Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 20

Electronically FILED by Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles on 02/13/2020 03:48 PM Sherri R.

Carter, Executive Officer/Clerk of Court, by S. Bolden,Deputy Clerk

1 SCHEPER KIM & HARRIS LLP


WILLIAM H. FORMAN (State Bar No. 150477)
2 wforman@scheperkim.com
DAVID C. SCHEPER (State Bar No. 120174)
3 dscheper@scheperkim.com
MARGARET E. DAYTON (State Bar No. 274353)
4 pdayton@scheperkim.com
800 West Sixth Street, 18th Floor
5 Los Angeles, California 90017-2701
Telephone: (213) 613-4655
6 Facsimile: (213) 613-4656

7 Attorneys for Defendants Church of Scientology


International and Celebrity Centre International
8
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
9
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES, CENTRAL DISTRICT
10

11
CHRISSIE CARNEL BIXLER; CEDRIC CASE NO. 19STCV29458
12 BIXLER-ZAVALA; JANE DOE #1; MARIE Assigned to Hon. Steven J. Kleifield,
BOBETTE RIALES; and JANE DOE #2, Dept. 57
13
Plaintiff, DEFENDANTS CHURCH OF
14 SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL'S
v. AND CELEBRITY CENTRE
15 INTERNATIONAL’S OPPOSITION TO
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION
16 INTERNATIONAL; RELIGIOUS FOR AN ORDER SHORTENING TIME
TECHNOLOGY CENTER; CHURCH OF TO HEAR PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR
17 SCIENTOLOGY CELEBRITY CENTRE LEAVE TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
INTERNATIONAL; DAVID MISCAVIGE; REGARDING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS
18 DANIEL MASTERSON; and DOES 1-25, TO COMPEL ARBITRATION

19 Defendants. Date: February 14, 2020


Time: 8:30 a.m.
20

21
Complaint Filed: August 22, 2019
22

23

24

25

26

27

28
1
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
2
I.  INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................3 
3
II.  STATEMENT OF FACTS.....................................................................................................4 
4
III.  ARGUMENT .........................................................................................................................7 
5
A.  Plaintiff Has Not Demonstrated Ex Parte Relief Is Appropriate, and The
6 Court Should Deny the Application on Procedural Grounds .....................................7 

7 B.  The Ex Parte Application Should Be Denied Because the Motion For Leave
To Conduct Discovery Is Meritless and Futile.........................................................10 
8
1.  The Questions On Which Plaintiffs Seek Discovery Are For the
9 Arbitrator, And Not the Court, Therefore The Discovery Seeks
Irrelevant Information and Is Unnecessary ..................................................10 
10
2.  Pre-Arbitration Discovery Is Not Appropriate .............................................13 
11
IV.  CONCLUSION ....................................................................................................................17 
12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28
2
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 I. INTRODUCTION

2 The Plaintiffs’ Ex Parte Application is nothing but a last minute attempt to delay a briefing

3 schedule on motions to arbitrate that they themselves agreed to. What is not in the application is

4 more telling than its contents. Plaintiffs fail to inform the Court that Judge Burdge, in Department

5 37 of the Los Angeles Superior Court, already has rejected both a similar ex parte request for

6 discovery in opposition to Defendants’ motions to compel religious arbitration and similar

7 arguments that such agreements are unenforceable. At the same January 30, 2020 hearing in which

8 he denied a similar ex parte request for discovery by Plaintiffs’ counsel, Judge Burdge granted

9 Defendants’ motions to compel religious arbitration based on similar arbitration agreements. (See

10 Exhibit H to the concurrently-filed Declaration of William H. Forman.) The same delay in

11 requesting relief, failure to substantiate a need for discovery, and facial irrelevance of the

12 “information” sought doomed Plaintiffs’ counsel’s ex parte application for discovery in

13 Department 37, and dooms it here.

14 On December 11, 2019, counsel for Defendant Church of Scientology International

15 (“CSI”) and Celebrity Center (“CC”) made a formal demand on Plaintiffs to arbitrate this matter

16 and provided Plaintiffs’ counsel with arbitration agreements. At a meet-and-confer the next day,

17 CSI, CC, and counsel for Defendant Religious Technology Center (“RTC”) again advised counsel

18 for Plaintiffs that the claims were subject to religious arbitration. On January 6, 2020, CSI, CC,

19 and RTC filed and served their Motions to Compel Arbitration. On January 14, 2020, one month

20 ago today, the Court at a Case Management Conference consolidated the hearing dates on the

21 Motions to Compel Arbitration to March 27, 2020, without any objection from Plaintiffs’ counsel.

22 And then, just two days later, Plaintiffs’ counsel agreed to a briefing schedule on the Motions to

23 Compel Arbitration, where Plaintiffs’ Oppositions would be due on March 6, 2020, instead of the

24 date required under the Code (March 16). But just today, Plaintiffs have filed an ex parte

25 application to shorten time to hear a motion to conduct vague, unlimited discovery in opposition to

26 the Motions to Compel Arbitration. This eleventh-hour attempt to derail the noticed hearings and a

27 briefing schedule that Plaintiffs agreed to should be rejected for several independent reasons.

28 First, the Notice of Ex Parte Application is inadequate. Plaintiffs are seeking an “order
3
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 shortening time” to hear their motion for leave to conduct discovery, but have not proposed a

2 shortened briefing schedule or a hearing date. Defendants – and the Court – have no idea what

3 Plaintiffs actually are asking for. Second, Plaintiffs have made no affirmative showing under CRC

4 3.1202(c) that they would suffer “irreparable harm” or “immediate danger” in the absence of ex

5 parte relief. All they have provided is a declaration from their counsel reciting the “irreparable

6 harm” language of CRC 3.1202(c), and a statement that as of now the soonest hearing date for a

7 motion for leave to conduct discovery is April 1. Plaintiffs have known Defendants intended to

8 move to compel arbitration since December 11, 2019. On January 10, 2020, Plaintiffs raised with

9 Defendants the possibility of conducting discovery, and Defendants rejected that. Plaintiffs then

10 agreed to file their Oppositions to the Motions to Compel Arbitration on March 6. Yet they come

11 into this Court today seeking to have a discovery motion heard on shortened notice. This is not a

12 record of irreparable harm, but of delay and waiver.

13 Third, while CSI, CC, and RTC should not be forced to respond to the merits of Plaintiffs’

14 motion for leave to conduct discovery on an ex parte basis or on shortened notice, they do note

15 that the relief Plaintiffs seek is futile. The broad, undefined discovery Plaintiffs seek is not

16 necessary, relevant, or appropriate. For instance, Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to conduct discovery

17 does not identify a single passage in the Motions to Compel Arbitration that creates a need for

18 discovery. Indeed, Plaintiffs’ counsel made a very similar ex parte request of Judge Burdge in

19 Department 37, and Judge Burdge denied the application as failing to show irreparable harm,

20 failing to explain the delay in bringing the application, and failing to establish any need for

21 discovery. This Court should likewise deny the Application outright, and not permit Plaintiffs’

22 tactics to delay the briefing schedule they agreed to.

23 II. STATEMENT OF FACTS

24 This matter was filed on August 22, 2019. Plaintiffs did not attempt service until October

25 10, 2020, which service attempts caused Defendants to file Motions to Quash based on

26 demonstrably false proofs of service. Tacitly acknowledging the fraudulent service, Plaintiffs

27 served the registered agents for CSI, CC, and RTC in November 2019. (Declaration of William H.

28 Forman (“Forman Dec.”), ¶ 2, filed herewith.)


4
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 On December 11, 2019, counsel for CSI and CC made a formal demand to arbitrate and

2 provided arbitration agreements to Plaintiffs’ counsel. (Id. ¶ 3, Ex. A.) On December 12, 2019,

3 counsel for CSI, CC, and RTC participated in a telephonic meet and confer with Plaintiffs’

4 counsel. CSI, CC, and RTC informed Plaintiffs’ counsel about the anticipated motions to compel

5 arbitration of CSI, CC, and RTC. (Id. ¶ 4.)

6 On January 6, 2020, CSI, CC, and RTC filed and served their Motions to Compel

7 Arbitration as to Plaintiffs Chrissie Bixler, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Jane Doe #1, and Jane Doe #2.

8 CSI’s and CC’s Motions to Compel Arbitration were noticed for March 24 and 25, 2020, and

9 RTC’s Motions were noticed for March 26 and March 27, 2020. (Id. ¶ 5.) Each of those Motions

10 also contains motions to stay this matter pursuant to CCP Section 1281.41 and under federal law.

11 (Id.)

12 On Friday, January 10, 2020, counsel for Plaintiffs sent emails to counsel for CSI

13 regarding this matter and regarding the matter of Haney v. Church of Scientology International, et

14 al., Case No 19STCV21210 (L.A. Super Ct.) (the “Haney” Case), in which CSI and RTC also

15 filed Motions to Compel Arbitration. Counsel’s email for this matter states, “Please let me know if

16 your client will stipulate to continue the hearing on its motion to compel arbitration to allow

17 plaintiff to conduct discovery relating to the purported arbitration agreements. Please let me know

18 by end of business on Tuesday [January 14].” (Forman Dec. ¶ 6, Ex. B.) No description was given

19 of the discovery sought. An identical e-mail was sent with respect to the Haney matter, except that

20 it requested a reply by the close of business on Monday, instead of Tuesday. (Id.)

21 Counsel for Defendants replied on the following Monday, January 13 to the Haney email:

22 “We cannot agree to continue the hearing date. Any discovery must be with leave of court and

23 you have not made any such motion or sought to meet and confer on any such motion.” (Id. ¶ 6,

24 Ex. C.) The same reasoning applied to counsel’s request for discovery in this matter. While

25

26 1
A stay is mandatory. Code of Civil Procedure Section 128.14 provides in pertinent part as
follows: “If an application has been made to a court of competent jurisdiction . . . for an order to
27 arbitrate a controversy . . . the court in which such action or proceeding is pending shall, upon

28 motion of a party to such action or proceeding, stay the action or proceeding until the application
for an order to arbitrate is determined . . .’ (emphasis added).
5
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 Plaintiffs’ counsel did not respond to the January 13 email, they did acknowledge at a January 14

2 Case Management Conference (“CMC”) in this matter that counsel for Defendants had rejected

3 the request to stipulate to a continuance of the hearing date on the Motions to Compel Arbitration,

4 as discussed below.

5 On January 14, 2020, -- four days following Plaintiffs’ counsel’s statement that Plaintiffs

6 wanted to conduct discovery in connection with the Motions to Compel Arbitration, -- the Court

7 conducted a CMC in this matter. At the January 14, 2020 CMC, the Court asked Plaintiffs’

8 counsel her position on the filed Motions to Compel Arbitration. Plaintiffs’ counsel responded:

9 “We are not agreeing to the arbitration. We plan to oppose it, and we actually contacted defense

10 counsel trying to stipulate to have the motion to compel arbitration put at a later date because we

11 wanted to be able to conduct limited discovery on the arbitration agreements prior to filing the

12 opposition, but they did not want to do that.” (Forman Dec. ¶ 7, Ex. D at 12:-24-13:3.) That was

13 the sum total of what Plaintiffs’ counsel said on the issue. During the CMC, Plaintiffs’ counsel at

14 no time stated that, after Defense counsel’s refusal to stipulate to a continued hearing date, they

15 intended to file a motion to compel discovery, or ask for a hearing date on such motion. Also at

16 the CMC of January 14, 2020, the Court consolidated the hearings on the Motions to Compel to

17 March 27, 2020. Counsel for Plaintiffs did not object to this date. (Id. ¶ 8.)

18 Pursuant to the Court’s request at the CMC that the parties agree to a briefing schedule that

19 would allow the Court more time to review filings than permitted under the Code of Civil

20 Procedure, on January 15, 2020, counsel for CSI and CC sent a proposed briefing schedule to all

21 counsel as part of a draft Notice of Ruling at Case Management Conference. CSI’s and CC’s

22 January 15, 2020 email stated:

23 Attached is my notice of ruling based on the Court’s CMC yesterday. You will recall that
the court asked the parties if they could come up with dates for the filing of opposition
24 papers and replies that were in advance of the statutory deadlines to give him more time to
review papers. I have put in proposed dates for each of the motions to be heard in March (I
25 think it is too late to do anything about advancing filing dates for the Motion to
quash/sanctions as your opp is due next week). Let me know your thoughts when you are
26 able.

27 (Id. ¶ 9, Ex. E.)

28 The draft Notice of Ruling at Case Management Conference contained the dates for
6
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 various hearings, including the March 27 hearing on the Motions to Compel Arbitration, with a

2 proposed stipulated Opposition date of March 6, 2020. Counsel for Plaintiff agreed to the briefing

3 dates and assented to the filing of the Notice. (Id. ¶ 10, Ex. F.) Plaintiffs’ counsel never responded

4 that a March 6, 2020 Opposition date would not work because they intended to seek discovery

5 before the filing of the Opposition. The Notice of Ruling at Case Management Conference was

6 filed and served on January 17, 2020. (Id. ¶ 10, Ex. G.)

7 On January 30, 2020, Plaintiffs’ counsel appeared ex parte in Department 37 in the Haney

8 Case to seek discovery to oppose pending motions to compel arbitration there. (Id. Ex. J.) The ex

9 parte application for discovery in Haney was very similar to the ex parte application filed in this

10 matter. (Id. ¶ 12, Ex. J.) Judge Burdge denied the application. He found that that there was no

11 showing of irreparable harm, no explanation as to the reason for delay between the time of the

12 filing of the motions to compel arbitration and the request for discovery, and no showing that the

13 discovery was necessary. (Id. ¶ 12, Ex. H at 1.)2

14 On the evening of February 12, 2020, Defense counsel received Plaintiffs’ Ex Parte

15 Application for Order Shortening Time. This was the first time since January 10 that Plaintiffs’

16 counsel had stated an intent to conduct discovery in connection with the Motions to Compel

17 Arbitration. (Id. ¶ 11.) Indeed, Defense counsel had surmised that Plaintiffs had abandoned the

18 plan to conduct discovery in light of Plaintiffs’ counsel’s acknowledgment at the CMC of January

19 14 that Defense counsel had rejected the suggestion to continue the hearing date on the Motions to

20 Compel Arbitration, Plaintiffs’ counsel’s failure to object at the CMC to a consolidated hearing

21 date of March 27 for the Motions to Compel Arbitration, and Plaintiffs’ counsels’ assent to the

22 briefing schedule on the Motions to Compel Arbitration. (Id.) Finally, Plaintiffs must know that

23 their application and request for discovery are futile in light of Judge Burdge’s rejection of similar

24 relief. Thus, the only purpose of this exercise can be delay.

25 III. ARGUMENT

26 A. Plaintiff Has Not Demonstrated Ex Parte Relief Is Appropriate, and The Court

27
2
28 Judge Burdge also directed Plaintiffs’ counsel to give notice of the ruling on the ex parte
application. (Forman Dec. ¶ 12, Ex. H at 1.) They never did so.
7
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 Should Deny the Application on Procedural Grounds

2 CSI, CC, and RTC have filed motions to compel arbitration, which also include motions

3 for mandatory stay Code of Civil Procedure Section 1281.4 and federal law. (Forman Dec. ¶ 5.)

4 Plaintiffs are seeking to conduct extensive discovery on topics that necessarily involve

5 entanglement with the internal affairs of a church. Any motion to conduct such discovery, and to

6 continue the date for the hearings on the Motions to Compel, should have been brought, if at all, as

7 a noticed motion and not on a shortened basis.

8 As a preliminary matter, the Ex Parte Application fails to give adequate notice. California

9 Rule of Court provides that ex parte notice must state “with specificity the nature of the relief to

10 be requested.” CRC 3.1204(a)(1). Plaintiffs’ Application does no such thing. It is styled as an

11 application for an “order shortening time” to hear the motion for leave to conduct discovery, but

12 does not propose a hearing date or any briefing dates on the motion for leave. Defendants and the

13 Court have no idea what relief Plaintiffs are seeking. Do they want the motion for leave to be

14 heard at the time of the hearing on the Motions to Compel Arbitration, or sometime in advance of

15 that, or even before the time their Opposition is due on March 6? And how do they propose to

16 conduct discovery in advance of the hearing on the Motions to Compel Arbitration on March 273

17 (including serving interrogatories and requests for production), when they expressly have not

18 sought a continuance of that date in their Application or [Proposed] Order? The Application must

19 be rejected out-of-hand for its vagueness.

20 Plaintiffs also fail to fulfill the substantive requirements for ex parte relief. California Rule

21 of Court 3.1202(c) sets forth the affirmative factual showing required for a party seeking relief on

22 an ex parte basis, rather than on a normal noticed motion:

23 An applicant must make an affirmative factual showing in a declaration containing


competent testimony based on personal knowledge of irreparable harm, immediate danger,
24 or any other statutory basis for granting ex parte relief.

25 CRC 3.1202(c).

26

27 3
Plaintiffs are seeking not only depositions of unnamed witnesses, but leave to serve requests for
28 admissions, requests for production, and interrogatories. (Declaration of Robert W. Thompson
(“Thompson Dec.”) ¶ 3.) Such proposed discovery will take at least several months.
8
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 The Ex Parte Application completely fails to do this. Plaintiffs’ counsel repeats the

2 language of the statute by claiming, “Plaintiffs will be irreparably harmed if the ex parte

3 application is not granted because they will be unable to move the court for leave to conduct

4 discovery concerning the entities and circumstances involved in the alleged formation of the

5 arbitration contracts before the hearing on Defendants’ Motions to Compel Arbitration.”

6 (Thompson Dec. ¶ 7.) Quoting the language of the statute is not “competent testimony based on

7 personal knowledge.” Certainly Plaintiffs’ counsel cannot be asserting that the potential of losing

8 the motions to compel arbitration constitutes “irreparable harm” as then any party facing a hearing

9 on a noticed motion would have a basis for an ex parte continuance. Plaintiffs’ counsel also makes

10 no effort to show why any discovery at all is necessary to oppose the motions to arbitrate. He has

11 not identified any disputed issue of fact. He has simply made a statement of exigence based on his

12 own say-so.

13 The fact is that if there is any “irreparable harm” here, it is entirely of counsel’s own

14 making. Plaintiffs’ counsel knew as of December 11, 2019 that Defendants were asserting

15 Plaintiffs’ claims were subject to religious arbitration. There was a meet and confer on the

16 arbitration motions on December 12, 2019. Plaintiffs were served with the motions to arbitrate on

17 January 6, 2019, and even at that time could have filed a noticed motion for discovery. Plaintiffs

18 appeared at the CMC and made no request for a hearing on discovery. They stood by without

19 objection as the Court consolidated the Motions to Compel Arbitration for a March 27 hearing.

20 They then agreed to file their Oppositions to the Motions on March 6, 2020, ten days in advance

21 of the statutory deadline. Most tellingly, Mr. Thompson asserts that the soonest the motion for

22 leave to conduct discovery can be heard is April 1, 2020, without once saying when he first tried

23 to secure a date for a hearing on a discovery motion. (Thompson Dec. ¶ 7.) But of course, the

24 motion for leave to conduct discovery cannot be heard until April 1 when counsel did nothing

25 before now to file the motion.

26 Finally, CSI, CC, and RTC are severely prejudiced by Plaintiffs’ attempts to obtain

27 discovery on such open-ended topics as “the entities” involved in the agreements with Plaintiffs

28 without a statutorily-noticed motion and some articulation of what discovery Plaintiff actually
9
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 wants to conduct and why. Plaintiffs have raised arguments in the motion for leave to conduct

2 discovery that certain Plaintiffs were “brainwashed” into signing agreements with CSI, and

3 otherwise subject to Church policy that amounted to duress. But discovery on such issues

4 necessarily involves complicated issues of Church/State relations, which courts have warned lead

5 to excessive entanglements in Church affairs. In Katz v. Superior Court, 73 Cal. App.3d 952, 987

6 (1977), the Court held that the First Amendment prohibits a conservatorship order sought by

7 parents of adult members of the Unification Church contending that the Church had subjected

8 them to “coercive persuasion.” Plaintiff parents had presented evidence that their adult children

9 had changed their lifestyle after joining Church, and that such change was due to coercive

10 methods. The court responded to this line of argument: “When the court is asked to determine

11 whether that change [in lifestyle] was induced by faith or by coercive persuasion is it not in turn

12 investigating and questioning the validity of that faith?” Plaintiffs’ ex parte demand for an

13 undefined but accelerated briefing schedule for discovery about the “circumstances” regarding

14 Plaintiffs’ enrollment in a religion immediately involves complicated and important issues that

15 cannot be resolved on “emergency” briefing.

16 B. The Ex Parte Application Should Be Denied Because the Motion For Leave To

17 Conduct Discovery Is Meritless and Futile

18 As Judge Burdge in Department 37 has already ruled on a similar motion by Plaintiffs’

19 counsel in the Haney Case, Plaintiffs’ requested discovery is not required to determine

20 Defendants’ Motions to Compel Religious Arbitration. Because even a cursory review of

21 Plaintiff’s proposed Motion for Leave to Conduct Discovery demonstrates that it is meritless and

22 futile, the Court need not hear it. Nonetheless, CSI and CC expressly reserve the right to file a full

23 opposition to the Motion for Leave to Conduct Discovery if the Court grants Plaintiffs’ ex parte

24 request and sets a hearing date for it.

25 1. The Questions On Which Plaintiffs Seek Discovery Are For the Arbitrator,

26 And Not the Court, Therefore The Discovery Seeks Irrelevant Information

27 and Is Unnecessary

28 Plaintiffs seek to take depositions and serve a full battery of written discovery “concerning
10
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 the entities and circumstances involved in the alleged formation of the arbitration agreements.”

2 (Pl.’s XPA at 2:17-19.) Plaintiff contends that this discovery is relevant to “whether the

3 agreements are unconscionable and/or were procured by duress.” (Id. at 4:20-24.) The arbitrator,

4 and not the Court, must decide the issues of unconscionability and duress; therefore, the requested

5 discovery is irrelevant to the motions to compel arbitration, and the Court should not permit such

6 unnecessary and irrelevant discovery.

7 Plaintiffs’ proposed Motion for Leave to Conduct Discovery makes clear that Plaintiffs

8 intend to assert defenses of “brainwash[ing],” duress, and unconcionability to the contracts as a

9 whole. (Thompson Ex. B at 3:5-6 (arguing that Defendants “brainwashed Plaintiffs and forced

10 them to sign many documents under duress and threats of violence” (emphasis added); id. at 3:6-8

11 (challenging release provisions unrelated to arbitration clause); id. at 3:15-17 (claiming services

12 were not actually rendered under the agreements).) Any argument that the agreements as a whole

13 are invalid must be resolved in arbitration. Simula, Inc. v. Autoliv, Inc., 175 F.3d 716, 726 (9th

14 Cir. 1999) (citing Prima Paint Corp. v. Flood & Conklin Mfg. Co., 388 U.S. 395, 403-04 (1967))

15 (stating that challenges to the agreement as a whole, including economic duress and fraudulent

16 inducement “are questions for the arbitrator); Rent-a-Center, W., Inc. v. Jackson, 561 U.S. 63

17 (2010).

18 Even if Plaintiff’s arguments specifically challenged the arbitration clause or the scope of

19 the arbitration clause, the question would still be for the arbitrator to determine because the

20 agreements delegate the question of arbitrability to the arbitrator. Parties may agree to delegate

21 threshold questions of arbitrability, including unconscionability and duress, to the arbitrator, “so

22 long as the parties’ agreement does so by ‘clear and unmistakable evidence.’” Henry Schein, Inc.

23 v. Archer & White Sales, Inc., 139 S. Ct. 524, 530 (2019); Momot v. Mastro, 652 F.3d 982, 987

24 (9th Cir. 2011). There is not any specifically-required language to accomplish such delegation, and

25 the agreement need not expressly reference “arbitrability” for arbitrability to be delegated. Esquer

26 v. Edu. Mgmt. Corp., 292 F. Supp. 3d 1005, 1011 (N. D. Cal. 2017) (citing Brennan v. Opus Bank,

27 796 F.3d 1125, 1130-32 (9th Cir. 2015)). Indeed, “clear and unmistakable evidence” need not be

28 language at all, and can even be shown through a “course of conduct.” Momot v. Mastro, 652 F.3d
11
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 982, 988 (9th Cir. 2011).

2 The relevant agreements “clearly and unmistakably” delegate arbitrability to the

3 arbitrators. The agreements contain broad arbitration provisions and expressly disclaim any

4 involvement at all by secular courts. For example, Plaintiff Chrissie Bixler, Plaintiff Cedric

5 Bixler-Zavala, and Jane Doe #1’s Agreements state:

6 6. This Contract memorializes my freely given consent to be bound exclusively by the


discipline, faith, internal organization, and ecclesiastical rule, custom, and law of the
7 Scientology religion in all matters relating to Scientology Religious Services, in all my
dealings of any nature with the Church, and in all my dealings of any nature with any
8 other Scientology church or organization which espouses, presents, propagates or
practices the Scientology religion. By signing this Contract, I recognize, acknowledge
9 and agree that:

10 a. My freely given consent to be bound exclusively by the discipline, faith, internal


organization, and ecclesiastical rule, custom, and law of the Scientology religion in all
11 matters relating to Scientology Religious Services, in all my dealings of any nature with
the Church, and in all my dealings of any nature with any other Scientology church or
12 organization which espouses, presents, propagates or practices the Scientology religion
means that I am forever abandoning, surrendering, waiving, and relinquishing my right
13 to sue, or otherwise seek legal recourse with respect to any dispute, claim or controversy
against the Church, all other Scientology churches, all other organizations which espouse,
14 present, propagate or practice the Scientology religion, an all persons employed by any
such entity both in their personal and any official or representative capacities
15
...
16
d. In accordance with the discipline, faith, internal organization, and ecclesiastical rule,
17 custom and law of the Scientology religion, and in accordance with the constitutional
prohibitions which forbid governmental interference with religious services or dispute
18 resolution procedures, should any dispute, claim or controversy arise between me and
the Church . . . which cannot be resolved informally by direct communication, I will
19 pursue resolution of that dispute, claim or controversy solely and exclusively through
Scientology’s internal Ethics, Justice and binding religious arbitration procedures,
20 which include application to senior ecclesiastical bodies, including, as necessary, final
submission of the dispute to the International Justice Chief of the Mother Church of the
21 Scientology religion, Church of Scientology International (“IJC”) or his or her designee.

22 (Declaration of M. Marmolejo (“Marmolejo Dec.”) Exs. 8-134 (Chrissie Bixler Agreements), Ex.

23 14 (Cedric Bixler Agreement) at ¶ 6 (emphases added); Declaration of S. Heller (“Heller Dec.”)

24 Ex. 7 (Jane Doe #1 Agreement) at ¶ 6.) Jane Doe #2’s Agreements state:

25 I understand and acknowledge that because of the constitutional prohibitions which


forbid governmental interference with religious services or dispute resolution
26 procedures, that in the event that I have any dispute, claim or controversy with the Church
including, but not limited to any dispute, claim or controversy arising under this
27
4
28 The Declaration of Margaret Marmolejo and the Declaration of Sarah Heller and the Exhibits
thereto were filed concurrently with CSI and CC’s Motions to Compel Arbitration.
12
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 Application/Agreement or in connection with my participation in the Service, which
cannot be resolved informally by direct communication, resolution of that dispute, claim
2 or controversy may be pursued solely through the internal procedures of the Church’s
Ethics, Justice and Binding Religious Arbitration system. Moreover, I hereby expressly
3 agree that any controversy arising under this Application/Agreement or in connection with
my participation in the Service shall be resolved by such Binding Religious Arbitration.
4

5
MOREOVER, I UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT BY SIGNING AND
6 SUBMITTING THIS APPLICATION/AGREEMENT, I AM WAIVING ANY RIGHT
WHICH I MAY HAVE TO HAVE SUCH DISPUTES, CLAIMS OR
7 CONTROVERSIES DECIDED IN A COURT OF LAW BEFORE A JUDGE OR A
JUDGE AND JURY.
8
(Marmolejo Dec. Exs. 1-6 (Jane Doe #2 Agreements) at ¶¶ 9 (emphases added).)
9
All the agreements Plaintiffs signed contained these provisions. Here, the broad arbitration
10
provisions and the language expressly prohibiting any involvement whatsoever by secular courts
11
clearly and unmistakably evidences CSI, CC, and Plaintiffs’ intent to arbitrate all issues, including
12
the gateway questions of arbitrability. See Esquer, 292 F. Supp. 3d at 1011 (holding a broad
13
arbitration provision that “explicitly provides that ‘any dispute or claim between [the parties]
14
arising out of or relating to a student’s enrollment or attendance” regardless of when the dispute
15
arises must go to arbitration, delegates the question of arbitrability); Brennan, 796 F.3d at 1130-
16
32; Momot, 652 F.3d at 987. In the Haney Case, Judge Burdge agreed that CSI’s arbitration
17
agreement with Plaintiff Haney in that case delegated these same threshold questions to the
18
arbitrators. (Forman Dec. Ex. I at 6:22-7:1, 9:17-22.)
19
Because the issues on which Plaintiffs seek discovery, unconscionability, duress, and
20
scope must be decided by the arbitrator (not the Court) in this case, Plaintiffs’ requested discovery
21
is irrelevant to the issues before the Court on the Motions to Compel Arbitration. There is no
22
reason to delay these proceedings or hear – much less expedite – briefing regarding irrelevant
23
discovery.
24
2. Pre-Arbitration Discovery Is Not Appropriate
25
Under the Code of Civil Procedure and federal arbitration law, at the moving party’s
26
request, the court must stay the proceedings until the matter of arbitration is resolved, and if the
27
court compels arbitration, until that arbitration is compete. Civ. Proc. Code § 1281.4; Sparling v.
28
13
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 Hoffman Const. Co., Inc., 864 F.2d 635, 638 (9th Cir. 1988). Defendants’ Motions to Compel

2 Arbitration requested a stay, (Forman Dec. ¶ 5); and therefore, discovery is currently stayed in this

3 case.

4 Moreover, courts deny requests for discovery in connection with motions to compel

5 arbitration when: (1) the questions upon which discovery is sought are questions to be decided by

6 the arbitrator, Simula, Inc. v. Autoliv, Inc., 175 F.3d 716, 726 (9th Cir. 1999); (2) the discovery

7 “seek[s] information already within the personal knowledge of the party requesting discovery,”

8 Advocat Inc. v. Blanchard, No. 4:11-cv-00895, 2012 WL 1893735, at * 5 (E.D. Ark. May 24,

9 2012) (citing Bell v. Kock Foods of Miss., 358 Fed. App’x 498, 501 (5th Cir. 2009)) (add’l

10 citations omitted); (3) the proposed discovery would not provide “new information necessary for

11 the court to determine the issue[s]” presented on the motion for arbitration, Hodson v. DirecTV,

12 LLC, No. 12-02827, 2012 WL 5464615, at *8 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 8, 2012), McArdle v. AT&T

13 Mobility LLC, 2013 WL 1190277, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 21, 2013); and (4) the requested

14 discovery is too broad, Meyer v. T-Mobile USA Inc., No. C-10-05858, 2011 WL 4435810, at *10

15 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 23, 2011).

16 While one of these reasons would be sufficient, they are all present here. Although the

17 discovery Plaintiffs seek is a bit of a moving target, Plaintiffs’ Proposed Motion for Leave to

18 Conduct Discovery requests “limited arbitration discovery regarding [1] which Defendants are

19 parties to the alleged agreements, [2] the circumstances under which the alleged agreements were

20 executed, [3] the drafting and formation of the alleged agreements, [4] the services actually

21 rendered under the alleged agreements, and [5] the procedures under which the proceedings are

22 conducted pursuant to the alleged agreements.” (Thompson Dec. Ex. B at 4:1-6; see also Pl.’s

23 XPA at 3:3-7 (requesting discovery regarding the parties to the agreements, the execution

24 circumstances, and services rendered under them).) Plaintiffs request this discovery “to determine

25 whether the agreements are unconscionable and/or procured by duress, among other issues

26 relevant to the arbitration issue including the scope of such agreements.”5 (Thompson Dec. Ex. B

27
5
28 Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to Conduct Discovery reasserts Plaintiffs’ counsel’s inappropriate
14
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 at 5:23-26.)

2 First, as set forth above, the questions of unconscionability, duress, and scope must be

3 decided by the arbitrator, not the Court, and therefore, the requested discovery is irrelevant.

4 Second, the information on which Plaintiffs seek discovery falls into three broad

5 categories, on which discovery is not appropriate: (A) Information that is within Plaintiffs’ direct,

6 personal knowledge (the execution circumstances; the formation circumstances; the services

7 rendered); (B) Information that is contained within the agreements (which Defendants are parties

8 to the agreements; the procedures under which the proceedings are conducted); and (C)

9 Information that is entirely irrelevant (the drafting circumstances; the services rendered).

10 Accordingly, discovery on these issues is not necessary.

11 Plaintiffs were present when the agreements were executed; therefore, Plaintiffs have

12 personal knowledge of the execution and formation of the agreements. Similarly, Plaintiffs were

13 the recipients of and participants in the services rendered under the agreements; therefore,

14 Plaintiffs have personal knowledge of the services rendered under the agreements. Because this

15 information is within Plaintiffs’ knowledge, Plaintiff does not need to conduct discovery. See

16 Advocat Inc., 2012 WL 1893735, at * 5 (citing Bell, 358 Fed. App’x at 501 (add’l citations

17 omitted). Indeed, Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to Conduct Discovery makes scurrilous and false

18 allegations regarding these exact topics. In it Plaintiffs claim that they were forced to sign the

19 agreements under duress and threats of violence, they were not given time to read the agreements

20 before signing, they signed them out of desperation and fear, and were not given an opportunity to

21 read them before signing. (Thompson Dec. Ex. B at 3:5-22.) Plaintiffs further claim that the

22 services were “never even rendered” under some of the agreements. (Id. at 3:15-17.) Plaintiffs’

23 own motion demonstrates they do not need discovery to make their baseless execution, formation,

24 and “services rendered” arguments.

25
claim that Defendants “brainwashed” Plaintiffs. (Thompson Dec. Ex. B.) Religious instruction is
26 not “brainwashing” and the term is meaningless, as Judge Burdge expressly noted in response to
Plaintiffs’ counsel’s similar comments in the Haney Case. (Forman Dec. Ex. I at 4:19-22 (“THE
27 COURT: So a child who’s forced to learn the catechism is brainwashed. MR THOMPSON: Well

28 – THE COURT: Brainwashed is a conclusory term.”); see also id. Ex. H at 3 (sustaining CSI’s
objection to “brainwashed”).)
15
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 Similarly, Plaintiffs claim they need discovery regarding which Defendants are parties to

2 the agreements and the procedures under which the proceedings are conducted. But this

3 information is contained in and determined by the language of the contracts; therefore, discovery

4 is not necessary. Specifically, which Defendants are parties to the agreements and which

5 Defendants may enforce them are legal conclusions based on the contractual language. And, the

6 agreements contain the procedures for conducting the arbitration. (Marmolejo Dec. Exs. 1-6, 8-14

7 (Chrissie Bixler, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and Jane Doe #2 Agreements) at ¶¶ 6.d., 6.e. (setting forth

8 the procedures of the arbitration including submission of the request to arbitrate, procedures to

9 select arbitrators, and incorporating Scientology’s Ethics, Justice and binding religious arbitration

10 procedures).) Plaintiffs have sufficient knowledge of this information as well.

11 Furthermore, discovery will not yield “new information” necessary for the court to

12 determine the issues. Plaintiffs have not explained what “new information” they hope to obtain in

13 discovery or how such “new information” would be relevant. Instead, they articulate broad

14 categories of information without any argument as to why it is relevant or necessary – and it is

15 neither.

16  With regard to execution, formation, and services rendered, Plaintiffs already know
17 the information based on their own personal firsthand knowledge.

18  With regard to the parties to the agreements and the procedures of the proceedings,
19 that information is contained in and governed by the agreements themselves.

20 Furthermore, the parties to the agreements is a legal conclusion that would not be

21 illuminated through discovery at all. Plaintiffs do not explain what “new

22 information” would be provided by discovery, and discovery will not produce “new

23 information” on any of these issues.

24  With regard to the drafting circumstances and services rendered under the
25 agreements, Plaintiffs do not explain how this information is necessary for the

26 Court to determine the issues, and its relevance is not apparent to CSI’s counsel.

27 Because Plaintiffs’ requested discovery will not yield “new information” that is necessary

28 for the Court to determine the issues, the discovery should be denied. Hodson, 2012 WL 5464615,
16
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 at *8; McArdle, 2013 WL 1190277, at *2.

2 Finally, Plaintiffs request for discovery proposes an unidentified number of “requests for

3 admissions, requests for document production, interrogatories, and to conduct depositions

4 regarding these topics.” (Pl.’s XPA at 3:7-9; Thompson Ex. B at 5:25-28.) Yet, Plaintiffs have not

5 identified a single witness who must be deposed, or single fact that must be investigated, for this

6 Court to rule on the pending motions to arbitrate. They have not identified a single passage in the

7 Motions to Compel Arbitration that creates a need for discovery. Plaintiffs’ request for sweeping

8 discovery regarding categories of information, which is known to them or irrelevant, is overly

9 broad and should be denied. See Meyer, 836 F. Supp. 2d at 1007.

10 In the Haney Case, Judge Burdge denied Plaintiff Haney’s ex parte application to continue

11 the hearing to conduct discovery on many of these same issues because “there is no showing that

12 the discovery is necessary.” (Forman Dec. ¶ 12, Ex. H at 1; see also id. Ex. J.)

13 IV. CONCLUSION

14 For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Application should be denied.

15

16 DATED: February 13, 2020 SCHEPER KIM & HARRIS LLP


WILLIAM H. FORMAN
17 DAVID C. SCHEPER
18 MARGARET E. DAYTON

19

20 By: /s/ William H. Forman


William H. Forman
21
Attorneys for Defendants Church of Scientology
22 International and Celebrity Centre International

23

24

25

26

27

28
17
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 PROOF OF SERVICE

2 Chrissie Carnell Bixler v. Church of Scientology International


LASC Case No. 19STCV29458
3
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
4
At the time of service, I was over 18 years of age and not a party to this action. I am
5 employed in the County of Los Angeles, State of California. My business address is 800 West
Sixth Street, 18th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90017-2701.
6
On February 13, 2020, I served true copies of the following document(s) described as
7 DEFENDANTS CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL'S AND CELEBRITY
CENTRE INTERNATIONAL’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE
8 APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER SHORTENING TIME TO HEAR PLAINTIFFS’
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY REGARDING DEFENDANTS’
9 MOTIONS TO COMPEL ARBITRATION on the interested parties in this action as follows:

10 SEE ATTACHED SERVICE LIST

11 BY E-MAIL OR ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION: I caused a copy of the


document(s) to be sent from e-mail address ptanigawa@scheperkim.com to the persons at the e-
12 mail addresses listed in the Service List. I did not receive, within a reasonable time after the
transmission, any electronic message or other indication that the transmission was unsuccessful.
13
BY ELECTRONIC SERVICE: I served the document(s) on the person listed in the
14 Service List by submitting an electronic version of the document(s) to One Legal, LLC, through
the user interface at www.onelegal.com.
15
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the
16 foregoing is true and correct.

17 Executed on February 13, 2020, at Los Angeles, California.

18

19 /s/ Pamela Tanigawa


Pamela Tanigawa
20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28
18
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 SERVICE LIST
Chrissie Carnell Bixler v. Church of Scientology International
2 LASC Case No. 19STCV29458
SERVED VIA E-SERVICE AND EMAIL Attorneys for Plaintiffs CHRISSIE
3 Robert W. Thompson CARNELL BIXLER; CEDRIC BIXLER-
Kristen A. Vierhaus ZAVALA; JANE DOE #1; MARIE
4 THOMPSON LAW OFFICES BOBETTE RIALES and JANE DOE #2
700 Airport Boulevard, Suite 160
5 Burlingame, CA 94010
Telephone: 650-513-6111
6 Facsimile: 650-513-6071
Emails: bobby@tlopc.com
7 kris@tlopc.com
8 ATTORNEYS NOT ADMITTED TO THE
CALIFORNIA BAR – SERVED VIA MAIL
9 ONLY AS A COURTESY

10 Brian D. Kent
Gaetano D’Andrea
11 M. Stewart Ryan
Helen L. Fitzpatrick
12 Lauren Stram
LAFFEY BUCCI & KENT LLP
13 1435 Walnut Street, Suite 700
Philadelphia, PA 19102
14 Telephone: 215-399-9255
Facsimile: 215-241-8700
15
Jeffrey P. Fritz
16 SOLOFF & ZERVANOS P C
1525 Locust Street, 8th Floor
17 Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: 215-732-2260
18 Facsimile: 215-732-2289

19 Marci Hamilton
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
20 Fox-Fels Building
3814 Walnut Street
21 Philadelphia, PA 19104
Telephone: 215-353-8984
22 Facsimile: 215-493-1094

23 Ricardo M. Martinez-Cid
Lea P. Bucciero
24 PODHURST ORSECK P A
One S.E. 3rd Avenue, Suite 2300
25 Miami, FL 33131
Telephone: 305-358-2800
26 Facsimile: 301-358-2382

27

28
19
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY
1 SERVED VIA E-SERVICE AND EMAIL Attorneys for Defendant RELIGIOUS
Robert E. Mangels TECHNOLOGY CENTER
2 Matthew D. Hinks
Iman G. Wilson
3 JEFFER MANGELS BUTLER
& MITCHELL LLP
4 1900 Avenue of the Stars, 7th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90067-4308
5 Telephone: 310-203-8080
Facsimile: 310-203-0567
6 Emails: rmangels@jmbm.com
mhinks@jmbm.com
7 iwilson@jmbm.com

8
SERVED VIA E-SERVICE AND EMAIL Attorneys for Specially-Appearing Defendant
9 Jeffrey K. Riffer DAVID MISCAVIGE
ELKINS KALT WEINTRAUB REUBEN
10 GARTSIDE LLP
10345 West Olympic Boulevard
11 Los Angeles, CA 90064
Telephone: 310-746-4400
12 Facsimile: 310-746-4499
Email: jriffer@elkinskalt.com
13

14 SERVED VIA E-SERVICE AND EMAIL Attorneys for Defendant Daniel Masterson
Andrew B. Brettler
15 LAVELY & SINGER PROFESSIONAL
CORPORATION
16 2049 Century Park E 2400
Los Angeles, CA 90067
17 Telephone: 310-556-3501
Facsimile: 310-556-3615
18 Email: abrettler@lavelysinger.com

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28
20
DEFENDANTS CSI’S AND CC’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SHORTEN
TIME TO HEAR MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY

Оценить