a court case involving former Scientologists suing the church and Danny Masterson. That eventually led to a landmark appeals court decision in January defeating Scientology’s “religious arbitration” strategy, which had derailed the lawsuit.

Now, Scientology itself is petitioning that same state supreme court, asking it once again to intervene, but this time in the hopes of overturning that stunning January appeals court ruling.

We have Scientology’s petition for you to read, and it looks a lot like the one they submitted just a few weeks ago to the appeals court that made the ruling, asking the panel to reconsider. The appeals court declined that request without comment.

It was a longshot the first time this case was petitioned to the state supreme court by its plaintiffs, Chrissie Carnell-Bixler, her husband Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Bobette Riales, and two women going by Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2. The women all allege that they were raped by Masterson, who grew up in Scientology and is one of its well-known celebrities. In a separate action in criminal court, Masterson is facing an August trial for raping three of the women, and could get 45 years to life in prison if he’s convicted.

But this civil lawsuit is not about the rape allegations themselves: The five plaintiffs are suing over what they claim was years of harassment and stalking after the women came forward with their sexual assault allegations to the LAPD in 2016. Four of the five plaintiffs (all but Riales) were Scientologists, and so the church argued in court that the plaintiffs were obliged by contracts they had signed while members of the organization to take any grievance to Scientology’s internal “religious arbitration” and not a court of law. In December 2020 Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield granted Scientology’s motion and denied right to trial for the plaintiffs. They would have to take their case to Scientology’s arbitration, which consists of a panel of arbitrators who must be members of the church in good standing. A previous couple that submitted to it say they were denied the right to have an attorney with them, 90 percent of the evidence they had brought with them was disallowed, and they weren’t even allowed a transcript of the proceeding.


Hoping to overturn Kleifield’s ruling, the Masterson accusers initially petitioned California’s Second Appellate District, which declined to intervene. But then they also petitioned the state supreme court last year. At the time, our experts told us it was a long shot that the court would take an interest.

But then in May the criminal court held a four-day preliminary hearing and the three women — Carnell-Bixler and the two Jane Does — testified in court for the first time about their allegations. And there was plenty of press coverage of their horrific descriptions of violent rapes.

Just days later, the state supreme court made the surprising decision to approve the petition asking to grant review of the civil lawsuit. We said at the time we figured the timing was no accident, and that the state supreme court justices may have been reading the news about the horrible court testimony in the criminal case.

The state supreme court asked the Second Appellate District — the same one that had initially declined to hear the case — to handle the review, and oral arguments were held in November. Then in January, the appeals court issued its stunning order, overturning Kleifield’s ruling.

The appeals court took pains to explain that what they were ruling against was the idea that Scientology could enforce the contracts not only after these former members had left the church, but that the allegations of harm — the stalking, hacking, and even poisoning of pets — had occurred after they had left Scientology.

Scientology, in its failed petition for reconsideration to the appeals court, tried to argue that this would make it impossible for churches to enforce contracts because members would know merely to say that they had left and would then get out of a contract. But that’s not what the appeals court ruled. It was about the harm occurring after someone broke with the church.

Anyway, take a look at Scientology’s petition. We imagine that this too is a longshot, particularly after the state supreme court unanimously granted review previously. Is this just a requisite step before Scientology petitions the US Supreme Court?

And we also want to point out that the state supreme court now has two matters before it regarding this case: This petition from Scientology asking for review, as well as a request to formally publish the January ruling, which is being asked by attorney Ford Greene and the attorneys for the Masterson accusers.

Here’s Scientology’s petition…


Bixler v Scientology: Petit… by Tony Ortega



Leah Remini podcast: Roberta Blevins

Says Mike: “We spoke with Roberta Blevins, a former member of a Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) scam known as LuLaRoe. The similarities between MLM’s and cults are legion. Peer pressure. Information control. Even Fair Game tactics. Roberta discusses her experiences and her work today as a whistleblower against what she calls ‘Commercial Cults.’ Her story gives an insight into this world and she is an engaging voice warning others not to get trapped as she was.” Listen to the episode right here!


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Did you know you can get an email every morning when we post our daily Scientology story? We know some of the folks who come to the Underground Bunker aren’t here to talk about the politics of the day, and that’s why we created a daily politics feature over at our other blog, The Lowdown, and we ask readers to take their political discussions over there. And if you drop us a line at tonyo94 AT gmail, we’ll put you on the list so you get a morning reminder that a new Scientology story has been posted — and only for our Scientology stories.


Source Code

“A radio ad in the Los Angeles area in l950 was pulling in 125 new people a night. They came in, they were given cards, they were given a very bright lecture, they were very interested, they were given these cards to fill out as to whether or not they wanted training and processing, and what was their home address and phone number. The cards were handed out to them. The organization left them on the chairs, they fell off the chairs and on the floor, and eventually an old showman, the janitor, sort of got the idea maybe he shouldn’t be burning up all this trash and started turning them into me directly…That was the operating line of PE, l950. The organization was making a fortune, until it all just went bong bang crash thud bong on just too much Dev-T, out-ethics, dishonesty, various things. Somebody decided he’d like to cut himself a whole piece of the organization, things of this character. But the organization could be put back together again to run at that high rate of speed anytime, any minute. We have found out it doesn’t matter what the papers say, it doesn’t matter what Time Magazine says, it doesn’t matter what the psychiatrists say, the word of mouth in the streets, it doesn’t matter one bit at all. It doesn’t matter how many football matches, it doesn’t matter how many this, how many that and so forth. An effective, efficient organization which is viably running and so forth, makes a mint.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 1, 1972


Avast, Ye Mateys


“We sail at 1700 today. Have all readiness reports in by 1500 and all bills paid please. Cond I will take her out of harbour and Condition VI with A2 up first will handle at sea. A VIP reception will be given in the next port on the 3rd of March. The ship will be cleaned, scrubbed and painted up for this event.” — Capt W.B. Robertson, Flag Ship Org, March 1, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“LRH admits in the OT2 materials that Clear is unstable. I have also noticed heavy deterioration in people who just scratch the surface of OT3/NOTs and stop for whatever reason. A lot of Clears + OTs have left the body but none seem to have returned with good recall, LRH included. I see living on this planet as a continual pulling down of the individual making regular auditing a necessity just to stay level.”


Past is Prologue

1996: Andrew McPherson posted a series of articles from Prosperity #39, a Scientology magazine distributed to WISE (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises) members. Some excerpts: “Hilda [Jimenez] has now signed an agreement with the state to do a six-year training project in the following areas: – To implement LRH admin tech into all the state-owned kindergartens. – To implement LRH admin tech into all the small businesses in the state in cooperation with the Small Industry Council. – To help improve the economic conditions of families by training unemployed women in LRH admin tech and helping them to organize their own businesses. After lunch, special recognition awards were given out to two WISE members from Mexico for their outstanding dissemination activities in Mexico. These were Lilia Garduno, who opened the Hubbard College of Administration in Mexico, and Marcos Salame, who is taking steps to get LRH admin tech into various opinion leaders comm lines in Mexico. Hollander Consultants of Portland, Oregon were recently named ‘Consultants of the Year’ by the magazine ‘Consultants Report’ at the magazine’s annual awards event. This was the first time the award was presented and it was based on nominations sent in to the magazine from clients of various consulting companies. Hollander Consultants is owned by Fred King and Larry Silver. Reports Prosperity: ‘Hollander Consultants has been consulting and training businesses nationwide in the administrative works of L. Ron Hubbard for more than eleven years and in the last year alone they delivered over 1,500 courses in LRH admin tech.'”


Random Howdy

“Crowley adherents take the man at his word just like you-know-who do. They don’t understand he was a showman B.S.-artist and it was all about the sex and drugs. They believe in ‘magick’.”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference May 31. Trial scheduled for August 29.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference March 25 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for April 8.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Hearing held on February 15, awaiting ruling.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Valerie asks for March 15 hearing on motion for reconsideration.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Scientology has said it will file an anti-SLAPP motion.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


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 now on Netflix.


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

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. 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] Hidden microphone: Scientology staffer shows how far they’ll go for $50
[TWO years ago] Videos capture Scientology’s bizarre ideas about Clearwater election and Mark Bunker
[THREE years ago] Adam Holland, Scientology whistle-blower who exposed Sea Org conditions, 1988-2019
[FOUR years ago] Scientology bragging on how well its Super Bowl ad did is the best thing ever
[FIVE years ago] 15 of the strangest things Scientology’s two supreme leaders ever uttered
[SIX years ago] What Scientology kids are really taught to believe about other religions and ‘God’
[SEVEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology going all-in with fundraising and fire fighters
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack: The harassment of independent Scientologists didn’t begin with David Miscavige
[NINE years ago] Is The L.A. Cyclist Who Was Nearly Killed in Hit-and-Run a Scientology “Sea Org” Worker?
[TEN years ago] When Scientologists Talk To Each Other About Scientology


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 2,590 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,095 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,615 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,635 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,526 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,833 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,701 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,475 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,806 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,279 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,595 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,161 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,080 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,248 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,829 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,090 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,126 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,841 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,366 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 721 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,896 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,447 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,596 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,916 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,771 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,890 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,246 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,549 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,655 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,053 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,929 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,512 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,007 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,261 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,370 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 1, 2022 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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, 15 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


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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