Monique Rathbun waives a response: Will the TX Supreme Court take up Scientology's appeal? - 2016-03-18
On February 19, the Church of Scientology International and four of its co-defendants in Monique's harassment lawsuit filed a petition, asking the state high court to review an appellate decision that upheld the trial court's denial of Scientology's"anti-SLAPP" motion. Scientology argues that Monique's lawsuit should be dismissed because it infringes on the church's free speech rights. What Monique calls harassment — years of Scientology operatives following her and her husband, former Scientology official Mark "Marty" Rathbun; daily demonstrations outside their south Texas home; and even making visits to her family members and co-workers with creepy suggestions about Marty — was really just the church sticking up for itself in ways that should be protected by the First Amendment.
Comal County Judge Dib Waldrip disagreed, saying that Scientology was a business just trying to protect its turf against Marty Rathbun, who had been delivering Scientology auditing independently. (Monique was never a member of the church.) The Texas Third Court of Appeals, after taking more than a year, upheld Waldrip's decision. But in its petition to the state supreme court, Scientology says that the appellate court erred on some of the facts of the case, and that the state's appellate courts are in disagreement in general about Texas's anti-SLAPP statute, the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), which is relatively new.