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Scientology trafficking case do-over: Both sides reload in light of ‘arbitration’ motions

[Valeska Paris and the Freewinds]

There’s been an interesting shuffling of troop positions in the battle going on in a Tampa courtroom over a labor trafficking lawsuit filed against the Church of Scientology.

Just a few days ago, we told you that Scientology had filed its usual set of motions attempting to derail this new lawsuit by arguing that the plaintiffs, former Scientology employees, had signed contracts that obliged them not to sue but instead to take their grievances to Scientology’s internal “religious arbitration.” Scientology also filed motions trying to dismiss the lawsuit on grounds of jurisdiction and for failing to state a claim.

We’ve been waiting to see a response from the plaintiffs — Valeska Paris and two other Australian former Sea Org members, Gawain and Laura Baxter.

However, a new document filed yesterday reveals that after some back-and-forth between the two sides, the plaintiffs have decided to file a new amended complaint.

Now that they’ve seen how Scientology is going to attack the lawsuit, the plaintiffs have told the court they want a do-over.


As a result, Scientology has announced that all of its motions to the original complaint are moot, and so after the new complaint comes in, they’ll file a whole new set of motions to attack it.

In other words, the whole thing is starting all over again. The plaintiffs are expected to get their new complaint in by Tuesday.

Valeska and the Baxters filed the lawsuit on April 28, alleging that they had been brought up in Scientology and taken into its Sea Organization, with its billion-year contracts, as children. The original complaint details harrowing accounts of how they were neglected and abused as children in Scientology’s hardcore paramilitary organization, and then how these abuses continued when they were adults.

Valeska also alleges that she was sexually abused by fellow Sea Org workers and was punished when she dared to speak up about it.

The lawsuit alleges labor trafficking and conspiracy to commit labor trafficking and several related counts.

As we reported earlier, Scientology responded by saying that they had located multiple contracts signed by Valeska and the Baxters between 2003 and 2015 (when they were all adults) which contained the arbitration clause. Scientology didn’t even mention the allegations about the three as children, or Valeska’s sexual assault claims. This was merely a contractual situation, the church argued. Scientology also said that when the three had served on the Freewinds, Scientology’s floating cathedral, they were not in US waters, so they questioned the jurisdiction of the Tampa court.

According to a series of emails submitted in the court record, Neil Glazer, the lead attorney representing Valeska and the Baxters, asked for more time to take on the arbitration issue and the jurisdictional questions, but to leave other matters for later.

Scientology’s lead attorney, William Forman, responded that the defendants were willing to go along with a time extension, but only if the plaintiffs took on all of the motions they had filed. He pointed out, however, that if they wanted to save themselves some trouble on the jurisdictional issues, they could dismiss some of the defendants from the case, including the Church of Scientology International (CSI), Religious Technology Center (RTC), and IAS Administration (IASA).

That would leave just the two organizations that run the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida, (the Flag Service Organization, FSO), and the Flag Ship Service Organization (FSSO), which runs the Freewinds.

Well, isn’t that generous of Forman.

(Also, defendant David Miscavige, who has not been served, is not mentioned at all in this back-and-forth.)

But then, when Forman learned that Glazer’s side planned to file an amended complaint, he indicated that Scientology would simply wait and file a new set of motions then.

So, now we wait for the new version of the lawsuit, due Tuesday. We have a pretty good idea what arguments Scientology is going to use to try and derail this case like they have others. And now we’re interested to see how the plaintiffs rewrite their complaint to deal with those strategies.



Technology Cocktail

“Who or what would want to be a catfish?
Who or what would not want to be a catfish?
Who or what would oppose being a catfish?
Who or what would not oppose being a catfish?
Who or what would be a catfish?
Who or what would not be a catfish?
Who or what would oppose opposition to being a catfish?
Who or what would pull back somebody or something from being a catfish?” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1962


Now available: Bonus for our supporters

Episode 5 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers, and it’s a conversation with Sunny Pereira dishing secrets of Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre. Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 4 available to everyone, with Bruce Hines on the crazy life in the Sea Org, Jeffrey Augustine on recent Scientology court cases, Claire Headley exposing Tom Cruise, and Marc Headley on what it must be like for David Miscavige living in Clearwater, Florida. Go here to get the episodes!



Source Code

“So you’ve got the other fellow’s universe and you got the physical universe. Now, the other fellow, in his universe, can cause you problems while communicating to you through the physical universe, and the physical universe itself can cause problems, and so we can get a thing called a present time problem that doesn’t have anything to do with a mental image picture. Doesn’t have anything to do with the reactive bank, but it can restimulate the reactive bank and make it harder to solve the present time problem. But a present time problem can actually exist. That’s one of the things that auditors don’t always notice.” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 27, 1965


Avast, Ye Mateys

“CONGRATULATIONS to Bill Robertson and Nate Jessup on passing the Dianetic written examination 100 percent. Nate is the 3rd Staff student to pass the examination. Nobody on the ship part time course has taken the exam yet. You should quickly complete 3 times through the checksheet before your time expires so that if you miss out on the 100 percent you still have time to restudy and pass the exam within the 8 week period.” — Brian Livingston, July 27, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“If you love your car but can’t afford to buy the latest model, then buy some stock shares or make time to promote the car and company to others so they will consider buying it, otherwise, one not-so-fine day, you may not find your favorite brands. Please don’t let others do the hardest, most difficult work alone. Freedom and Relief is a team effort. Give. I always have, in one way or another, and I hope you will too. Give to Ron.”



Past is Prologue

1996: Kochaca Pantsleeb posted his experience from 1979 involving Scientology personnel folders. “Around 1979 I had a studio in a building and was evicted because the Church of Scientology was taking over the floor. When I arrived close to the deadline they had started to move my stuff for me and had moved some of their file cabinets in. I looked into the files and pulled out some security folders. Described was the circumstances of the departure, their current standing with the Church, and what can/should be done if the person enters the building, makes public statements, etc. Some were welcome to return, were not considered a risk. Others were to be shown the door. Others were to be shown the door physically. The more serious forms stated that if the person did anything against the Church, physical harm to the person or their home was permitted. Basically, any tactic was fair game against this final group.”


Random Howdy

“The regs do all the fluffing in Scientology, but there are no happy endings. It’s all a tease.”


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, pretrial conference August 17.
‘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, Scientology moving to compel arbitration.
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. Scientology petitioning US Supreme Court over appellate ruling.
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] A Scientology escape saga, which includes serving L. Ron Hubbard a bad meal
[TWO years ago] EXCLUSIVE: The real Tom Cruise — Leah Remini exposes Scientology’s biggest asset
[THREE years ago] When your ex is into Scientology, a custody battle can get cosmically worse
[FOUR years ago] Why did a 26-year-old ‘Clear’ kill herself at Scientology’s spiritual mecca?
[FIVE years ago] Derek Bloch on fighting Scientology ‘disconnection’ in an unaired TV series
[SIX years ago] How Scientology split up teen sweethearts who reunited more than 40 years later
[SEVEN years ago] A new look inside Scientology’s bomb-proof vaults, and a visit to Hubbard’s final rodeo
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: The Nancy Cartwright countdown to godhood edition![NINE years ago] Jon Atack: A Case of Scientology Fair Game Deflected with Disinfecting Sunlight
[TEN years ago] Scientology’s Worlds Colliding: Bert Leahy and David Edgar Love Together in Oklahoma on August 25!
[ELEVEN years ago] Tom Cruise Proves He Has a Sense of Humor, Signs Anti-Scientologist’s Guy Fawkes Mask


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 2,738 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,243 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,793 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,783 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,674 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,979 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,849 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,623 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,954 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,427 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,743 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,309 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,228 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,396 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,976 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,238 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,274 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,989 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,514 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 869 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,044 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,595 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,744 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,064 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,919 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,038 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,394 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,697 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,803 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,201 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,077 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,660 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,155 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,409 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,518 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 27, 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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