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Court agrees to issue summons for Scientology leader David Miscavige in trafficking lawsuit

[Playing keepaway: David Miscavige in 2017, photo from his own website]

Tampa federal Judge Thomas Barber has agreed that Scientology leader David Miscavige has been evading service in a major new labor trafficking lawsuit that was filed in April, and he has given the plaintiffs a court summons they were asking for.

The plaintiffs — three residents of Australia who were longtime members of Scientology’s ‘Sea Org’ — have also asked for more time to find Miscavige, now that they have the summons and will be working with Florida’s Secretary of State’s office to notify the reclusive church leader that he’s a defendant in a lawsuit.

The lawsuit was first filed on April 28 by Valeska Paris and a married couple, Gawain and Laura Baxter, who 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.

The lawsuit named six defendants — five Scientology institutional organizations, and one person, David Miscavige. The five institutional defendants accepted service without a fuss, and have now filed motions trying to force the case into Scientology’s “religious arbitration,” based on the idea that Valeska and the Baxters signed contracts as adults which obliged them not to sue Scientology but to submit to its internal justice procedures.

Miscavige, however, has not been served, and the plaintiffs have complained to the court that they have made repeated attempts to find the church leader at his homes and offices only to be stopped by uncooperative Scientology security guards. After the latest round of failures to serve Miscavige, the plaintiffs asked the court to issue a summons.


Judge Barber has now signed their proposed order, which means the court is endorsing the assertion that Miscavige is purposely avoiding process servers.

The court finds Plaintiffs’ allegations sufficient to allege concealment by Miscavige. Plaintiffs allege that they expended significant efforts to locate Miscavige, including employing a private investigation firm, conducting public records database searches, and contacting individuals affiliated with Defendants. Plaintiffs also allege that they have made at least 14 attempts to personally serve Miscavige at various addresses and were unsuccessful each time. Plaintiffs further allege that Miscavige has taken affirmative steps to conceal his whereabouts and avoid service, including by directing security personnel at his residence and place of business to prevent Plaintiffs’ process servers from effectuating service. Finally, Plaintiffs allege that Miscavige and his agents have refused delivery of four requests to waive service. Based on these allegations, the court finds that Plaintiffs have met the requirements for substitute service.

If you remember, the plaintiffs had previously asked for more time to serve Miscavige, and had asked for a deadline of October 26. Judge Barber gave them until September 12, which is today. Now, in a new motion, the plaintiffs are asking for additional time to complete the substitute service that the court has granted them. They need more time, they say, in order to go through these steps:

(1) service of the summons and First Amended Complaint upon the Secretary of State; (2) mailing notice to Miscavige that Plaintiffs have effectuated substituted service, with copies of the amended summons and the First Amended Complaint; and (3) filing a certification of compliance with the statute’s procedures and return receipts from the U.S. Postal Service. The certification must be filed “on or before the return date of the process or within such time as the court allows . . .” The return date of a summons is twenty-one days from service. While Plaintiffs believe the statutory process can be completed by the return date, the current deadline for serving the Defendant is September 12, 2022. Plaintiffs respectfully submit that a four-week extension of the deadline, to October 10, 2022, is an appropriate period that will allow one week for issuance of the summons and service upon the Secretary of State, and the subsequent twenty-one-day period to the return date for the U.S.P.S. to attempt delivery of the notices and for Plaintiffs to certify compliance after receiving the Postal Service confirmations.

That certainly sounds reasonable. And perhaps, by October 10, David Miscavige will finally be an official defendant in a lawsuit again. (He avoided being served in the lawsuits filed in 2019 by Valerie Haney and by Danny Masterson’s accusers.)

We are looking forward to seeing which of his favorite attorneys David Miscavige will send to court to whine about all of this.

Riffer? Deixler? Lieberman? Wally? Maybe we ought to set up a betting pool.


Technology Cocktail

“The atomic bomb was wholly feasible more than a decade before it was ‘developed.’ No one credited it and no one put up the cash. The radio telephone was invented and demonstrated half a century before it was generally used. Cultural lag occurs for many reasons. In any field as retarded as the human sciences the emergence of Dianetics and Scientology, full and workable and complete, is startling. And thereby subject to disbelief. This does not mean they aren’t used and useful. It is significant that hundreds of aerospace technicians, working with satellites and rocketry, broadly used Scientology first. At the same time parliaments in some socially backward countries were busy passing laws against Scientology to protect their psychiatrists whose medieval approach was to seize people without any process of law and castrate them and saw out brains as a “cure” for mental illness. In a world where governments are fighting to dominate men’s minds, mental technology is needed to protect the individual and to prevent the enslavement of all. So Dianetics and Scientology may be a century ahead of their times but still they are just in time before we all go up in smoke.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1969


Now available: Bonus for our supporters


Episode 12 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers: You may have read our book about Scientology’s insane attempts to try and destroy journalist Paulette Cooper, but we had a delightful conversation with her about her own memoir. Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 11 available to everyone, with such guests as Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan, Jefferson Hawkins, Patty Moher, Geoff Levin, Pete Griffiths, Sunny Pereira, Bruce Hines, Jeffrey Augustine, and Claire Headley. Go here to get the episodes!


Source Code

“As you look over the history of Dianetics and Scientology you’ll see a cycle is in operation. We get more and more complicated, more and more complicated, more and more complicated and then suddenly we get to a new, higher level of simplicity. And then this simplicity gets complicated and more complicated and more complicated and then we get to a new, higher level of simplicity. That’s just a history of me outguessing you.” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 12, 1961


Avast, Ye Mateys

“DAVID MURDOCK McBRIDE is assigned to Div IV as deckhand. He is to be grooved in on his post by John Wilson. His buddy is Arthur Hubbard. DAVID LEE FARRELL is assigned to Division III as to be Stores In Training. He is to be grooved in by Jay Hurwitz. His buddy is Paul Preston. DEKKI LE MOATE is assigned to Org Bureau Mimeo Files to be grooved in by Mimeo I/C R. Stone. Her buddy is Liz Ausley. HUGH HARRISON is assigned to Div III, Steward. He is to be grooved in by Linda Cusworth. His buddy is Bertie van Hoecke. ROBERT WILLIAMSON is assigned to Org Bu Mimeo Files. He is to be grooved in by Mimeo I/C R. Stone. His buddy is changed to David Ziff. RON STRAUS is assigned to Mimeo Files. He is to be grooved in by Mimeo I/C R. STone. His buddy is Ens. Des Popham.” — The Commodore, September 12, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The world is going mad more than ever. The dwindling spiral is speeding up. ‘Reasonableness’ says: oh, no, it’s all fine. (Of course, they want you to succumb with them.) Well, it’s not all fine, at all. You see it everyday. We were given the greatest of the greatest gift, The Technology, the Observations of a man who knew how to observe and he wrote it all down. We are all brothers in arms now and there is a Call to Arms now more than ever. Is this Technology going to be passed on to the children of this world or is it all gonna be AI (Automaticity)? We know better than anyone of Automaticity. So, this is a Call to Arms and no one is exempted. We should all be united. Enough with divide & conquer. Who’s gonna Unite us? LRH Admin Tech. The Big Missing Factor in the Freezone.”



Past is Prologue

2001: In the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC this week a number of emails distributed to Scientologists described efforts to distribute The Way to Happiness by L. Ron Hubbard in New York, as well as other responses to the crisis. In addition, Scientologists are attempting to interfere with mental health professionals there to assist victims and their families. “From: Darlene K. Swanson: This is what is needed: Encourage everyone to come to Flag for their next service since this will help destimulate a very restimulated country and bring in more theta. People who are willing to go to New York to give assists and whatever else is needed. Donations are needed to cover air fares, buses, T-shirts etc. Donations should be given to Bennetta Slaughter. It would be a tax deductible donation to the Gung Ho Groups. A blood drive is being set up for tomorrow morning either outside the FH or in the Sandcastle area. Need donations of Way to Happiness booklets. These can be dropped off at the FH….FROM: Karen Scott, Fri, 14 Sep 2001…Additionally we are trying to move in and knock the psychs out of counseling to the grieving families and that could take another 100 plus people right now. Due to some brilliant maneuvering by some simply genius Sea Org Members we tied up the majority of the psychs who were attempting to get to families yesterday in Q&A, bullbait and wrangling. They have a hard time completing cycles of action and are pretty easy to disperse. But today they are out in full force and circling like vultures over these people and all of our resources are tied up in the support efforts in the disaster zone at present.”


Random Howdy

“The trick for recognizing an Aussie accent is that they always sound like they’re asking a question.”


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: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Arraigned on August 29.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.

Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for October 24 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] Scientology’s new campaign to get you to sign its billion-year contract is here!
[TWO years ago] RIFFER: David Miscavige too busy saving Scientology from Covid to be served lawsuit
[THREE years ago] Hey, kids! It’s open mic night at your local Scientology spaceport!
[FOUR years ago] FLORIDA IS IDEAL: Scientology ushers in glorious new civilization in country’s wang
[FIVE years ago] Tonight on ‘Leah Remini’: Two witnesses detail David Miscavige’s ruthless Scientology takeover
[SIX years ago] Steve Cannane’s Oz-flavored Scientology history ‘Fair Game’ gets a UK-US-Canada publisher
[SEVEN years ago] ‘Going Clear’ wins Outstanding Documentary Emmy, also for writing, directing
[EIGHT years ago] Escaping from a Scientology drug rehab center: A transcript
[NINE years ago] MONIQUE RATHBUN’S TESTIMONY: Day One Finishes in Her Temporary Injunction Hearing
[TEN years ago] Scientology Chooses an Odd Time to Open a “National Affairs” Office in DC
[ELEVEN years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 9: Jason Beghe


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 2,785 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,290 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,840 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,830 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,721 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,026 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,896 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,001 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,474 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,790 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,356 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,275 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,443 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,023 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,285 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,321 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,036 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,601 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 916 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,091 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,642 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,773 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,111 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,966 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,085 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,441 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,744 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,850 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,248 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,124 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,707 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,202 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,456 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,565 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 12, 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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