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Danny Masterson’s victims strike back at Scientology’s attempt to gut their lawsuit

[Attorney John Kucera and Danny Masterson]

We have a couple of legal developments for you this morning. First, in the Bixler lawsuit, the plaintiffs have answered Scientology’s motion to strike.

The Bixler lawsuit is the one filed in 2019 by Danny Masterson’s victims against both Scientology and the That ’70s Show actor for a campaign of harassment the women say they’ve been enduring since they came forward with their allegations to the LAPD in 2016.

The lawsuit was on hold during Masterson’s criminal trials, and now that he’s been convicted and sentenced to 30 years to life in prison, the lawsuit started up again.

But Scientology then filed a motion to strike, asking the court to gut the case by making a couple of objections. First, that some of the material in the lawsuit regards things that happened while the Jane Does were still in Scientology. The appellate court that earlier revived this lawsuit said that it could proceed because the allegations of stalking and harassment have all occurred since the women left the church. Because that’s the case, Scientology argues, then the sections of the lawsuit that refer to what the women went through earlier should be taken out.


Secondly, Scientology is unhappy that the lawsuit makes references to its “Fair Game” policies, alleging that the church retaliates against people who leave the organization and speak out about it or, in this case, go to law enforcement. Scientology denies that it has a Fair Game policy, but it also argues that any discussion of its internal policies is not something a civil court can consider, and it wants the material pulled out.

Now, attorneys for the plaintiffs, John Kucera and Seth Lehrman, have submitted a calm and logical reply to Scientology’s motion.

They point out that one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Bobette Riales, was never a Scientologist, and she’s alleging all of the same causes of action as the others. So it’s pointless to try and pull out material related to when the others were Scientologists, because all of them are included in the lawsuit. And besides, what occurred when the Jane Does were Scientologists is relevant to what happened to them later when they went to the police.

Defendants now ask the Court to strike allegations dating from times in which some Plaintiffs were Scientologists on the basis that those allegations are irrelevant to all Plaintiffs’ causes of action, which arise out of the harassment campaign that Defendants inflicted on Plaintiffs. But, as this Court already held in denying a similar motion to strike filed by Defendant Masterson, Plaintiffs’ allegations from the period prior to the initiation of the harassment campaign are relevant to Plaintiffs’ causes of action because they explain “why Masterson and the other Defendants began to allegedly stalk and torment the Plaintiffs.”

As for Scientology taking offense to the references to Fair Game and other church policies, Kucera and Lehrman argue that Scientology’s behavior is relevant, whether or not one considers it a church.

What is relevant, however, is whether Defendants promulgated and enforced Fair Game and related policies, but those are factual questions, not religious ones. Whether Defendants promulgated and enforced Fair Game and related policies because of religious beliefs, in spite of religious beliefs, or without regard to religious beliefs is immaterial.

And as a more general principle, Scientology’s argument that its internal policies can’t be the subject of a lawsuit just isn’t supported by case law.

Defendants effectively argue that a religious organization can implement and enforce any policy it wants, and that civil plaintiffs can never allege that they were harmed by the implementation and enforcement of that policy. Unsurprisingly, this argument is foreclosed by controlling precedent.

They then cite a number of relevant cases which establish that while belief is protected, conduct is not.

“Plaintiffs do not challenge Defendants’ religious beliefs, but rather their conduct in promulgating and enforcing Fair Game and other policies,” they write.

Then, at the end, they make reference to their plans to file a new amended complaint, and point out that some of the things Scientology is complaining about are going to be left out of the new version of the lawsuit anyway.

(You’ll remember that previously, we had said it seemed odd that Scientology was spending so much time carping about a lawsuit that even they acknowledged was about to be superseded.)

So yes, that’s confirmation that the new amended complaint is coming, and that it will be substantially different than what was filed back in 2020 by the original team of attorneys from Philadelphia who first represented the Jane Does.

Judging by the skillful and calm way this filing was written (as opposed to Scientology’s hyperventilating) it suggests to us that the Jane Does are now in good hands. And the hearing on Scientology’s motion to strike is coming up fast: It’s scheduled for November 22.


Meanwhile, in Jane Doe 1’s forced-marriage lawsuit, the court has agreed to a December 13 hearing to consider her request for limited discovery while the lawsuit is on hold. Previously, Judge Robert Broadbelt had granted Scientology’s motion to put the case on ice until February, when the church’s motion to force the case into arbitration will be held.

Jane Doe 1’s team is asking for the right to investigate the 2002 contract that Scientology says obliges Jane Doe 1 to submit to “religious arbitration” and derail her lawsuit.


Technology Cocktail

“There’s a thetan, there’s a Time Track. The thetan gets caught in the Time Track. The job of the auditor is to free the thetan by digging him out of his Time Track. So if you can’t handle what you’re digging a thetan out of, you’re going to have an awful lot of landslides and a lot of auditing loses for both you and preclears.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1963



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 as Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?


[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis [17] Bruce Hines on MSH

— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see

[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— The first Danny Masterson trial and beyond

[18] Trial special with Chris Shelton [19] Trial week one [20] Marc Headley on the spy in the hallway [21] Trial week two [22] Trial week three [23] Trial week four [24] Leah Remini on LAPD Corruption [25] Mike Rinder 2022 Thanksgiving Special [26] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part One [27] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part Two [28] Claire Headley on the trial [29] Tory Christman [30] Bruce Hines on spying [31] Karen de la Carriere [32] Ron Miscavige on Shelly Miscavige [33] Karen de la Carriere on the L’s [34] Mark Bunker on Miscavige hiding [35] Mark Plummer [36] Mark Ebner [37] Karen Pressley [38] Steve Cannane [39] Fredrick Brennan [40] Clarissa Adams [41] Louise Shekter [42] John Sweeney [43] Tory Christman [44] Kate Bornstein [45] Christian Stolte [46] Mark Bunker [47] Jon Atack [48] Luke Y. Thompson [49] Mark Ebner [50] Bruce Hines [51] Spanky Taylor and Karen Pressley [51] Geoff and Robbie Levin [52] Sands Hall [53] Jonny Jacobsen [54] Sandy Holeman


Source Code

“Every man there is, is a universe. You talk about God: The most you will know about God for probably a long time to come is you. If you want to know what God is all about, or if you want to know what you’re all about, you want to know what the fourth dynamic is all about, you consult the essential elements of ‘you-ness.’ Not buried, unconscious, submotivated, libido-icated, bypassed symbolizations of the left hind ruddy rod, which we therefore graph and say, ‘It’s all mysterious and you can’t understand you, so therefore we can own you.’ We’re not running that operation.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 10, 1952


Avast, Ye Mateys

“We may or may not have been responsible for the demise of the scandal sheet l’Opinion which was suddenly shot down and seized, statedly because it had printed adverse materials on corruption in the government. This was a vehicle used by MI-6 (British Intelligence), and CIA, the US agency that specializes in false reports. We have clashed with l’Opinion a few times in the past and have generally gotten the better of them. We were about to clash with them again but why bother with a dead body. The other newspapers in that area have now been nationalized and the former company which ran them has been bought out or pushed out by the government.” — The Commodore, November 10, 1971



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Scientology’s infinite theta journey is the road to infinity which goes nowhere except the in-between lives Saturnian implant station which no one remembers because they didn’t download those pictures into your mind. I wonder if they’re trying to hide something.”


Past is Prologue

1999: Stacy Brooks reported some of the dirty tricks being used against the new Lisa McPherson Trust, attempting to establish a presence in Clearwater. “I couldn’t find an office building that would lease to us. The office manager of the SunTrust building informed me that the owner had declined to lease to us. Then the realtor for the NationsBank building told me that he got an email from the owner of that building saying that the owner had ‘decided to rethink how he wants to utilize the building.’ I told the realtor it was obvious Scientology had contacted him. He hemmed and hawed and said he’d have a final answer for me the next day. Next I tried at the Clearwater Tower building. The way that realtor refused us was to tell
me the owner had said they would have to get a release from all the other tenants in the building before they could lease to us. The owner of the AmSouth building at first told me there would be no problem leasing to us, but later changed his mind and refused. In conversation with the realtor for that building I was able to discover that Scientology had sent him a
large package of materials ‘documenting’ the dangerous nature of each of the principals in the Lisa McPherson Trust. He refused to show me the package, but he did mention that the owner wouldn’t want to lease to a ‘convicted felon.’ I told him he was being given false information by Scientology and told him the real story of the assault charge against Bob in Boston and how the charge had been thrown out by the judge.”


Random Howdy

“Past life Scientologists have to do the Basics all over again just like everybody else. Fair is fair, ya know?”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Found guilty on two counts on May 31, remanded to custody. Sentenced to 30 years to life on Sep 7.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Next pretrial hearing October 30.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, Scientology submitting anti-SLAPP response Oct 26.
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Forced to arbitration. Plaintiffs allowed interlocutory appeal to Eleventh Circuit.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Discovery phase.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Scientology moves for religious arbitration.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Ordered to mediation.



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] Prosecution in Danny Masterson trial scheduled to rest after odd turns on Wednesday
[TWO years ago] Jim Dincalci, 1946-2021: Medical officer to Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard on the high seas
[THREE years ago] Trouble in the Scientology FreeZone! Even ‘Indies’ are suing each other
[FOUR years ago] Scientology promotes its expensive propaganda TV channel one flier at a time
[FIVE years ago] Bent Corydon on Scientology’s Sunday night massacre: ‘We all clapped at the right places’
[SIX years ago] If Trump is serious, he has a clear path to go at Scientology — through his Treasury Secretary
[SEVEN years ago] L. Ron Hubbard on the run: When the Daily Mail was hounding Scientology’s founder in ’66
[EIGHT years ago] Narconon is dead, long live Narconon! How Scientology solved its drug rehab addiction
[NINE years ago] Ryan Hamilton’s next move: Consolidating his Narconon litigation into one big case
[TEN years ago] Scientology Attacks Garcia Filing; Marc Headley Schools Clearwater’s Mayor
[ELEVEN years ago] A Scientology Knockoff That Considers Children ‘Sexy’? Great Xenu’s Ghost!


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 3,209 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,724 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,274 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,264 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,145 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,449 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,320 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,425 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,872 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,214 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,780 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,699 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,866 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,448 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,709 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,745 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,461 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,025 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,340 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,515 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,066 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,197 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,535 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,390 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,509 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,865 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,168 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,274 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,672 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,548 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,113 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,626 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,880 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,989 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 10, 2023 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, 1995-2022 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2022), 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


Tony Ortega at Rolling Stone


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