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California AB 3109 limiting settlements

Discussion in 'Legal and Government Actions Involving Scientology' started by TheOriginalBigBlue, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    Maybe things just became a little more difficult for Scientology in California…

    Assembly Bill No. 3109
    CHAPTER 949
    An act to add Section 1670.11 to the Civil Code, relating to contracts.
    [ Approved by Governor September 30, 2018. Filed with Secretary of State September 30, 2018. ]


    SECTION 1. Section 1670.11 is added to the Civil Code, to read:

    1670.11. Notwithstanding any other law, a provision in a contract or settlement agreement entered into on or after January 1, 2019, that waives a party’s right to testify in an administrative, legislative, or judicial proceeding concerning alleged criminal conduct or alleged sexual harassment on the part of the other party to the contract or settlement agreement, or on the part of the agents or employees of the other party, when the party has been required or requested to attend the proceeding pursuant to a court order, subpoena, or written request from an administrative agency or the legislature, is void and unenforceable.
    Leland, hummingbird and Type4_PTS like this.
  2. Type4_PTS

    Type4_PTS Diamond Invictus SP

    This should help any new people getting sucked into the cult beginning next month but doesn't affect anyone who signed an agreement in the past.

    California should have made this retroactive. :yes:
    Leland likes this.
  3. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    That probably would have resulted in a lot of lawsuits which would hang this up in court for years.

    This looks to be inspired by the Weinstein thing. I am rather enjoying how Weinstein revealed to the world how businesses have adopted the use of NDAs to cover up internal abuses and because this is one of Scientology's key defenses, their damage control program is being inadvertently caught up in the backlash.

    It's the same with privacy laws being adopted in response to big tech's abuse. Scientology is also a dossier building activity and this too will be effected.

    Hubbard was ahead of his time in using legal loopholes and maneuvering to protect the organization from culpability for things that were clearly abusive but as long as it was limited to the small population of Scientologists the rest of the world didn't know or care. Hubbard's lawyers couldn't have been unique in this thinking so it makes sense that over time other organizations would adopt these measures to the point where they effect everyone.

    This law pertains to settlements but in Scientology it is common practice to have people sign NDAs as a prerequisite to participating in things like special projects, mission or posts so if that entails doing something illegal like covering up LRH's direct management of the organization then that might make the contract void.

    And if a contract is impossible to perform then that might make it void also, which makes me wonder if Hubbard deliberately wanted Sea Org contracts to be unenforceable since it is impossible to fulfill a billion year term.

    The other shoe is dropping.
    Leland and Type4_PTS like this.
  4. Type4_PTS

    Type4_PTS Diamond Invictus SP

    I'm not sure what Hubbard wanted, but Jeffrey Augustine wrote an interesting piece about how attorneys for Scientology have argued contradictory things in court with regards to the Sea Org:


    How Scientology changes its story to fit what it’s trying to get away with

    Former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder recently reported that church lawyer Gary Soter had sent a threat letter to former Scientology executive Dan Koon.

    The church had learned that Koon helped Ron Miscavige Sr., the father of Scientology leader David Miscavige, write his memoir, which is due to come out in 2016. In his letter, Soter informed Koon that by merely helping Ron write his book, he was in violation of nondisclosure agreements and bonds he had signed as a Scientology officer. Those documents Koon had signed carried heavy penalties for violating their terms, Soter claimed.

    On March 12, 1980 you agreed to pay $5,000,000 in liquidated damages for “breach of security of the CMO INT or any units working under CMO INT. This would include anything heard with regards to work…”

    Sea Org members make about $40 per week — when they’re paid at all — but Scientology expects its indentured servants to pay a $5,000,000 penalty for breaking the Sea Org’s rules. What really stood out, however, was something else Soter included in his letter. Can you spot it?

    On May 12, 2000 you signed a “Declaration of Religious Commitment and Membership in the Sea Organization. Paragraph 8 of that Agreement states: “I agree to maintain the confidentiality of all communications…all documents, all files, all mailing lists and all other material not commonly offered to the public for sale or use…which may come into my knowledge or possession in the course of my services as a member of the Sea Organization…”

    You might remember that we’ve pointed out before how David Miscavige’s attorney, Lamont Jefferson, has said in official court documents that the Sea Org has no legal standing and has no members. Here’s what Jefferson wrote in a filing in Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit against Miscavige…

    Plaintiff asserts that Mr. Miscavige exercised control because he leads the Sea Organization, a religious order within Scientology. But the ‘Sea Org’ is not a corporate entity; it has no physical or legal existence. It is not incorporated or established pursuant to legal formalities. It has no constitution, charter or bylaws, and no formal or informal ecclesiastical, corporate, or other management structure. It has no directors, officers, managing agents, or other executives; no employees, staff members, or volunteers; no income; no disbursements, no bank accounts or other assets; no liabilities; no stationery; no office, home, address, or telephone number. It does not create or maintain any financial, personnel, or other records. It can neither give nor receive orders because it has no one to either give or receive them or to carry them out. It cannot sue or be sued.

    What Jefferson told a Texas court aligns with what the Church told the IRS to get its tax exempt status in 1993:

    Although there is no such “organization” as the Sea Organization, the term Sea Org has a colloquial usage which implies that there is. There are general recruitment posters and literature for “The Sea Org” which implies that people will be employed by the Sea Org when in reality they will join, making the billion year commitment, at some church that is staffed by Sea Org members and become employees of that church corporation.

    So, while Scientology tells courts and governments that its Sea Org has no legal reality and no members, it tells Sea Org members like Dan Koon something very different.

    Full Post:
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
    TheOriginalBigBlue likes this.
  5. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    I'm familiar with Jeffrey's excellent work on this point. I think they have consistently tweaked their contracts over the decades to try to make them more ironclad or convincing, but I am not familiar with cases where these NDAs and non-disparagement contracts have actually been upheld in court. My impression is they get settled because they don't want details getting into court records.

    To my thinking, it is like the mob having a gangster sign a contract that they won't talk about participating in extortion as part of their job. Technically the mob doesn't exist either but members can be employed and have contractual relations with their waste disposal company. If you force someone to be on the RPF or locked up for PTS Type III handling are you doing that in the capacity of an employee for ASHO or Gold, etc. or as a legally non-existent Sea Org member (read: mob). That would probably constitute a problem for Scientology because if it can be said you did something illegal as an employee of ASHO then ASHO can be held responsible but if you did it as a Sea Org member then you acted independently. An ASHO staff member can also be commandeered by Flag Bureaux or the CLO for special projects or missions at any time and while on mission their pay still comes from ASHO so if they do something illegal is ASHO, Flag Bureaux or the individual responsible? If I were the COS I wouldn't want all that dragged out in court.

    In either case, I think society is slowly catching up to this kind of thing and inadvertently encroaching on Scientology's game.
    Type4_PTS likes this.
  6. Type4_PTS

    Type4_PTS Diamond Invictus SP

    I came across a page with a link to 50 web forums for attorneys and law students over here:

    I'm wondering whether it would be a good idea to have this type of discussion on one of these types of forums that was receptive to it? Or could it help the mob cult attorneys if that were done?
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
  7. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    Just for the hell of it I ran a search for "Scientology" on some of the sites. There are some interesting posts.
    dchoiceisalwaysrs and Type4_PTS like this.
  8. freethinker

    freethinker Sponsor

    How many people think the new version of the statute is more restrictive than the prior version?

    The first version prevented it in all contracts. The second version only prevented in cases of requests or orders to appear before a administrative or judicial or government proceeding, leaving out contracts where a request or subpoena was omitted or never issued.
  9. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    What first version are you referring to?
  10. freethinker

    freethinker Sponsor

  11. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    OK, so in the upper right corner there is a drop down window for "Version" that shows it was introduced with this much broader wording. But I can see how the original wording would be challenged in court and maybe they didn't have the votes for it. NDAs and non-disparagement agreements have become so ubiquitous that I'm guessing a lot of politicians don't want to see them so limited.

    The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

    SECTION 1.
    Section 1670.11 is added to the Civil Code, to read:

    (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a contract or settlement agreement entered into on or after January 1, 2019, that does either of the following is void and unenforceable:
    (1) Waives a party’s right of petition or free speech under the United States Constitution or the California Constitution in connection with a public issue.
    (2) Restricts a party’s right to seek employment or reemployment in any lawful occupation or profession.
    (b) As used in this section, a party’s right of petition or free speech under the United States Constitution or the California Constitution in connection with a public issue includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:
    (1) Any written or oral statement or writing made before a legislative, executive, or judicial proceeding, or any other official proceeding authorized by law.
    (2) Any written or oral statement or writing made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law.
    (3) Any written or oral statement or writing made in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest.
    (4) Any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of petition or the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.
  12. freethinker

    freethinker Sponsor

    There are methods, such as taking someone to court by filing a complaint if there has been a crime committed or sexual misconduct has occurred. The courts are the proving grounds for allegations, whether there are facts and evidence to back up the claims or whether the claims themselves are harassment.

    This new law in California impairs the obligation of contracts, it allows the state to subpoena people to appear before government officials based on an allegation to give testimony to the effect and to declare a contract unenforceable if it contains a clause restricting someone from waiving their right to be subpoenaed to testify to the government about an allegation. That is an impairment.

    In this day and age, sexual harassment can be claimed for just about anything against anyone just by asserting it. Bret Kavanaugh was such a victim of an allegation that he raped Christine Ford based solely on her allegation alone with no supporting witnesses or evidence.

    It is allowing the state government to compel testimony that THEY can decide is valid or not as regards an allegation. This bypasses the purpose of the courts and due process because only one side of a story is being heard and decided upon by those who are not part of the judicial system; the executive and administrative departments of government.
  13. CaliMule

    CaliMule Work Hard and Bray

    This is ALREADY the law in California, having been so ever since California became a republic that adopted the common law of England as its basic decisional law in the 1800s. Also, every other state in the United States similarly is founded on the common law of England as its basic decisional law, and similar rules apply. Lastly, every other nation, including England, that is founded on the common law of England has long had this law in place, mostly.

    You never could have an enforceable contract in California that is fundamentally contrary to public policy, the conception of the welfare of the entire commonwealth. Such contract elements have always been void, and you never could make a valid contract that would deprive law enforcement or the courts from cooperation of one of the contracting parties.

    What this does is make that ancient law now easily found in a statutory law book rather than an average person having to read through massive collections of cases to find the judicial rulings that enforce and interpret this ancient law. Most lay people find that too difficult a task, though now that Google puts case law on line maybe that will ease up.

    Here is a very learned paper on the whole topic of contractual silence in the US for those who'd like to read deeply: