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Scientology will try to derail new labor trafficking lawsuit with ‘arbitration’ strategy

[Plaintiff Valeska Paris and the Freewinds]

Scientology is still several days away from its deadline to make its first answer to the major new labor trafficking lawsuit that was filed against the church in April, but in a new court document, Scientology’s attorneys have revealed that they will be using their favorite strategy to try and derail the case. That is, “religious arbitration.”

According to a document filed by both sides in the case yesterday, Scientology will be filing a motion to compel arbitration and end this case before it really gets going, just as they have in each of the lawsuits filed by former Scientologists since 2013.

The labor trafficking lawsuit was filed April 28 by Valeska Paris, as well as two other Australian former members of Scientology’s Sea Org, Gawain and Laura Baxter. All three allege that they were subject to abuse as child members of the paramilitary organization, which requires billion-year contracts and around the clock labor for 365 days a year, and at pennies an hour.

Valeska also alleged that she had been sexually assaulted by some of her fellow Sea Org workers, and was then punished when she dared to speak up about it.

Because Valeska and the Baxters had served in the Sea Org in the 1990s and early 2000s, we wondered if Scientology would be able to find contracts that they had signed from that time period with arbitration clauses. And when Scientology asked for, and received, more time to answer the lawsuit (on July 12), we figured they were using the time to dive into their records looking for such contracts.


Now, apparently, Scientology believes it has found such contracts and will argue that Valeska and the Baxters are obliged by the contracts they signed to take any dispute to its internal brand of “religious arbitration,” and will ask Tampa federal Judge Thomas P. Barber to deny them right to trial.

That strategy has derailed three previous lawsuits filed by former Scientologists: The fraud lawsuit filed in 2013 by Luis and Rocio Garcia, the 2019 kidnapping and harassment lawsuit filed by Valerie Haney, and the 2019 harassment lawsuit filed by the Danny Masterson rape accusers.

In January, a California appeals court overturned the arbitration ruling in the lawsuit filed by the Masterson accusers on the basis that the harm they allege — a campaign of stalking by the church — occurred after they had left the church, so the contracts they signed as Scientologists no longer apply. So that lawsuit has been revived, but is currently on hold as Masterson’s criminal rape case is scheduled to go to trial on October 11.

Valerie Haney made numerous attempts to get her arbitration ruling overturned, to no avail. And now she’s facing the prospect of going through the difficult process of selecting arbitrators. She has proposed actress Elisabeth Moss as an arbitrator, and we’re waiting to hear how Scientology responds to her (we suspect they will simply tell Valerie that Moss is unavailable). Judge Gail Killefer has set a new court hearing of February 2, expecting the arbitration to be completed by then.

The 2013 Garcia example is especially important for the lawsuit filed by Valeska and the Baxters because it took place literally in the same Tampa courtroom. And that court, the federal district court in Tampa, not only upheld the ruling that derailed the Garcia’s lawsuit for arbitration, but it was also upheld by the Eleventh Circuit when the Garcias appealed.

Based on these previous cases, what we expect is that Scientology next week will file a motion claiming that Valeska and the Baxters signed service contracts as Scientologists which obliged them to take any dispute to its own brand of arbitration (and not the independent arbitration you may be familiar with). Scientology will argue that such contracts are still in force, even decades after the matter at dispute, and whether or not Valeska and the Baxters are Scientologists today.

In yesterday’s joint filing, Neil Glazer, attorney for Valeska and the Baxters, indicated that they had asked for arbitration “discovery” to occur before they would have to file an opposition to the motion. In other words, they want to depose Scientology officials and do other investigation to make sure Scientology really has the evidence it claims before answering the motion. But Scientology argues that it’s the other way around, and the plaintiffs must file their opposition before they get a shot at discovery. We’ll see what the judge says about that next week, apparently.

As we pointed out just yesterday in regards to Valerie Haney’s lawsuit, it’s very important to understand that Scientology’s “arbitration” is nothing like the kind of independent arbitration that you might have gone through if you ever had to settle a claim with a doctor or a roofer or an employer. In that sort of arbitration, a retired judge or other person is selected by both sides to be the arbitrator, and that person listens to evidence on both sides and renders a verdict from a neutral position. Handling things this way saves the court system a lot of time and money, and that’s why judges are so anxious to divert cases to arbitration in order to lighten their caseloads.

Scientology’s arbitration is completely different. First of all, founder L. Ron Hubbard never described rules for arbitration, and Scientology is built on the premise that everything must come from Hubbard, who is known as “Source.” So under Hubbard’s successor, David Miscavige, a jackleg set of procedures has been cobbled together from the rules for Scientology “committees of evidence,” which is something like a court martial. (Hubbard was a Navy man in WW2.) Adapting those “CommEv” rules, Scientology arbitration takes place with a panel of three arbitrators, who must all be members in good standing.

This has been one of the chief objections raised by former Scientologists suing the church. They know that simply by filing a lawsuit they will be declared “Suppressive Persons,” which is Scientology’s way of labeling someone an enemy of the church. There’s no way, these former members say, that a panel of three Scientologists in good standing would ever hear a case fairly that involves an “SP.”

But judges, and particularly in Tampa, have decided that the contracts not only oblige former Scientologists to submit to a process in a church they no longer belong to, but that Scientology gets to set all of the rules and procedures for it, and the court is powerless to interfere without trampling on Scientology’s “religious rights.”

Scientology is hoping it can pull this off again, and end the Paris-Baxter lawsuit before it starts. Next week, we’ll see what sort of evidence they claim to have to make that happen.



Bonus items from our tipsters

Dublin is rocking!



Now available: Bonus for our supporters

Episode 2 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers, and it’s a doozy: Claire Headley talks to us about the way she called out Tom Cruise on Facebook recently, and describes her interactions with him in surprising new detail, as well as revelations about Tom that came directly from David Miscavige! Meanwhile, we’ve made episode 1 available to everyone, it’s Marc Headley on what it must be like for Miscavige living in Clearwater, Florida. It’s Marc at his most irrepressible! Go here to get the episodes!


Source Code

“I remember one time I was arrested by mistake. They do that in the United States every once in a while. Somebody wanted me as a witness. They wanted me as a witness in a bankruptcy case of some kind, and I was just a witness, innocent bystander – factually an innocent bystander, but I must have had something about that particular area in some past life because the next thing I knew why the cops rushed in you know and practically shot everybody down and grabbed me and took me off and held me very carefully so that they would have this witness for this case. And I said to ‘em, ‘Don’t you think this is sort of unfair?’ And they didn’t pay any attention to that. So I got kind of mean, in my own inimical mean way. And when I finally appeared on the witness stand, I had the prosecuting attorney and the attorney for defense arguing with the judge that I shouldn’t be required to be held more than the next 15 or 20 minutes anyway because they wanted to help me. The judge helped me too. That was the end. I sat down and gave some testimony. I said, ‘Well I don’t know anything about it. I was hardly there.’ And that was it. Boom.” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 7, 1960



Avast, Ye Mateys

“MARY SUE HUBBARD is assigned Power as a student, 2nd week running, with 441 points. She also got 100 percent on her Exam. DIANA HUBBARD having gotten 100 points is upgraded to Emergency as a student. KEN URQUHART, with only 10 points, is assigned Non Existence as a student. The Class in general is doing well on Dianetics, will soon complete, and be ready to audit. When so qualified they go onto VI or VIII as eligible.” — The Commodore, July 7, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I had an OT 2 win regarding postulates. It was not something I had expected to happen at that level, but it did. One time, I needed to have my stove repaired. I called the gas company and was told that the repairman would arrive sometime between 7:00 a.m. and noon on the following day. I decided that the time would be 9:00 a.m. The repairman arrived and as he was standing in front of my stove, about to begin working on it, the time piece in his pocket rang. He took it out of his pocket, looked at it, turned to me and said, ‘9 o’clock exactly.’ Coincidence? Possibly. I told this win to a Sea Org member, and she, with a snotty manner, asked me why I couldn’t postulate getting my Bridge paid for. It crossed my mind that perhaps I was reluctant to give much money to a fascist, totalitarian organization.”


Past is Prologue

1997: The St. Petersburg Times published two articles on Scientology’s plans for the new Super Power building, and the reaction of Clearwater residents to the plan. “Anyone who thought the Church of Scientology had no further designs on downtown Clearwater got a wake-up call last week. Scientology has shown it is capable of altering the Clearwater skyline. So what is to stop Scientology from co-opting downtown altogether? A major downtown expansion project by the Church of Scientology is expected to develop quickly, and there are new indications the church is trying to buy more land downtown. Several downtown landowners disclosed Friday that they have been approached recently by a businessman wanting to buy properties along Court and Franklin streets.”



Random Howdy

“Hubbard said that Mohammed was a hustler and a ‘small town booster’ and that the ‘Black Stone’ was a piece of the R6 implant.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: 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.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place, next status hearing October 25.
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] News from Texas reminds us of a legendary fight against Scientology’s goon squad
[TWO years ago] PPP small-business coronavirus bailout loans went to Scientology and Narconon centers
[THREE years ago] How Scientology treats a member in real need strains the notion of the word ‘church’
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s messiah? ‘Hubbard believed he was as great as Jesus, Buddha, & Mohammed’
[FIVE years ago] The Scientology lecture in which L. Ron Hubbard revealed the true name of our Earth society
[SIX years ago] The Church of Intimidation: Scientology stalks another ex-member on the taxpayer dime
[SEVEN years ago] Monique Rathbun: Hey, Texas court, here’s something to chew on
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology tries to psych out Florida — and Chill EB is back!
[NINE years ago] Alanna Masterson’s Dad Calls Connor Cruise “Worst Person in the World” for Her to Date
[TEN years ago] No Memorial Service for Scientology President’s Son? ‘So Despicable, It’s Almost Beyond Words’
[ELEVEN years ago] ‘Inside Scientology’: Janet Reitman’s Book Tour Starts Off With a Scientologist Challenging Her


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 2,718 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,223 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,773 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,763 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,654 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,959 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,829 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,603 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,934 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,407 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,723 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,289 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,208 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,376 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,956 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,218 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,254 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,969 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,494 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 849 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,024 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,575 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,724 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,044 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,899 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,018 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,374 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,677 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,783 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,181 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,057 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,640 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,135 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,389 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,498 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 7, 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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