Scientology hopes to benefit from Michael Jackson estate's arbitration win against HBO - 2020-12-17
If you waded through that long court transcript we posted yesterday, you know that one of the challenges Scientology is facing in Los Angeles Superior Court is that Judge Steven Kleifield has some doubts about Scientology's arbitration agreements lasting into eternity.
Scientology is trying to force into "religious arbitration" some former members who are suing Scientology and one of its celebrity members, actor Danny Masterson, over allegations of harassment, stalking, and slander that took place years after the plaintiffs were members of the church. In a November 6 hearing Judge Kleifield repeatedly raised the question about whether agreements that members of a church signed for religious services would still be valid years later, after those members had left the organization.
Scientology is saying that contracts Chrissie Carnell Bixler, her husband rocker Cedric Bixler-Zavala and two women going by Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 signed when they were members of the church obligate them to take their claims to arbitration before a panel of Scientologists in good standing, and that they have no right to a trial. The women, who claim that Masterson raped them in incidents between 2001 and 2004, say that they were harassed by Scientology and the That '70s Show actor when they came forward to the LAPD in 2016. They have argued that they should not be held to the contracts they signed as Scientologists because now that they have left the church forcing them into what they call a religious ritual would be a violation of their First Amendment rights.