Hip Hip Hurray ! A Win on Major Ruling. Tony Ortega just posted. ARBITRATION DENIED

Karen#1

Well-known member
SCIENTOLOGY ARBITRATION DENIED: Appeals court revives lawsuit by Masterson accusers
EXCERPT:

In a 39-page ruling, a California appeals court struck down a lower court’s decision that had derailed the lawsuit filed by Danny Masterson’s rape accusers against the That ’70s Show actor and against the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige.
Filed in 2019, the lawsuit is not directed at Masterson over the rape allegations that have him facing 45 years to life in a parallel criminal case, but instead was aimed at Masterson and Scientology over the years of harassment the plaintiffs say they have gone through after coming forward with their allegations to the LAPD in 2016.
Scientology had successfully derailed the suit by arguing that four of the five plaintiffs, who were former Scientology church members, had signed service contracts that obligated them to take any grievance to Scientology’s internal “religious arbitration” rather than to a court of law. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield agreed with that argument and granted Scientology’s motion, forcing the lawsuit into arbitration on December 30, 2020.
Read more ~~

 

Karen#1

Well-known member
This is important : (from ruling above)

Individuals have a First Amendment right to leave a religion. We hold that once petitioners had terminated their affiliation with the Church, they were not bound to its dispute resolution procedures to resolve the claims at issue here, which are based on alleged tortious conduct occurring after their separation from the Church and do not implicate resolution of ecclesiastical issues. We issue a writ directing the trial court to vacate its order compelling arbitration and instead to deny the motion.


This is HUGE !
 

mimsey borogrove

Well-known member
Wonderful News!

This seems to also open the door for other actions....such as requesting refunds......
Not so fast pilgrim, the black knight isn't dead yet:


Jeb Burton
3 hours ago
So what happens now? The case should be removed from Kleifeild's court since he agreed the case should be sent to arbitration in the first place. Great news though. Congratulations victims.
  • Avatar
    Tony Ortega
    Mod Jeb Burton3 hours ago • edited
    It goes back to Kleifield's court, and he is ordered to deny the arbitration motion. The case then proceeds from there as if the motion never happened.
    In that case, Scientology has already indicated their next move: an anti-SLAPP motion.
  • Avatar
    Tony Ortega
    Mod Tony Ortega3 hours ago
    And of course, expect Scientology to appeal this ruling to the CA supreme court, and to the US Supreme Court especially now that the appeals court has made it a First Amendment issue.
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More at link:

 

J. Swift

Well-known member
A tremendous and important legal ruling. Great work by Marci Hamilton.

I saw the key legal failure by Scientology occur when Justice Moor asked Scientology’s attorney William Forman a truly interesting and pointed question:

Justice Moor: What happens if I went into Scientology in 1980 to check it out and then left after two weeks? If I had signed the contract and was hit by a truck owned by Scientology 20 years later, would I still be bound to the contract?

Attorney Forman: That would be Scientology’s position, yes.
IMO, William Forman lost the case when Justice Forman walked him off a cliff with this subtle but crucial question. Forman lost when he asserted that Scientology's contract extends over the entire future lifetime of everyone who ever did Scientology when it comes to any matter relating to Scientology.

I saw Forman's argument as a blatant attempt by Scientology to protect its malicious Fair Game practices after a person has left Scientology. Scientology wants to assert that its membership services contract is irrevocable and protects it from lawsuits for the lifetime of anyone who ever signed it. Scientology wants its illegal conduct to be made legal in the courts and that did not happen today.

Scientology argued that its contract even covers seemingly unrelated matters. So, yes, if you get hit by a truck owned by Scientology 20 years after you decided to leave, Scientology attorney Forman says the Church will compel you into arbitration over its truck hitting you. It is Scientology’s position that you would have no right to sue the Church in a court of law for your suffering, injuries, and medical costs caused by its truck hitting you. Scientology wants to assert its religious authority over a non-member in perpetuity.

The court today wrote:

The issue properly phrased is: after petitioners have left the faith, can Scientology still require that all of Scientology’s future conduct with respect to petitioners – including torts of whatever kind – be governed by Scientology law, with disputes to be resolved solely in Scientology tribunals by Scientology members? We conclude it cannot.
This echoes the argument made in the 1984 case captioned Guinn v. Church of Christ of Collinsville, which was ultimately decided by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. In that case, the Church of Christ of Collinsville argued that you could never resign from their church and that its harassment, emotional distress, and invasion of privacy of Marian Guinn after she resigned from the Church was not protected and was unconstitutional. My blog post on this key case: https://scientologymoneypro...

*****
Marian Guinn filed suit against the church for invasion of privacy and emotional distress. The Church of Christ argued in court that because its rules do not permit its members to ever resign or depart from the Church, the Church’s rules applied to Guinn even after she resigned. (A jury eventually awarded her $390,000.)

The Church of Christ, like the Church of Scientology, would like its members to think of it as the Hotel California: You can check out any time you want but you can never leave. However, this is simply not correct. The Guinn court offered an instructional and highly valuable ruling:

Just as freedom to worship is protected by the First Amendment, so also is the liberty to recede from one’s religious allegiance. In Torcaso v. Watkins the Court reaffirmed that neither a state nor the federal government can force or influence a person to go or to remain away from church against one’s will or to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. The First Amendment clearly safeguards the freedom to worship as well as the freedom not to worship.

The court record in Guinn is specific on the point of withdrawing consent:

The Elders had never been confronted with a member who chose to withdraw from the church. Because disciplinary proceedings against Parishioner had already commenced when she withdrew her membership, the Elders concluded their actions could not be hindered by her withdrawal and would be protected by the First Amendment. Parishioner relies on her September 24, 1981 handwritten letter to the Elders in which she unequivocally stated that she withdrew her membership and terminated her consent to being treated as a member of the Church of Christ communion. By common-law standards we find her communication was an effective withdrawal of her membership and of her consent to religious discipline.
Consent is the crux of the matter in terms of religion in America. Once an individual consents to be governed by a church’s rules, that individual is fully subject to the rules and the punishments, however harsh they may be, for breaking those rules.

Once an individual resigns from their church and withdraws their consent to be governed by church rules, however, the church no longer has any rights to punish them. As the Church Discipline blog wrote of the Guinn matter:

This bears repeating. Once a withdraw has occurred the First Amendment protections don’t belong to the church, rather they belong to the individual. All religious activity in the United States is consensual, a person who publicly claims not to be a member of a church is legally not a member of that church and church discipline cannot continue without consent. A church attempting to discipline a person that has withdrawn their consent and resigned can be found to be engaging in a form of harassment.
 

TheSneakster

Well-known member
Thank you so very much for this report @J. Swift !!!!

Hallelujah!!!!! OMFG!!!! This is AWESOME!!! :eek:

Is this Federal? That would be 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and so many of their cases originate in this jurisdiction, am I right ?

Edit: Nevermind, I see it's a California Court, so California only. But David "Darth Midget" Miscavige is so totally fucked!!! I'm sure he can afford the rail car load of K.Y. Jelly he is going to be needing soon. :D
 
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Type4_PTS

Well-known member
Not so fast pilgrim, the black knight isn't dead yet:
While it certainly won't be fast and Scientology will for sure drag it all out for years with its appeals and as many stalling tactics as they can, the judge wrote something (below) which I predict that none of the courts will ever attempt to reverse. There is nothing in the Constitution that allows Scientology to do what they're wanting.


"Enforcing this provision without regard to petitioners’ First Amendment rights would mean that if the Church or a Church member committed any intentional or negligent tort against a former member of the Church, that former member would be bound by Scientology dispute resolution procedures regardless of the fact that the member had left the Church years, even decades, before the tort. In effect, Scientology suggests that one of the prices of joining its religion (or obtaining a single religious service) is eternal submission to a religious forum – a sub silencio waiver of petitioners’ constitutional right to extricate themselves from the faith. The Constitution forbids a price that high."
 

J. Swift

Well-known member

Karakorum

Well-known member
Wow that's big. I wasn't expecting that from lousy appeals courts over there.

If Davey can't even win that, his legal invulnerability days are numbered. I guess he's gonna fight this tooth and nail and won't stop until it hits the supreme court.

I hope the people related to Rabbinical courts and Sharia tribunals won't try to use all their lobby power to sway the supreme court. It would be the epitome of madness if Davey didn't have the legal muscle to win this, but the Jews and Muslims would save him at the last minute.
 

Isaac

Well-known member
This is important : (from ruling above)

Individuals have a First Amendment right to leave a religion. We hold that once petitioners had terminated their affiliation with the Church, they were not bound to its dispute resolution procedures to resolve the claims at issue here, which are based on alleged tortious conduct occurring after their separation from the Church and do not implicate resolution of ecclesiastical issues. We issue a writ directing the trial court to vacate its order compelling arbitration and instead to deny the motion.


This is HUGE !
Based on the ruling that "Individuals have a First Amendment Right to leave a religion, any Attorney representing the victims of Scientology could argue they have a First Amendment right to free speech as well
so if they want to talk about the abuses and crimes they witnessed in the Church, it would legal and Scientology should not be able to gag people using extortion and shunning as their method to control and keep others from knowing

The goal now is for attorney's to pound it out in courts to have the contracts in Scientology invalidated - deem them all null and void - because the members are manipulated into signing them - each and every one of the contracts - members had no legal representation. Fraud, deceit, manipulation are the tools Scientologists get trained to use to get the trusting folks to sign away their rights, put money on account, go bankrupt and disconnect from family and friends.
 
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mimsey borogrove

Well-known member
My update with citations from the CA Appeals Court Ruling:

Scientology’s “Irrevocable & Forever Binding Membership Contract” Goes Down in Flames in the California Court of Appeals

The sleazy Scientology gasbag that is the Religious Services Contract today blew up in flames today in court and is left a smoldering legal wreck.

Scientology will appeal but good luck trying to put this wreckage of a bogus contract back together again:

View attachment 16391
I think they will continue to use it unedited as it is a deterrent to giving out refunds. If someone then hires a good attorney, they will use this case as a precedent, and the church will quietly pay up, to avoid publicity and a "run on the bank". I don't see them changing anything unless forced to.

Maybe they will take out any language pertaining to irrevocable aspect. There will have to be a separate law suit by someone to take down the fact it is a contract of adhesion. That will be a landmark case.

Further, someone will have to address the arbitration nonsense, They tried to dodge this by saying that the parishioners weren't declared SP, but that fell apart when Jane Doe #1 had been declared. There needs to be a court order that the arbitration is conducted in a manner consistent with arbitration law, and stop with the com ev nonsense.

"Jane Doe #1 does not allege that she voluntarily left the Church; instead, she learned in 2005 that she had been declared a Suppressive Person and was told she was no longer permitted to engage in religious services at the Church. Having excluded Jane Doe #1 from its religious services, and allegedly committed torts against her more than 10 years later, the Church cannot now enforce against Jane Doe #1 the arbitration clause in an agreement she signed in order to obtain the religious services from which she has been excluded. If the religious relationship has been terminated – by either party – and the parishioner is no longer a member of the Church, the arbitration clause does not survive to cover disputes arising from future non-religious tortious conduct."

One step at a time.

Mimsey

 
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onceuponatime

Well-known member
Wow, this is great news.

I think Scientology will appeal this all the way up. Much of their legal strategy relies on the fact that they are a religion and then using the contracts parishioners signed to derail any lawsuits with this arbitration nonsense.

Looks like conduct that occurs while a member is still in Scientology wouldn't really be impacted by this ruling, which I think is unfair, but I understand why they ruled the way they did. So publicly/officially departing the church does have some benefit now. I wouldn't expect them to change their ways as far as harassment, but now at least they don't get to force you to a bogus religious arbitration.

I also thought it was significant what they said about declaring her an SP. You obviously can't kick someone out of a religion and then still demand they be bound by the rules of that religion forever after. I'd heard that they don't really declare people these days. I wonder if going forward we just won't see SP declares at all.

I think this is far from over but this is a great start to 2022. Excited to see what happens next.
 

Enthetan

Veteran of the Psychic Wars
This is important : (from ruling above)

Individuals have a First Amendment right to leave a religion. We hold that once petitioners had terminated their affiliation with the Church, they were not bound to its dispute resolution procedures to resolve the claims at issue here, which are based on alleged tortious conduct occurring after their separation from the Church and do not implicate resolution of ecclesiastical issues. We issue a writ directing the trial court to vacate its order compelling arbitration and instead to deny the motion.


This is HUGE !
This is massively huge. This guts their whole arbitration scheme.
 

Isaac

Well-known member
I think they will continue to use it unedited as it is a deterrent to giving out refunds. If someone then hires a good attorney, they will use this case as a precedent, and the church will quietly pay up, to avoid publicity and a "run on the bank". I don't see them changing anything unless forced to.

Maybe they will take out any language pertaining to irrevocable aspect. There will have to be a separate law suit by someone to take down the fact it is a contract of adhesion. That will be a landmark case.

Further, someone will have to address the arbitration nonsense, They tried to dodge this by saying that the parishioners weren't declared SP, but that fell apart when Jane Doe #1 had been declared. There needs to be a court order that the arbitration is conducted in a manner consistent with arbitration law, and stop with the com ev nonsense.

"Jane Doe #1 does not allege that she voluntarily left the Church; instead, she learned in 2005 that she had been declared a Suppressive Person and was told she was no longer permitted to engage in religious services at the Church. Having excluded Jane Doe #1 from its religious services, and allegedly committed torts against her more than 10 years later, the Church cannot now enforce against Jane Doe #1 the arbitration clause in an agreement she signed in order to obtain the religious services from which she has been excluded. If the religious relationship has been terminated – by either party – and the parishioner is no longer a member of the Church, the arbitration clause does not survive to cover disputes arising from future non-religious tortious conduct."

One step at a time.

Mimsey

When my friends tried to get their money back, attorney Gary Soter stated they failed to claim fraud and deception
its time for Attorney’s to get BOLD and claim fraud and deception
because THAT is what Scientology IS
and it is now so easy to prove
 

mimsey borogrove

Well-known member
Wow, this is great news.

I think Scientology will appeal this all the way up. Much of their legal strategy relies on the fact that they are a religion and then using the contracts parishioners signed to derail any lawsuits with this arbitration nonsense.

Looks like conduct that occurs while a member is still in Scientology wouldn't really be impacted by this ruling, which I think is unfair, but I understand why they ruled the way they did. So publicly/officially departing the church does have some benefit now. I wouldn't expect them to change their ways as far as harassment, but now at least they don't get to force you to a bogus religious arbitration.

I also thought it was significant what they said about declaring her an SP. You obviously can't kick someone out of a religion and then still demand they be bound by the rules of that religion forever after. I'd heard that they don't really declare people these days. I wonder if going forward we just won't see SP declares at all.

I think this is far from over but this is a great start to 2022. Excited to see what happens next.
They used to post goldenrod SP etc. declares around the org, then only in ethics or the MAAs offices. When I was declared I had to read it in their office, and was not allowed to keep a copy. Two of my friends didn't know they were declared until I saw their SP declare next the bottom floor elevator door near ASHO's MAA office. I called them up and asked if they knew they had been declared, and they had no idea it had happened. They thought they were in good standing. Who knows how many have been declared and don't know it? :dizzy:

Mimsey
 

ILove2Lurk

Lisbeth Salander
And of course, expect Scientology to appeal this ruling to the CA supreme court, and to the US Supreme Court especially now that the appeals court has made it a First Amendment issue.
Big risk for them going forward with their typical legal strategy.

If (a very likely if) they take this case all the way to the Supreme Court . . . and lose,
then they'll get annointed with the highest official stamp of (dis)approval from
highest court and the floodgates could open. There might likely be an enormous
"run on the bank," as @mimsey borogrove alluded to. A veritable domino effect with
many individual and class action lawsuits. Think of the myriad lawsuits after the Bernie
Madoff Ponzi scheme imploded.
 

TheSneakster

Well-known member
Big risk for them going forward with their typical legal strategy.

If (a very likely if) they take this case all the way to the Supreme Court . . . and lose,
then they'll get annointed with the highest official stamp of (dis)approval from
highest court and the floodgates could open.
You beat me to it. This is definitely a "damned, if you do - damned, if you don't" situation for David "Darth Midget" Miscavige and his Demented Minions.
 

onceuponatime

Well-known member
Big risk for them going forward with their typical legal strategy.

If (a very likely if) they take this case all the way to the Supreme Court . . . and lose,
then they'll get annointed with the highest official stamp of (dis)approval from
highest court and the floodgates could open. There might likely be an enormous
"run on the bank," as @mimsey borogrove alluded to. A veritable domino effect with
many individual and class action lawsuits. Think of the myriad lawsuits after the Bernie
Madoff Ponzi scheme imploded.
Yeah, this is one of the thoughts I had too. I still think they will forge ahead and appeal it all the way up, but the smarter decision might be to cut and run.
 

onceuponatime

Well-known member
They used to post goldenrod SP etc. declares around the org, then only in ethics or the MAAs offices. When I was declared I had to read it in their office, and was not allowed to keep a copy. Two of my friends didn't know they were declared until I saw their SP declare next the bottom floor elevator door near ASHO's MAA office. I called them up and asked if they knew they had been declared, and they had no idea it had happened. They thought they were in good standing. Who knows how many have been declared and don't know it? :dizzy:

Mimsey
Yup, SP declares (and other ethics notices) used to be posted on a notice board somewhere. These days my understanding is HCO gets a copy which they will show to people at their discretion. But no copies for you or anyone else. This goes for basically all ethics actions, I don't know of any that get publicly posted anymore.

After this ruling I'm not sure what they'll do. Maybe no declares at all or maybe they just never put it in writing or show it to anyone. Allows them to say something like "we never declared him, he was still a member, we only told him to do A-E" which of course is still ridiculous but at least gives more wiggle room than showing someone the goldenrod saying they're declared.
 
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