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Here are Scientology’s new motions to force arbitration in the Valeska Paris case

Once again, Scientology has filed its motions asking a federal court in Tampa to derail a major new labor trafficking lawsuit against the church by forcing it into Scientology’s own brand of “religious arbitration.”

The lawsuit was first filed on April 28 by three residents of Australia who were longtime members of Scientology’s “Sea Organization” and served on its floating cathedral, the Freewinds, which sails the Caribbean. The three plaintiffs, Valeska Paris and a married couple, Gawain and Laura Baxter, allege that they had been forced into the Sea Org as children, suffered neglect and harsh punishments as children and adults, and served as virtual prisoners aboard the ship. Valeska also alleged that she had been sexually assaulted by other Sea Org workers, and then had been punished for speaking up about it.

In July, the Scientology subsidiaries named in the lawsuit responded by filing motions to compel arbitration, a strategy that has largely been a successful one for the church in recent years. The church says that Valeska and the Baxters had signed contracts between 2003 and 2015 that obliged them not to sue but to take their grievances to Scientology’s internal form of arbitration. The church’s filings largely ignored the allegations of neglect and abuse that the lawsuit made, and argued that a contract was a contract and these former Sea Org workers can’t sue.

Instead of responding to Scientology’s motions, the plaintiffs decided to submit a new, amended complaint on August 2, growing the lawsuit from 90 to 120 pages. We provided readers a copy of the new complaint with the added material highlighted, which were mostly additional details of the horrific treatment these former Sea Org workers had been through.


When we posted that amended complaint, we pointed out that we weren’t sure how the added pages detailing that mistreatment would help address the arguments that Scientology was making in its motions to compel arbitration.

And now, Scientology has submitted new versions of those motions, and they are very similar to what they had submitted before.

Scientology, in other words, continues to ignore the stories of abuse and mistreatment and insists that this is merely a contract dispute.

Plaintiffs each served for over a decade as members of the Sea Organization, a religious order within the Scientology religion, and time and again they agreed to submit “any” disputes they might have regarding such service to Scientology internal ethics and justice procedures, up to and including binding religious arbitration. They executed those agreements to arbitrate under Scientology ecclesiastical law and justice procedures and to waive civil recourse as an express condition for serving as members in Scientology’s religious order.

The Flag Ship Service Organization (FSSO), the Scientology entity that operates the Freewinds and one of six defendants named in the lawsuit, says it located contracts signed by Gawain Baxter (2003), his wife Laura Baxter (2004), and Valeska Paris (2003) that all contained the binding arbitration language. FSSO also points to a 2013 lawsuit filed by Luis and Rocio Garcia in the very same Tampa courtroom, which was forced into arbitration. And this case is even stronger, Scientology says, because the Garcias were only public parishioners, but Valeska and the Baxters were dedicated members of the Sea Org, its “religious order.”

Another Scientology defendant, the Flag Service Organization (FSO), which runs the Flag Land Base, Scientology’s spiritual mecca in Clearwater, Florida, filed a similar motion to compel arbitration. Besides FSO and FSSO, the other three institutional defendants are the Religious Technology Center (RTC), Church of Scientology International (CSI), and the IAS Administration (IASA). CSI filed its own motion to dismiss, saying that it is a California corporation and does not operate the Freewinds, where the allegations took place. IASA similarly filed a motion to dismiss saying that it is a Delaware corporation and should not be included in the Florida lawsuit. And RTC also claims that it is a California corporation and should not be included. (Scientology always pulls this alphabet soup defense when it suits them.)

Maybe the most interesting difference between the last set of Scientology motions and this one was that there was, in a footnote, a response to the amended complaint’s claim that Scientology leader David Miscavige is evading service since being named a defendant in the case.

Here’s the footnote, in RTC’s motion to dismiss:

Plaintiffs allege that Mr. Miscavige concealed his whereabouts to evade service…and that RTC, through counsel, or some unnamed staff, have impeded Plaintiffs’ efforts to serve Defendant Miscavige. These false allegations are a baseless attempt to malign RTC and its Chairman based upon Plaintiffs’ own failures to effect service of process properly and are Plaintiffs’ attempt to lay the groundwork for pursuing substitute service on Mr. Miscavige through the Florida Secretary of State. The Court should reject Plaintiffs’ contrived efforts to circumvent proper service requirements, or to lay blame at RTC’s door. Neither RTC nor its counsel, nor any other Corporate Defendant or third party for that matter, has any obligation to assist or facilitate Plaintiffs’ efforts to perfect service on another defendant and declining to provide such assistance is not tantamount to impeding service. Plaintiffs alone bear the burden to perfect service of process. If unable to serve through good faith efforts during the allotted period, Plaintiffs have no one but themselves to blame.

In other words, it’s your own fault you can’t find our diminutive leader behind the layers of the security we keep around him at all times. Nyah, nyah.

Here are the documents themselves. You’ll see that Scientology always acts shocked, shocked, that anyone would suggest that David Miscavige is really in charge of everything that Scientology’s subsidiaries do, when those subsidiaries are, in fact, responsible, independent corporations that have nothing to do the abuse that might be alleged by misguided former members. Perish the thought.

FSSO’s motion to compel arbitration
FSO’s motion to compel arbitration

RTC’s motion to dismiss

CSI’s motion to dismiss
IASA’s motion to dismiss


Finally! Taking a name OFF of the disconnection list

Yesterday’s podcast episode with Carol Nyburg contained a huge surprise: After eight years of separation caused by Scientology’s notorious “disconnection” policy, she has been reunited with her daughter, who has left the church.

We first added the list of names to the end of our stories in 2017, after feeling the exasperation of seeing Bernie Headley battling cancer and still being kept from his daughter by this cruel organization that calls itself a church. (Bernie died in 2019 without ever seeing his daughter in person again. We maintain the list in part as a tribute to him.)


Scientology’s disconnection is so pernicious, it is exceedingly rare for someone to leave our list. The last time we got to write a reunion story was in 2014, more than eight years ago.

If you listened to the podcast, you could hear how stunned we were to hear Carol’s wonderful news. We genuinely did not know it was coming. And we’re thrilled that she is now, as she says, surrounded by grandbabies and so much love.

The podcast was the third episode in our special limited series about a TV series that was put together about Scientology in 2016 but never aired. We are producing the series as a special thank-you to our paid subscribers, who have been so generous to us. We have other podcast episodes for unpaid subscribers that can be found here.



Now available: Bonus for our supporters

Episode 9 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers, and Marc Headley returns to explain why he took the trouble to submit a lengthy response to a Scientologist’s nutty YouTube video. Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 8 available to everyone, with Patty Moher on her career as a Scientology spy, Geoff Levin on Scientology’s celebrities, Pete Griffiths on running a mission, Sunny Pereira dishing secrets of Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre, 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

“Anybody says to you, ‘Well, Scientology is weird because it believes in past lives,’ why, I look at them rather oddly and say, ‘Aren’t you familiar with the subject of psychotherapy?’ Be mean, you know. And they say, ‘Well, yes. Oh, yes. I’m a professor of Uptygup, you know.’ And say, ‘Well, why is it that you didn’t know that one of the primary branches of psychoanalysis and so forth — that of Professor Jung — believed implicitly in returns to druidism? See, we’re not being new at all’.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 25, 1966


Avast, Ye Mateys

“We had a rather splendid cruise. Summer sea and a water glass. The Cons did great. I had to ballast her bow down a trifle — 2 tons then 10 tons of fresh water into the deep tank. And I had to pull her nose back out of the waves once (to stop pitching you come away from the waves, not further into it). But that was very little to do. You notice its smoother when I’m up than when I’m turned in, still. The landfall and docking was excellent. If you close your window fully you can’t hear the bulldozer on the dock. Your vent gives plenty of air.” — The Commodore, August 25, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone


“There is no such thing as a personal first dynamic state of OT. I have seen many people in Scientology who want personal power. A self that wants to preserve itself is doomed. The ‘I’ that wants to be ‘OT’ is an aberration. Scientology will not succeed until it starts working from the top down rather than from the bottom up. First dynamic oriented beings will never create a brighter future.”


Past is Prologue

1997: Martin Hunt and Tilman Hausherr reported that Scientology is planning a large march on Berlin, to protest alleged human rights violations. “In a recent event, they said they need to ‘terminatedly handle’ the ‘situation’ in Germany by staging a mass crusade in Berlin, something like the Portland Crusade. The cult hopes to attract 25,000 people. The date is set for the day after the IAS Int Day on October 7th: October 8th, 1997. They also plan to flood the market with 6,000,000 Freedom Magazines. 10,000 IAS members will be flying into Berlin from all over the world on October 6th to protest Germany’s suppression of Scientology. The trip package costs $5000 and each member will get a pin from DM, himself, at AOSH UK, before flying on to Berlin. Jentzsch, Travolta, Corea, Archer, the Head of NAACP, etc. will be coming.”


Random Howdy

“At first I thought you were funnin’ me but I hearsayed it and you’re right.”


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, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2.
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] Tom Cruise’s Scientology superpowers, No. 7: Pulling in objects with tractor beams
[TWO years ago] Leah Remini podcast: Scientology’s atrocious ‘Fair Game’ campaign against Mike Rinder
[THREE years ago] If Scientology’s Ideal Org grand openings are on hold, fundraising steams ahead
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s new ‘STAND’ front unleashes bot army on Twitter — and gets zapped
[SIX years ago] Steven Mango, who appears in Theroux film, calls police to Scientology facility over assault
[SEVEN years ago] Stop worrying about ISIS and Syria and Iraq — Scientology’s got this, people
[EIGHT years ago] Chris Shelton explains why Scientology is in a management death spiral
[NINE years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: The All-Video Version!
[ELEVEN years ago] Russell Brand Performs Wedding Ceremony For Outspoken Former Scientologists


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 2,767 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,272 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,822 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,812 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,703 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,008 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,878 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,983 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,456 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,772 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,338 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,257 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,425 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,005 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,267 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,303 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,018 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,543 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 898 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,073 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,624 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,755 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,093 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,948 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,067 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,423 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,726 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,832 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,230 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,106 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,689 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,184 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,438 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,547 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 25, 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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