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Valerie Haney facing new court hearing: why hasn’t Scientology ‘arbitration’ happened yet?

On June 24, a hearing is scheduled before a new judge in the lawsuit filed three years ago by Valerie Haney.

There’s been some interesting recent action in the case, but the basic situation remains the same: Valerie sued Scientology over the abuse she says she experienced as a Sea Org member, and for the harassment she went through after escaping from one of Scientology’s bases in the trunk of a car. But Scientology successfully convinced Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Burdge that Valerie had signed contracts obliging her to take any grievances to the church’s internal brand of “religious arbitration,” and she was denied the right to trial.

Valerie has filed numerous motions to reconsider that ruling and also petitions to appellate courts, but now, next week, she’s back in Superior Court to answer a simple question: Why, more than two years after the court forced her case into arbitration, has that arbitration not even begun to happen?

The answer to that question is contentious, and we have numerous details to catch you up on in order to set the table for next week’s hearing.


The last time we wrote about her case, Valerie had filed another motion to reconsider with Judge Burdge, asking him once again to take another look at his ruling in light of the stunning January appellate decision in the Bixler v. Scientology lawsuit. In that case, which is very similar to Valerie’s and was filed a few months after hers in 2019 by the same attorneys, Danny Masterson’s accusers are suing the That ’70s Show actor and the Church of Scientology for what they say is years of harassment since they came forward to the LAPD in 2016 with rape allegations. (The lawsuit is about the harassment only. Masterson is facing a separate criminal prosecution over the rape allegations and trial is scheduled for October 11.)

Like in Valerie’s case, the Masterson accusers also ran into a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Steven Kleifield, who found that they were bound by contracts they’d signed as Scientologists and couldn’t sue the church. However, in January a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd Appellate Division struck down Kleifield’s ruling, finding that Masterson’s accusers could sue the church since the harassment they are alleging happened long after they had left the church.

Valerie, whose lawsuit contains allegations that occurred both while and after she was an employee in the Sea Org, asked Judge Burdge to reconsider his ruling forcing her into arbitration in light of the Bixler decision. But he once again refused to change his mind, this time agreeing with Scientology’s attorneys that the January Bixler ruling had not been formally published.

What’s new is that Valerie’s legal team then petitioned the 2nd Appellate Division — the same appeals court that had made the huge Bixler ruling — asking it to overturn Judge Burdge’s denials.

That also failed, and the appeals court denied Valerie’s petition. However, Presiding Justice Laurence Rubin did add an encouraging note to the court’s denial of Valerie’s petition:

I have signed the Court’s denial order but write separately to observe that in my view the order does not preclude respondent court from reconsidering its order compelling arbitration on its own motion in light of the reasoning set forth in Bixler v. Superior Court, or other grounds.

In other words, even though the Bixler decision remains unpublished, that doesn’t mean Valerie’s court can’t consider the arguments that were made in it.

And the reason why that’s especially interesting now is that when Valerie’s attorneys appear in court next week, it won’t be in front of Judge Richard Burdge.

As we reported earlier, Judge Burdge has moved to another court, and his cases have been distributed to other courtrooms. Valerie’s lawsuit will now, for the first time, be heard in the courtroom of Judge Gail Killefer. And Valerie’s attorneys certainly want her to know that Justice Rubin thinks she could, if she wanted, consider the arguments made in the January Bixler decision.

That was one thing that stood out to us in a new 5-page declaration filed this week by Valerie’s attorney Robert Thompson. Thompson also detailed the contentious history that’s been going on behind the scenes regarding why, after more than two years has passed, no progress has been made about beginning Valerie’s “arbitration.”

We put that word in quotation marks because, as Leah Remini and Mike Rinder have explained so many times, there really is no “arbitration” in Scientology’s internal “justice” procedures. L. Ron Hubbard never used the word, and although forcing lawsuits into arbitration has become a key legal strategy that the church uses in court, it has only ever held one arbitration, in the Garcia fraud lawsuit, and then it had to modify its procedures for “committees of evidence,” which is something like a Scientology court martial.

If you remember, it took the Garcias a couple of years to work out with the church how their arbitration would go, with an exasperating process that was so protracted, the judge in that case finally stepped in and chose arbitrators to get the ball rolling.

In Valerie’s case, Judge Burdge granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration on January 30, 2020. But in the more than two years since, nothing at all has been done, not even the wrestling over potential arbitrators. Why not?

According to documents Thompson included in this week’s filing, the two sides can’t even agree on how information about the arbitration can be communicated.


On January 27, 2021, almost a full year after Judge Burdge’s decision that Valerie would have to go through arbitration, Scientology’s “International Justice Chief” Mike Ellis wrote a letter directly to Valerie, telling her that she had not, according to Scientology procedures, informed him of her grievances so they could begin the arbitration process.


“You have not submitted any claim or dispute to me for resolution. If you intend to proceed, please let me know exactly what dispute(s) you wish to resolve pursuant to the Agreements the Court ordered be enforced,” he wrote.

In his filing, Thompson pointed out that Valerie, though her attorneys, has multiple times written to Scientology asking for instructions on how the arbitration will unfold. Scientology’s attorneys, however, insist that Valerie must obtain that information herself, and only from Ellis.

Scientology says Valerie is refusing to cooperate with Ellis. But Valerie’s attorneys say Scientology is being ridiculous by not answering their questions.

“[Haney] and her counsel are at a loss as to what more [she] can do other than what she and her attorneys have done to date in order to advance the ball towards completing this forced religious arbitration or what steps are even required, beyond the Defendant’s ludicrous proposition that [Haney] cannot have her attorneys assist in scheduling and attending the arbitration with her,” Thompson writes.

It does seem to be a rather asinine stalemate.

So we’re very intrigued by how things might go next week because of Justice Rubin’s suggestion that Valerie’s trial court could consider the arguments in the Bixler decision, and because it’s a new judge who will be looking at this situation, Judge Gail Killefer.

Will she really instruct Valerie Haney that she has no choice but to speak directly with an organization that Valerie considers to be her abuser, and tell her that Scientology has the right to go around her attorneys?


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Source Code

“The individual is in contest with his environment. We’ll just take off from that point. Now, that’s a very true observation. Particularly, if we qualify that observation just a little bit further and we say that a contest is not necessarily a battle of fisticuffs….Once umpty-skillion years ago I got swatted, and sat there very, very immobile, being right. I went on being right for quite a little while. See, by permitting myself to be immobilized, it made the other fellow wrong. It wasn’t really doing anything to him, taking no action, absolutely no forward thrust of any kind whatsoever, no outward motion, no outward flow of any kind, not even a thought of an outward flow and yet that was the method of handling the environment. So the way we qualify this is the method is not necessarily smart.” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 16, 1964


Avast, Ye Mateys

“A Comm Ev was ordered by Telex on the non-SO auditor at Asho (Sheila Aldrich) for evaluating and feeding cognitions and all but destroying tech. Pokras and Eltringham on the US Station Ship were ordered transferred to deck for 6 months for neglecting to report or put right area out tech. Another Comm Ev has been ordered on the Broadbents for fostering the situation. This was what had Asho stats down so long! So it’s time we got sharp and drilled up and put our own house in good order.” — The Commodore, June 16, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I have screenshots of this stuff, so there’s all the proof I need. You have played this game for far too long and when I put my intention and attention on something, I win. Believe me, I will put an end to your suppressive actions and this suppressive group. This is NOT Scientology, this is PURE ENTHETA.”



Past is Prologue

1997: Dick Cleek reported that he will be testifying in the case of Cynthia Kisser vs. Coalition for Religious Freedom. “Jury trial in Judge Zaqel’s court (Chicago) begins next week. Scheduled testimony: Monday – Thomas Whittle (editor of Freedom Mag); Tuesday – Eugene Ingram (I don’t know when Gene’s brother Tom will be testifying?); Wednesday – Margaret Singer, David Butterworth (Freedom Mag); Thursday – Butterworth (cont.), Mike Farrel (MASH); Later witnesses will include: Dr. Louis J. West, Heber Jentzsch, Kurt Weiland, Thomas Ingram, Dick Cleek.”


Random Howdy

“There are no theologians in Scientology. No one is allowed to interpret or tell a student what they think L. Ron Hubbard meant.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference June 30. Trial scheduled for October 11.
‘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: Readiness hearing scheduled for August 22 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for September 19.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court.
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 December 6.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior 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 has been desperate to produce results in Texas for a very long time
[TWO years ago] Buffy goes Clear, and other signs that Scientology has survived the coronavirus
[THREE years ago] While Scientology shrinks, its ‘Ideal Orgs’ pretend they are booming
[FOUR years ago] The trauma of leaving Scientology: ‘Who wants to believe they’ve thrown away their best years?’
[FIVE years ago] Marty Rathbun’s project becomes clear: Someone’s worried about Scientology & the IRS
[SIX years ago] Our money maverick dives into Scientology’s latest financial house of horrors
[SEVEN years ago] O Canada! All eyes in the Scientology-watching world will be looking north next week
[EIGHT years ago] LEAKED: The slick campaign Scientology had planned for UK expansion!
[NINE years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: When David Miscavige Made RTC Look Like The Matrix


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 2,697 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,202 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,752 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,742 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,633 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,939 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,808 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,582 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,913 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,386 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,702 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,268 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,187 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,355 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,935 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,197 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,233 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,948 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,473 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 828 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,003 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,554 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,703 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,023 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,878 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,997 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,353 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,656 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,762 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,160 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,036 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,619 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,114 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,368 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,477 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 16, 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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