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News report says Leah Remini’s Scientology suit ‘gutted’ — but the ruling says otherwise

[No surprises in Judge Hammock’s ruling on Leah’s suit. So why pretend there was?]

On January 16, after Judge Randolph Hammock issued a tentative ruling in Leah Remini’s lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, the Courthouse News Service reported that the judge intended to grant parts of Scientology’s anti-SLAPP motions and “trim” Leah’s complaint, but her lawsuit was still “likely to survive.”

“In his tentative ruling, LA County Superior Court Judge Randolph Hammock wrote that he was likely to dismiss most, but not all, of the defamation claims against the church and leave most of the harassment claims more or less in place,” the article from CNS said that day.

On Tuesday, Judge Hammock finally did make his ruling final, and indeed he did dismiss most, but not all, of the defamation claims against Scientology and left in most of the harassment claims, just as CNS described in January.

But the Courthouse News Service, for some reason, has completely changed its tune about that.

“Judge guts Leah Remini’s harassment lawsuit against Church of Scientology,” CNS declared in a headline last night, even though the “harassment” portions of the lawsuit are still intact.


Judge Hammock’s final ruling is almost identical to his previous tentative rulings, but the Courthouse News Service is declaring that Leah’s lawsuit is on life support, and the Church of Scientology has won a great victory…

Church of Scientology spokesperson Karin Pouw called the ruling “a resounding victory for the Church and free speech,” adding in an email, “the Church is entitled to its attorney fees and will be seeking them.”

What’s bizarre is not only that CNS has decided that what it called a “trimming” earlier is now a “gutting” (even though nothing changed), but also the final ruling specifically states that given the mixed nature of it, either side “may” apply for attorney’s fees, but “This Court makes no finding at this time whether there actually is such a right to attorney’s fees and costs by any party.”

In other words, not only is the Courthouse News Service creating a false impression about the ruling, but it allowed Scientology’s spokeswoman Karin Pouw to make a statement that simply isn’t true.

What the hell?

We’re very curious to see how other news organizations report on this ruling, and if they’re swayed by the Courthouse News Service coverage and also claim that Leah’s lawsuit is on life-support, because it most definitely is not.

Let’s go over what has actually happened.

Leah made public her defection from Scientology in 2013. In the decade since then, she says she has been subjected to a constant barrage of retaliation from Scientology, but it has taken different forms.

Online, for example, Scientology constantly calls Leah a “bigot,” a “rape apologist,” a “racist,” and other pretty horrendous things. So part of her lawsuit is for defamation, and Leah alleges that Scientology says untrue things about her that harm her reputation.

However, Judge Hammock found that Leah and the church are both public figures, and that both sides have engaged in a very public war of words. He has stricken a number of paragraphs from the lawsuit that describe Scientology’s online attacks because, he found, they were opinion, and not statements of fact.

In other words, Leah can’t really do anything about Scientology calling her names, as long as they aren’t making factual claims that she could prove are untrue.

However, she is also alleging that Scientology is harassing her and her family, interfering with her business matters, and inflicting emotional abuse on her.

Judge Hammock has ruled that she has met the minimum standard for evidence of these claims so far, and so they are staying in the lawsuit.

Other major parts of the ruling:


The Religious Technology Center remains a defendant in the lawsuit after Mike Rinder and Claire Headley submitted declarations explaining how this Scientology subsidiary, chaired by church leader David Miscavige, routinely oversaw harassment campaigns of former Scientologists. That’s huge.

Alleged interference with Leah’s business contracts with Audioboom, iHeart and the Game Show Network remains in the case. This is also really important.

The harassment claims remain.

And actual malice in the remaining defamation claims is intact — another big victory for Leah. We were present in the courtroom when Judge Hammock said it was “common sense” that there was malice in Scientology’s unrelenting attacks.

Here’s the scorecard:

Count 1: Civil Harassment (REMAINS)
Count 2: Stalking (REMAINS, but needs to be re-pled)
Count 3: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (REMAINS)
Count 4: Tortious Interference With Contractual Relationship (REMAINS)
Count 5: Intentional Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage (REMAINS)
Count 6: Defamation (Some paragraphs stricken)
Count 7: Defamation By Implication (Some paragraphs stricken)
Count 8: False Light (Some paragraphs stricken)
Count 9: Declaratory Judgment (Stricken)


In that last count, Count 9, Leah was asking the judge to issue a declaration about Scientology’s harassment of her. It was Leah swinging for the fences, and the judge didn’t go for it. But losing such a count is not “gutting” a lawsuit, just as losing some of the defamation claims isn’t.

Leah Remini still has a major lawsuit that will seek to show that Scientology uses its “Fair Game” policy to destroy former Scientologists who dare to speak out.

But sure, Karin Pouw can declare victory all she wants. The point is, why would anyone give her any credence?


Technology Cocktail

“Scientology objectives are so far above anything man has any hope for that he at once thinks of them as healing activities. They are not. Dianetics is the healing activity. Therefore all Dianetic course materials are refined with that objective fully in view. And when a Scientology auditor finds himself with a Dianetic preclear on his hands and if that auditor learned his Dianetics well, then he will apply Dianetics and when the preclear is ready for it, only then will he apply Scientology. Any Scientology failures are totally owing to the auditor not learning his Dianetics in the first place.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1969



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

“It was a lovely party. A smashing cake, a lovely present, the Snipes songs and all your happy smiles and applause made it a truly wonderful birthday. (I didn’t know how old I was this life, was sure I was several years younger, until the congratulations and best wishes. I added it up. 60. I still don’t believe it. Are you sure we haven’t skipped some calendar years somewhere?) It was a great day. And I appreciate you more than you will ever know.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 14, 1971


Avast, Ye Mateys

“HIGHEST EVERS: Thank you for the very happy birthday. I received some lovely presents including a new dining room table and chairs for the A Deck lounge — truly gorgeous. I now hear the Ship’s Rep flew to a nearby area to get some lovely presents for me from MSH. Very appreciated. Both the presents and the flight. Cards, telexes, lovely presents and remembrances. And HGC had a present — 639 w.d. auditing hours! Just by changing its lines and hard work. And the HCI’s FEBC stats are highest ever. The International Gross Income was the HIGHEST EVER! And the Planetary G.I. (not including AOUK, UK, EU, AF or ANZO Orgs) (including only US (Sea Org, Scn) and AOSH DK) hit over a quarter of a million in one week!” — The Commodore, March 14, 1971



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Unlike the 8th dynamic, MEST can be experimented with and gives repeatable results. Exactly how does a thetan interact with a body? We do it effortlessly but what is the mechanism? Can we interact with another bit of MEST in the same way? Why not? MEST exists apparently timelessly. That is to say, the interactions between MEST particles and fields purely and only exist in the present moment — there is no memory, no effect from earlier states. Obviously things change, but at each moment MEST things only react to present-time forces. We ourselves do not exist in that present moment, by the time our brains have processed information we are most of a second out of date. Hence when we try to affect MEST we can’t since it isn’t there in the past in which we are existing.”


Past is Prologue

1999: The Tampa Tribune published an article describing the relationship between Scientology and the city of Clearwater, Florida, and the new Super Power building. “A 10,000-pound hammer drove another 40-foot-long sheet of metal into the ground across the street – the site of a planned 324,000-square-foot Scientology training and counseling center in downtown. The six-story complex will be one of the largest buildings in Pinellas County. Work on the foundation, which began in early February, confirms what some Clearwater residents and downtown merchants consider anathema and others accept without emotion: The church is growing. From a large video screen in the hotel mezzanine, parishioners are guided on a computer-generated tour of the new complex. The center will mirror the hotel’s Mediterranean style, with a 150-foot decorative tower on its west side. Sculptures depicting the fundamentals of Scientology will greet guests as they enter a three-story atrium. City officials and Scientology representatives held meetings last summer and fall after Roberto unveiled a long-term redevelopment strategy for key areas of the city, including downtown. Observers say the church and city are trying to be better neighbors. About a year ago, the church replaced its staff’s blue uniforms with more casual clothing. It also sponsors a variety of community events. Scientology officials also agreed to a city suggestion to move their staff dining facility from a building on downtown’s main drag to the new training complex. Church staffers and parishioners will be able to access the new facility from the hotel and the future auditorium via overhead pedestrian walkways. Glenn Warren, chairman of the Clearwater Downtown Development Board, says merchants hold mixed views about the new church facility despite additional tourists and more property taxes. ‘Many of my friends are dead-set against them,’ says Warren, whose father started the family business downtown in 1930. ‘But damn if I can tell the difference between a Scientologist’s dollar and a Baptist dollar or a Presbyterian’s dollar. And that’s the point. My personal feeling is that anything that large is going to have a positive impact within the community.'”


Random Howdy

“Hey, if chronic drunkenness, drug addiction, and debauchery were good enough for L. Ron, they’re good enough for me!”



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 March 26, 2024.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, motion to strike/anti-SLAPP motions by Scientology to be heard January 9, 2024.
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: motion to file new complaint, hearing on March 20.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Scientology moves for religious arbitration, hearing on March 26.
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] Scientology got its arbitrators, but also wants $107K in sanctions from Valerie Haney
[TWO years ago] A drone’s eye view of Scientology’s mecca, including Tom Cruise’s penthouse
[THREE years ago] Leah Remini spots Scientology’s best self-own in a long, long time
[FOUR years ago] Danny Masterson’s victims speak out in sworn documents in lawsuit against Scientology
[FIVE years ago] David Miscavige presides over Scientology’s holiest annual celebration of L. Ron Hubbard
[SIX years ago] Lori Hodgson’s fight with Scientology for her kids is now a book you can pre-order
[SEVEN years ago] Memories of a Scientology warrior: Marty Rathbun’s curious career as church rebel
[EIGHT years ago] Turns out at least FOUR employees sued Pasadena firm that forced Scientology on them
[NINE years ago] Outtakes from the 1997 ‘Secret Lives’ doc — an eyewitness at the Jack Parsons house
[ELEVEN years ago] Your Life as Sperm or Egg: L. Ron Hubbard’s Mad Genius


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Tammy Synovec has not seen her daughter Julia in 2,839 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 3,334 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,849 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,399 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,389 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,270 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,574 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,445 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,997 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,338 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,905 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,824 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,992 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,573 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,834 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,870 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,586 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,150 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,465 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,640 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,191 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,322 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,660 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,515 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,633 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,990 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,293 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,399 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,797 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,673 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,238 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,751 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 4,005 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,114 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 14, 2024 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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