VALERIE HANEY PETITION DENIED: She'll have to go through Scientology 'arbitration' to appeal - 2020-10-23
Valerie Haney's long-shot petition for a writ of mandate has been turned down by California's 2nd Appellate District, and so now if she still wants to appeal the lower court ruling that derailed her lawsuit, she'll actually have to go through with Scientology's "religious arbitration" and then appeal the result.
In January, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Burdge Jr found for Scientology and iced the lawsuit brought by Valerie, who today works as Leah Remini's assistant but at one time was Scientology leader David Miscavige's personal steward and worked in his private quarters. Valerie alleged in her lawsuit that she became a prisoner at the secretive Gold Base because of what she knew about Miscavige, and she only got away from the base by hiding in the trunk of a car. For coming forward on Leah's A&E series, Valerie was subjected to a fierce and frightening harassment campaign, which was documented by Leah's show. But even though she was no longer an employee of the church, Valerie was still bound by the contract she had signed, Judge Burdge ruled, denying her right to a trial. She would have to submit her complaints of kidnapping and stalking not to a court of law, but to Scientology's own brand of arbitration, which features a panel of arbitrators who must all be members of the church in good standing.
It was a shocking result and the second time in recent years that Scientology was successful at short-circuiting a lawsuit by forcing it into what it calls arbitration. Before Valerie, Luis and Rocio Garcia's lawsuit was forced into religious arbitration by Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore. In that case, the Garcias went through the Scientology procedure, the first the church had ever performed in its 70-year history. The Garcias complained to Whittemore that the process was a joke, but Whittemore upheld the result (the arbitrators offered to give the Garcias back about $18,000 of the hundreds of thousands they were asking for).