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EFF "Legal Cases - Church of Scientology" Archive

Last Updated Thu Mar 13 10:41:38 PDT 2003

Disclaimer: EFF has NO POSITION of any kind on whether or not the Church of Scientology "is" or "isn't" a religion, or any other such issues. We are interested solely in, and are achiving documents related to only, CoS's actions and legal cases as they intersect with issues of online free speech, publication and association.

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EFF Media Release: Conviction of Scientology Critic Raises Free Speech Issue. San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today expressed concern over a California court conviction of H. Keith Henson in a case involving online criticism of the Church of Scientology (CoS). In a decision which appears to have violated his constitutional right to free speech, a jury in Riverside County convicted Henson of threatening the free exercise of religion by members of the CoS. (June 22, 2001)
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision remanding back to the district court the question of the relevance of CoS docs in the Fishman declaration, and the question of whether or not they should be sealed. These are the documents at issue in the cases against Lerma and the Washington Post defendants.
Exhibits A and B in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Exhibits A1 and B1 (amended), in the Erlich Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Amended complaint filed by the Church of Scientology against Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom.
Amended restraining order filed against Erlich
Information on CoS attempts to limit anonymous discussion on CoS-related newsgroups
In this ruling, Judge Leonie Brinkema refused the Church's request for a Temporary Restraining Order against the Washington Post that would have prohibited the Post from writing about the CoS materials at issue or even retaining possession of the documents legally obtained from court records. The decision and reasoning are very similar to those of Jude Kane. The decision is also similar to that of Judge Whyte, but in this case the reasoning differs greatly. This decision addresses only the Post defendants, not Lerma.
Declaration of Dr. Alfonso F. Cardenas in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Declaration of Dr. Kenneth R. Castleman in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Original complaint filed by CoS against Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom.
CoS reply in support of order to show cause re contempt in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom cases, asking for sanctions against Erlich's counsel.
Plaintiffs' opposition to ex parte application for continuance of hearing on order to show cause, in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
CoS-proposed court ruling on injunctive order in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case. (The judge did not use this draft order, fortunately.)
CoS memo in support of preliminary injunction, in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
short bibliography of articles about CoS's legal tactics.
Press release from Church of Scientology hypeing about the Feb. 21 hearing. A detailed and devastating critque is appended.
CoS statement re: raid on Erlich's home Two stern critiques appended.
Article posted on the internet about the search of Erlich's house and the details surrounding the CoS lawsuit
CoS application for an order shortening time for a hearing on their motion against Klemesrud and Netcom
Proposed shortening time injunction on motions against Klemesrud & Netcom.
Shortening time order on motions against Klemesrud & Netcom.
CoS application for temporary restraining order in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
CoS press release triumphantly announcing their lawsuit against the Washington Post. To date, the judge has been far from sympathetic to their arguments and evidence.
Transcript of February 21 hearing in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Brief rundown of who the judges, plaintiffs and defendants in these cases are.
Open letter from EFF to CoS
Declaration of David Elrod, in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Declaration of Dennis Erlich.
Erlich's opposition to CoS's contempt motion
Erlich's answer to the amended initial complaint
Letter from EFF announcing the transferal of the Erlich Defense Fund to Erlich's attorneys
Article by Erlich detailing the search of his house by CoS agents
Erlich's reply to allegations made by his ex-wife
Order for clerk to issue writ for seizure in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Order for Temporary Restraining Order in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Letter from Erlich to Judge Whyte re search and seizure
Letter from Erlich to Judge Whyte re TRO and possible violation
Article from Toronoto's _eye_ e-newspaper on the early days of the CoS v. alt.religion.scientolgy disputes.
Alert about CoS attempts to destroy the FACTNet electronic library
Notice from FACTNet to CoS warning against raiding FACTNet offices
Declaration of Lynn R. Farny in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
2 articles on the Fishman documents, the CoS raid on Dutch Internet access provider XS4All, and the rising "movement" against CoS in Holland. Includes a list of the Dutch sites with anti-CoS material and copies of the Fishman documents, including a Dutch Minister of Parliament!
Declaration of Rick Francis in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Second Declaration of Rick Francis in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Article by Adam Gaffin from Network World (v12n8) about CoS cases against Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom.
Court order setting hearing dates for motions filed by both plaintiffs and defendants in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Report of an alt.religion.scientology reader and outspoken CoS critic, alleging that a CoS-payed private investigator tried to frame him for terrorism in revenge for anti-CoS postings on Usenet, and that said P.I., Gene Ingram, is now under investigation by the very police that went to investigate the a.r.s. reader, "Henry". This is followed by a Scientologist's attempt to "dead agent" (slander) "Henry" and reveal his identity; in turn followed by CoS critics' comments on this, and on Ingram's alleged criminal background, as well as suggestions that Ingram or someone else has been manipulating federal crime records to delete Ingram's record. All very strange...
Article by Lee Holzinger about the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case (very sympathetic to CoS viewpoint)
Judge Hupp, after remand from the 9th Circuit, issues this order *temporarily* sealing the CoS documents in the Fishman declaration, pending review of the issues and a final decision on CoS's motion to seal the record permanently.
letter from CoS-hired attorney Melvin F Jager (of William, Brinks, Hofer, Gilson & Lione), the "guru of intellectual property" warning Arnie Lerma (of the FACTnet board of directors) against further distribution of CoS "OT" materials that Lerma obtained from unsealed Texas court records. See lerma_jager_0805-0695.letters for replies.
Summary by Patrick Jost of hearing before Judge Brinkema, RTV [CoS] v. Arnaldo Lerma. Brinkema was thoroughly unswayed by CoS's arguments, stated that they had "unclean hands" in a "dirty" seizure and search, and rescinded the TRO and writ of seizure against Lerma, while allowing Lerma, like all other defendants, to continue to use the contested materials within the limits of fair use.
After a three-day hearing with numerous witnesses, Judge John L. Kane issued this bench ruling denying the RTC (CoS) a preliminary injunction against FACTnet and ordering an immediate return of all seized FACTnet computers and materials. On September 15, Judge Kane issued his formal Memorandum Opinion and Order (below). Kane's orders here were temporarily stayed by the 10th Circuit court of appeals after CoS's emergency appeal.
Judge Kane issued this formal Memorandum Opinion and Order finding, among other things, that the defendants would likely be able to prove that their posting of Scientology materials on the Internet was fair use. This is basically a more detailed version of the the bench ruling, above. Kane rules that CoS's likelihood of success on the merits in the full case are is slim, and vacates the TRO and writ of seizure issued by a previous judge (who was not available and so pass the case on to Kane.) CoS again filed motions to stay the execution of this order (this was denied, but the 10th Circuit sealed the exhibits in Kane's court that contain CoS documents). CoS then appealed to Supreme Court Justice Berger, who also denied the stay. CoS then sent the appeal to Justice Souter. No action on that request as of Oct. 6. CoS then returned most of the seized material, minus the CoS docs at issue, and filed a motion with Kane to say this was OK, and to submit the withheld material to Kane under seal. Defendants filed a contempt of court motion against CoS. Kane issue another order, below.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON VARIOUS MOTIONS, establishing defendants' computer expert, at plaintiffs' expense as being in charge of examining the computerized CoS records, settling various issues about what materials were returned and in what condition, etc. Kane also requires that the seized materials under issue be held by the court, rather than either party to the suit (other than the non-contested materials already returned to defendants) - the first judge in this series of cases to do so. Kane futhermore chastizes both parties for a technical violation of his previous order, but defers judgement on contempt motions against CoS until after the computers and material have been examined.
Declaration of Tom Klemesrud
Klemesrud's answer to complaint filed by CoS
Declaration of Helena K. Kobrin in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
CoS attorney Helena Kobrin's press release to the Net, hypeing the Judge Hupp's order to temporarily seal the CoS documents in the Fishman declaration pending resolution of what to do about the documents permanently. The release falsely claims: "These materials are not now and never were "public record documents" (cf: Judge Brinkema's decision denying CoS's claim that the Washington Post's use of these documents was not fair use.)
Letter of CoS attorney Helena Kobrin to _Internet_World_ in response to the magazine's questions about CoS's attempt to destroy the alt.religion.scientology Usenet newsgroup. Includes commentary on and criticism of the letter.
Letter from Helena Kobrin threatening legal action against CoS critic Dick Cleek after his alleged posting of proprietary CoS documents to alt.religion.scientology
Letter from Helena Kobrin to Judge Whyte re: Erlich's alleged violation of TRO
Letter from Kobrin to Judge Whyte re: Netcom's motion to dismiss
Three letters from Kobrin to Judge Whyte opposing various motions from Klemesrud's, Netcom's and Erlich's counsel.
Arnie Lerma's petition to Judge Hupp (of the Fishman case) for official permission to post the Fishman declaration to the Internet. [Answer, if any, unknown to this archivist.]
response of Arnie Lerma to CoS attorney Melving Jager in two letters. The first is a short note promising a more detailed reply, the second is that reply, contesting Jager's assertion that the Fishman Declaration documents are trade secrets, and warning Jager against further harassment.
Declaration of Warren McShane in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Deposition of Warren McShane in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Declaration of Rosa Munsey in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Netcom's proposed Order granting motion to dismiss
Netcom's Notice of motion to dismiss
Memo in support of Netcom's motion to dismiss
Netcom's memorandum in opposition to CoS request for injunctive relief
CoS's renewed motion for for Preliminary Injunction against Klemesrud and Netcom
Declaration of Randolf J. Rice in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
Article by Mark Walsh in _The_Recorder_, regarding Dennis Erlich and his legal defense against CoS.
Declaration of Andrew H. Wilson in the Erlich, Klemesrud & Netcom case.
transcript of hearing in Judge Brinkema's court, RTC v. Lerma, et al. CoS (RTC) makes numerous irrelevant arguments about being attacked by critics. This transcript is used to hoist CoS high by Brinkema in the Nov. 29 decision. A short summary of this hearing is available in jost_lerma_091595_hearing.summary
Judge Brinkema's order, after 9/15 hearing: Plaintiff Religious Technology Center's Motion for Reconsideration and Motion for a Preliminary Injunction Against Defendant Lerma are DENIED. Defendant Lerma's Motion to Vacate the Write of Seizure and Order for Impoundment is GRANTED and it is hereby ORDERED that RTC shall immediately return and restore to Defendant Lerma all seized materials... and it is further ORDERED that Defendant Lerma shall maintain the status quo as to possession of all the allegedly copyrighted materials at issue in this case and is restricted to employing them only in a fair use capacity. Lerma and his counsel are specifically prohibited from making any additional copies of the materials or transferring them in any manner or publicizing them other than in the context of fair use. This action moots the issued of increased bond relating to the seizure, so Defendant Lerma's Motion to Increase Bond is DENIED. Plaintiff RTC's Motions for Provisional Stays Pending Appeal to the Fourth Circuit are DENIED.
_Washington_Post_ article about the 9/15 hearing and ruling.
Articles from _Biased_Journalism_ about the 9/15 hearing and other CoS-related matters, including the bungled return of CoS-seized property to Lerma.
Judge Whyte's decision in the RTC & Bridge (CoS) v. Dennis Erlich. ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFFS' APPLICATION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND DEFENDANT ERLICH'S MOTION TO DISSOLVE THE TRO [temporary restraining order, against Erlich, et al.]; DENYING PLAINTIFFS' APPLICATION TO EXPAND THE TRO; DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR CONTEMPT; GRANTING ERLICH'S MOTION TO VACATE THE WRIT OF SEIZURE; AND DENYING PLAINTIFFS' REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST ERLICH'S COUNSEL. The judge believe that CoS may win on the merits of many of its claims, but releases Erlich from the TRO (though not the prelim. injunction) and orders CoS to return Erlich's property that was seized by CoS. Sadly, Judge Whyte demonizes the Internet to a certain extent. Happily, he recognizes the questionable consitutionality of the search and seizure he authorized (this is a very rare thing for a judge to admit.)
Judge Whyte's decision & order regarding Netcom's motion to dismiss. Whyte denies the motion, but also finds that CoS's claims that Netcom is directly and vicariously liable for infringement are bogus, and that only the claim of contributory infringement liability must be settled in court. He does not appear to believe that CoS will win on the merits on that issue against Netcom or Klemesrud, but is bound to have the issue stand trial, since several factual matters must be settled. CoS has implied that this is a Scientology victory; nothing could be further from the truth - this is the beginning of the contest, not the end of it, and all bets are against CoS. Unlike many of the legal docs in this archive, this one is a very good read. Whyte makes a number of highly interesting and unusual statements about the online browsing and the fair use defense and other important but often hidden issues.
CoS press release inaccurately hyping one side of the Whyte decision. This press release was unfortunately taken at face value by many reporters, and its "facts" reported uncritcally in several media outlets.
Netcom press release about the Whyte decision, debunking many of the claims of the earlier CoS press release.
Judge Brinkema dismissed the suit against the Washington Post and its reporters in this written memorandum opinion on November 28. The judge called the lawsuit "reprehensible" and said its purpose was "the stifling of criticism and dissent of the religious practices of Scientology and the destruction of its opponents." She also ordered Scientology to pay the Post's attorneys' fees, and dismissed Scientology's claim that the disputed materials are "trade secrets".
_Washington_Post_ article about Brinkema's 11/28 decision.
MEMORANDUM OPINION IN SUPPORT OF ORDER OF SEPTEMBER 15, 1995 AND AMENDED ORDER OF NOVEMBER 29, 1995 (I. RTC'S EMERGENCY MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AND REHEARING ON RTC'S MOTION FOR TRO AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AGAINST DEFENDANTS THE WASHINGTON POST, FISHER AND LEIBY; and, II. RTC'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AGAINST LERMA AND DGS AND LERMA'S MOTION TO VACATE THE WRIT OF SEIZURE AND INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF PLAINTIFF'S BOND). A scathing indictment (in the figurative, non-legal sense) of CoS, who's motive in filing the suits against the Wash. Post defendants the judge labels "reprehensible". Brinkema completely rejects CoS's bogus freedom of religion arguments, and not only grants Lerma's motion, but DENIES each and every CoS motion. A sample quote: "[T]he Court is now convinced that the primary motivation of RTC in suing Lerma, DGS and The Post is to stifle criticism of Scientology in general and to harass its critics."
Commercial Internet eXchange Assoc. (CIX) amicus brief in support of Digital Gateway Systems in RTC v. Lerma, DGS, et al. Strongly pushes protection of system operators from liability for user actions.
_New_York_Times_ op-ed piece by EFF's Shari Steele, on CoS's legal assault against online critics & sysops, and Congress' attack against online free speech.
CoS press release on the Jan. 19 ruling in favor of RTC and against Arnaldo Lerma. This press release diverges from previous ones, having more factual information and less spin, though it does state "This is a significant decision not only for the Church of Scientology but all other intellectual property owners..." This is not true - the case was jurisprudentially routine, and established little or nothing in the way of new precedent. The aspects of the larger case that are interesting from a precedent and legal significance point of view - whether Digital Gateway Systems and the Washington Post could also be held liable - have already been resolved, and not in CoS's favor. The press release also of course neglects to mention the judge's chastisement of CoS for the improper raid on Lerma, and other significant aspects of the decision.
Tom Klemesrud press release regarding his settlement with the Church of Scientology.

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