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California Supreme Court denies Scientology’s petition to review ‘religious arbitration’

[Plaintiff Chrissie Carnell-Bixler and accused rapist Danny Masterson]

January’s stunning defeat of Scientology’s “religious arbitration” strategy was just compounded with another loss, this time at the state’s highest court.

Today California’s state supreme court denied Scientology’s petition that was asking the court to review a lower court’s defeat of its arbitration contracts as it pertained to former church members, a ruling that had restored a lawsuit filed by Danny Masterson’s accusers against the That ’70s Show actor and the church.

Chrissie Carnell-Bixler and the other Masterson accusers can breathe easier knowing that they will not have their lawsuit derailed by Scientology’s ‘arbitration’ gambit, which had killed a couple of other recent lawsuits brought by former church members.

It was the state supreme court that took the unusual step to intervene in the case last May, granting a petition by Carnell-Bixler and the other accusers, and creating the situation that resulted in January’s stunning ruling by the Second Appellate Division, which restored the lawsuit.

Scientology asked the appellate court to reconsider the Bixler decision, arguing that the court had gone beyond its authority to make a ruling that was based on arguments that the Masterson accusers weren’t even making themselves, Scientology’s attorneys complained.


Key to the ruling was the idea that the harm that Scientology is accused of — harassing and stalking the Masterson accusers and even poisoning their pets — was occurring years after the accusers had left the Church of Scientology. The court ruled that these former members should not be held to contracts they signed while in the church that denied them the right to sue and which forced them instead to take their grievances to Scientology’s own internal brand of religious arbitration.

After the appellate court refused to reconsider the ruling, Scientology petitioned the state supreme court, again arguing that the appeals court had exceeded its authority. But today, that petition was denied without any explanation, which is what happens to the vast majority of petitions made to the court.

As we explained earlier, there were three decisions we were waiting for the state supreme court to make. We’re still waiting to see if they will decide to publish the Bixler ruling and make it the law of the state so it will affect more cases than the Bixler lawsuit.

Also, we’re watching to see what the state supreme court will do in regards to Danny Masterson’s petition for review in his criminal case. He’s asking the court to look at his latest motion to dismiss the case, which was denied on February 8. The court has asked prosecutor Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller to submit an answer to Masterson’s petition by May 4. Masterson is facing a criminal trial scheduled for August 29 for violently raping three of his accusers, and if he’s found guilty he faces 45 years to life in prison.

UPDATE: The court has also decided not to formally publish the opinion, so it will only apply to the Bixler case itself.

Please see links to our reporting the Masterson investigation going back to 2017.


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Source Code

“Well now look, Mary Sue has been working very, very hard to make an OT out of me and been working at it and working at it and she didn’t make the grade. I wanted to get OT today so I could give you some nice weather. And I just didn’t make it, I’m sorry. I only got thirteen banks back and got stuck, you know.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 20, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“PARTY: Barry, Cathy and Liz did a good job on the party. Decorations were by the Middies, Claire, Terri, Suzette, Ann and Janis. Barry gave out dancing prizes. For such courage above and beyond the line of duty, he was himself decorated. Well done to Div VI.” — The Commodore, April 20, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“We no longer need to address the problems in life via time and energy. We now have a thetan who no longer requires a via to give birth to a positive postulate; one moves forward simply postulating anew. A Scientological being is no longer part of the common denominator of existence: to survive. A higher harmonic, a higher level of ‘survive’ is to live in postulates. He is immortal and he knows it. If there is any time it is simply now. Now is when a true theta being exists continually. If one wants to change a current mockup, all one does is postulate the new mockup. We no longer need to look back into the past to resolve an unwanted condition.”


Past is Prologue

1997: The New York Review of Books contains an article on Scientology and Germany. “The church’s propagandists point to a teacher in Lower Saxony who was allegedly dismissed because of her association and beliefs. Not quite. The teacher was transferred five times because she kept hawking material about ‘cleansing courses’ and Scientology brochures in the school. In other words, she had run afoul of well-established rules against merchandising and proselytizing of any kind–rules even a liberal American school board would enforce. In the end, the teacher was not fired, but removed from the classroom and given an office job in the Lower Saxony Ministry of Culture. There is no symmetry of political power between the Church of Scientology and the Federal Republic of Germany. One is rich, nasty, and vengeful–but still only a cult, whose leaders go to prison when found guilty of a crime. The other is a democratic nation of 80 million, respectable and respected, armed with all the power at the disposal of a state. If Scientology, or some other cult, illegally takes money from the faithful, terrorizes defectors, or breaks into government buildings, let the laws that protect the citizen and the state come into play. Let’s indict and convict, but let’s not smear and vilify those we despise, for those are tactics unworthy of a liberal polity.”



Random Howdy

“Human nature isn’t that complex. If you strip away the unnatural veneer of civilization, what are you left with? Spend some time on the street and tell me human nature is complex. Human egotism is infinite is more like it.”


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. Additional charges also referred to grand jury after January 5 assault while in jail.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference May 20 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for May 5.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.

Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

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’s motion for reconsideration denied on March 15.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Next hearing scheduled for June 29.
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] Scientology is always coming up with sneaky new ways to snag actors and other artists
[TWO years ago] Tom Cruise on InTouch cover: Another completely oversold Scientology clip job
[THREE years ago] Bull baiting and so much worse: Margery Wakefield on surviving Scientology
[FOUR years ago] Joy Villa’s Scientologist husband shamed into dropping elephant skin bags from luxury line
[FIVE years ago] As Clearwater votes, here’s a reminder of how L. Ron Hubbard had Scientology invade Florida
[SIX years ago] Disconnection, Miscavige style: How Scientology’s most powerful family came apart
[SEVEN years ago] See the message a Scientologist sends to disconnect from a best friend, forever
[EIGHT years ago] Easter Sunday Funnies: David Miscavige has risen, & Scientology has more money than ever!
[NINE years ago] African Queen: The Man L. Ron Hubbard Thought He Was
[TEN years ago] David Edgar Love: “I Think I Have Scientology By The Balls”
[ELEVEN years ago] When Scientologists Attack!


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 2,640 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,145 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,665 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,685 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,576 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,883 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,751 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,525 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,856 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,329 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,645 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,211 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,130 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,298 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,878 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,140 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,176 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,891 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,416 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 771 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,946 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,497 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,646 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,966 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,821 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,940 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,296 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,599 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,705 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,103 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,979 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,562 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,057 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,311 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,420 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 20, 2022 at 17:10

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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