Scientology and the Courts, Miscellaneous Related Materials
Last revised: January 25, 1997
SCIENTOLOGY LEGAL NEWS |
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CASES - Commentary |
News Reports of Cases.
Often, information about the many cases involving scientology worldwide is gained through news media or postings on the usenet group alt.religion.scientology.
- United Kingdom: According to a report in the Sunday Times on April 3, 1996, "Police are investigating complaints that private investigators employed by the Church of Scientology, the cult created by L.
Ron Hubbard, have intimidated witnesses and plaintiffs in forthcoming court cases." Scientology private investigator Eugene Martin Ingram is reported to be in the UK and involved in investigations of scientology critics involved in these court cases, including author Jon Atack.
- United Kingdom: Action by Church of Scientology to ban broadcast of program by journalist Alison Braund, producer Claudia Milne and production company Twenty Twenty Television, rejected by Attorney General. UK PRESS GAZETTE, July 17, 1995 (Article not available, but referred to in article below.)
- United Kingdom: Action by Church of Scientology against investigative journalist Alison Braund, producer Claudia Milne and production company Twenty Twenty Television dismissed as an abuse of process. UK PRESS GAZETTE, September 25, 1995.
Articles discussing scientology litigation.
- Scientology's War Against Judges. This story appeared in the American Lawyer in December 1980. It recounts the story of scientology's investigation of the judges who sat on the criminal case in which Mary Sue Hubbard, L. Ron Hubbard's wife, and 10 other high-ranking scientology officials, were convicted on multiple federal criminal charges, and their efforts to have successive judges disqualified from hearing the case..
- Two Faces of Scientology. This story appeared in the American Lawyer in July/August 1992. It tells the story of scientology's litigation against Time Magazine over the cover story "Scientology The Cult of Greed and Power," as well as their litigation strategy generally. It includes profiles of some of the attorneys who have represented scientology organizations and an interview with Gerry Armstrong.
Intellectual property issues
Recently the Church of Scientology has brought a number of actions under federal copyright and state trade secret law seeking to prevent the dissemination of COS documents on the Internet. Set forth here are some materials concerning intellectual property rights that are of interest with respect to the scientology cases.
- Mark Eckenwiler, "Search Me: Ex Parte Seizures Writ Large." This article by attorney Mark Eckenwiler of Gordon & Glickson, P.C., discusses the ex parte seizure process under federal trademark and copyright statutes. It includes discussion of the seizure writs obtained by the Religious Technology Center and the Church of Scientology in the Netcom/Erlich and Lerma cases. Copyright 1996 Mark Eckenwiler. Reprinted by permission.A version of this article first appeared in The American Lawyer, May 1996 "Litigation for the 90's" supplement, on pages 42-44.
- One of the cases to which Mr. Eckenwiler refers in his article on ex parte seizures is Warner Bros, Inc. v. Dae Rim Trading, Inc, 877 F.2d 1120 (2d Cir. 1989. This opinion was rendered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a copyright infringement action brought by Warner Bros. against a retailer who was selling copyrighted "Gizmo" dolls. The opinion discuses the procedures involved in obtaining a writ of seizure under U.S. copyright law, limitations on the use of such seizure writs, and awards of attorney fees in copyright infringement actions. [Scanned from reported opinion; apologies for errors.]
- The NII Report. Both the White House and the Congress are interested in how the Internet and related communications technology will affect intellectual property rights. The Report of the Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights of the White House Information Infrastructure Task Force report is available at the web site of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It includes discussions of copyright, trademark, patent law, and trade secret issues. Select this link to go to the report.
Actions involving scientology and other groups
The Cult Awareness Network has been a target of scientology litigation for years.
Anti-Slapp Suits. Many of the cases brought by the COS have been described as "SLAPP" suits: "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation." A new web site has been established by the California Anti-SLAPP Project at http://www.casp.net. This site contains the text of court decisions in Anti-SLAPP litigation brought in California and other states, as well as information about Anti-SLAPP legislation.
- 1995 The Emory Wilson Corp. v. Cult Awareness Network, Superior Court of California, Docket No. BC043028, County of Los Angeles, Report of opinion of Hon. Aviva K. Bobb, August 23, 1995. Motion of defendant Cult Awareness Network, Cynthia Kisser, et al., for dismissal of the complaint, granted. Although the account is limited, the case appears to be an action by The Emory Wilson Corp., doing business as Sterling Mangement, a scientology-linked organization, against the Cult Awareness Network.
- CAN recently declared bankruptcy after a jury rendered a multi-million dollar award against the organization in Jason Scott v. Cult Awareness Network, Docket No. ______, United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, in which Scott claimed that CAN was responsible for his "forced deprogramming." The plaintiff's attorney was Kendrick Moxon, a scientologists who has represented the Church of Scientology in many cases, and has been referred to as one of scientology's in-house lawyers. An amicus brief has been filed in the appeal by CAN from the jury verdict, by a number of groups.
- CAN has filed bankruptcy in Illinois, In re Cult Awareness Network, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Case 95 B 22133. Kendrick Moxon, on behalf of judgment creditor Jason Scott, sought to sell CAN's files and records to an unidentified purchaser, an succeeded in getting the bankruptcy trustee to sell CAN's servicemark to a scientology attorney last fall. Dramatic developments came in the case in December, however, when Jason Scott dumped Kendrick Moxon and hired Graham Berry to represent him. Berry, a Los Angeles attorney, has represented other parties in cases against scientology parties, including Uwe Geertz, the psychiatrist who treated former scientologist Steven Fishman and was sued by the Church of Scientology. A press release issued by Berry state that Scott dropped Moxon because he realized that the judgment against CAN was being used to further the interests of scientology organizations, not Scott's monetary interests. Moxon claimed that Scott was pressured to drop him and even sought to institute competency proceedings in Arizona, where Scott is now living. He failed in that effort, but he continues to press his claim to attorney fees in the case. As this is written in January 1997, developments in this matter are rapidly ongoing.
- CAN and its director and president are also being sued by the Landmark Education Association in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois (Case 94 L 11478). Judge Michael J. Hogan, the presiding judge, issued an order enjoining the sale, transfer or destruction of any CAN files and records pending the resolution of the case.
Help for the inexperienced.
This web site is intended to be used by anyone with an interest in the subject matter, but it may be daunting to those without experience in reading and researching judicial options and other case materials. Some may find it helpful to go to READING AND UNDERSTANDING COURT OPINIONS for a brief introduction to the subject, including the concept of precedent and some information about citation of court opinions.