Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 27

Electronically FILED by Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles on 04/01/2020 07:46 PM Sherri R.

Carter, Executive Officer/Clerk of Court, by K. Hung,Deputy Clerk

1 JEFFER MANGELS BUTLER & MITCHELL LLP


ROBERT E. MANGELS (Bar No. 48291)
2 rmangels@jmbm.com
MATTHEW D. HINKS (Bar No. 200750)
3 mhinks@jmbm.com
1900 Avenue of the Stars, 7th Floor
4 Los Angeles, California 90067-4308
Telephone: (310) 203-8080
5 Facsimile: (310) 203-0567

6 Attorneys for Defendant RELIGIOUS


TECHNOLOGY CENTER
7

8 SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

9 COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES, CENTRAL DISTRICT

10

11 CHRISSIE CARNELL BIXLER; CEDRIC CASE NO. 19STCV29458


BIXLER-ZAVALA; JANE DOE #1; MARIE
12 BOBETTE RIALES; and JANE DOE #2, [Assigned to Hon. Steven J. Kleifield,
Dept. 57]
13 Plaintiffs,
NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO
14 v. COMPEL RELIGIOUS ARBITRATION
AND FOR STAY OF LITIGATION AS TO
15 CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY PLAINTIFFS CARNELL BIXLER,
INTERNATIONAL; RELIGIOUS BIXLER-ZAVALA AND JANE DOE #1;
16 TECHNOLOGY CENTER; CHURCH OF MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND
SCIENTOLOGY CELEBRITY CENTRE AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF
17 INTERNATIONAL; DAVID MISCAVIGE;
DANIEL MASTERSON; and DOES 1-25, [Concurrently filed with Declaration of
18 Warren McShane]
Defendants.
19 Dept.: 57
Date: July 24, 2020
20 Time: 8:30 a.m.

21 Action filed: August 22, 2019


Trial date: Not yet set
22

23 RESERVATION ID: 493392933848


24

25

26
27

28

67816204v1 1
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 TO ALL PARTIES HEREIN AND THEIR ATTORNEYS OF RECORD:

2 PLEASE TAKE NOTICE THAT on July 24, 2020, at 8:30 a.m., or as soon thereafter as the

3 matter may be heard in Department 57 of the above-entitled Court, located at 111 N. Hill Street,

4 Los Angeles, California 90012, Defendant Religious Technology Center (“RTC”) will and hereby

5 does move the Court for an order compelling Plaintiffs Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Cedric Bixler-Zavala

6 and Jane Doe #1 to comply with their written agreements with the Church of Scientology, which

7 requires them to resolve “any dispute, claim or controversy” that may arise between each of them and

8 Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International (“CC”) (in the case of Plaintiffs Chrissie Carnell

9 Bixler and Cedric Bixler-Zavala) and Flag Services Organization, a Church of Scientology in

10 Clearwater, Florida (in the case of Plaintiff Jane Doe #1) or “any other Scientology church, any other

11 organization which espouses, presents, propagates or practices the Scientology religion, or any person

12 employed by any such entity,” through internal Ethics, Justice, and binding religious arbitration

13 procedures. RTC also seeks an order staying this matter pending final conclusion of those

14 proceedings. This motion is made pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act and California Code of

15 Civil Procedure Section 1281.2, et seq., on the grounds that written agreements to arbitrate the entire

16 controversy exist and that Plaintiffs Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Jane Doe #1

17 have refused to arbitrate the controversy.

18 By this Notice and Motion, RTC also joins in the Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
19 filed this date by Church of Scientology International (“CSI”), and specifically joins in all arguments

20 and evidence presented by CSI in its Memorandum of Points and Authorities in support of its Motion

21 to Compel Religious Arbitration.

22 This Motion and Joinder will be and hereby is made on the grounds stated in the

23 Memorandum of Points and Authorities in support of this Motion and Joinder, as well as the

24 Memorandum of Points and Authorities filed by CSI, the Declaration of Warren McShane, the

25 Declarations of William Forman, Lynn R. Farny, Sarah Heller and Margaret Marmolejo (which

26 were filed by CSI), and exhibits thereto, the pleadings and other papers filed in this action, and on
27 such other oral and documentary evidence as may be presented at the hearing on this matter.

28

67816204v1 2
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 DATED: April 1, 2020 JEFFER MANGELS BUTLER & MITCHELL LLP

3
By:
4 MATTHEW D. HINKS
Attorneys for Defendant RELIGIOUS
5 TECHNOLOGY CENTER
6

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18
19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26
27

28

67816204v1 3
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 TABLE OF CONTENTS
2 Page
3
I. INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................9
4
II. STATEMENT OF FACTS...................................................................................................10
5
A. Defendants CSI, RTC, CC and Daniel Masterson ...................................................10
6
B. Relevant Scientology Beliefs and Practices .............................................................10
7
C. Plaintiffs Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and Jane Doe #1. ............10
8
D. Allegations of Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint ...............................................12
9
III. THIS LAWSUIT MUST BE ORDERED TO ARBITRATION .........................................13
10
A. The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) Controls .......................................................13
11
B. The Arbitration Agreements Are Valid and Enforceable .........................................13
12
C. The Dispute Falls Within Plaintiffs’ Agreements to Arbitrate ................................14
13
1. Any Question Regarding the Scope of the Agreements to Arbitrate or
14 Their Validity Must Be Determined by the Eventual Arbitrators.................16

15 2. The First Amendment Protects the Scientology Ecclesiastical


Dispute Resolution Procedures and This Court May Not Impede
16 Them .............................................................................................................17

17 IV. CONCLUSION ....................................................................................................................23

18
19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26
27

28

67816204v1 4
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

2 Page(s)
3 Cases

4 Alla v. Moursi,

5 680 N.W. 569 (Minn. Ct. App., 2004) .......................................................................................19

6 Am. Software, Inc. v. Ali,


46 Cal. App. 4th 1386 (1996) .....................................................................................................20
7
Armendariz v. Found. Health Psychcare Servs., Inc.,
8 24 Cal. 4th 83 (2000)............................................................................................................17, 19
9 AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion,
563 U.S. 333 (2011) .............................................................................................................14, 19
10

11 Avery v. Integrated Healthcare Holdings, Inc.,


218 Cal. App. 4th 50 (2013) .......................................................................................................14
12
Baltazar v. Forever 21, Inc.,
13 62 Cal. 4th 1237 (2016)........................................................................................................19, 20
14 Buckeye Check Cashing, Inc. v. Cardegna,
546 U.S. 440 (2006) .............................................................................................................16, 20
15

16 Buckhorn v. St. Jude Heritage Medical Group,


121 Cal. App. 4th 1401 (2004) ...................................................................................................16
17
California Grocers Assn. v. Bank of America,
18 22 Cal. App. 4th 205 (1994) .......................................................................................................22

19 Camps Newfound/Owatonna v. Town of Harrison,


520 U.S. 564 (1997) ...................................................................................................................13
20
Chavarria v. Ralphs Grocery Co.,
21
733 F.3d 916 (9th Cir. 2013) ......................................................................................................23
22
Cheng-Canindin v. Renaissance Hotel Assocs.,
23 50 Cal. App. 4th 676 (1996) .......................................................................................................23

24 Church of Scientology v. City of Clearwater,


2 F.3d 1514 (11th Cir. 1993) ......................................................................................................20
25
Dial 800 v. Fesbinder,
26 118 Cal. App. 4th 32 (2004) .......................................................................................................19
27
Easterly v. Heritage Christian School, Inc.,
28 2009 WL 2750099 (S.D. Ind. 2009).....................................................................................19, 23

67816204v1 5
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 Encore Prods., Inc. v. Promise Keepers,
53 F. Supp. 2d 1101 (D. Colo. 1999) .........................................................................................21
2
Engalla v. Permanente Med. Grp., Inc.,
3 15 Cal. 4th 951 (1997)................................................................................................................14
4
Erickson v. Aetna Health Plans of Calif.,
5 71 Cal. App. 4th 649 (1999) .......................................................................................................14

6 Erickson, et al., v. 100 Oak Street et al.,


35 Cal. 3d 312 (1983) .................................................................................................................14
7
Felner v. Meritplan Ins. Co.,
8 6 Cal. App. 3d 540 (1970) ..........................................................................................................17
9 Flores v. Transamerica HomeFirst, Inc.

10 93 Cal. App. 4th 846 (2001) .................................................................................................20, 21

11 Garcia v. Church of Scientology Flag Service Org., Inc.,


No. 8:13-cv-220-T-27TBM, 2015 WL 10844160 (M.D. Fla., March 13, 2015) . ..............19, 22
12
Garcia v. Church of Scientology Flag Service Org., Inc.,
13 No. 8:13-cv-220-T-27TBM, 2018 WL 3439638 (M.D. Fla., July 17, 2018).................18, 22, 23
14 General Conference of Evangelical Methodist Church v. Evangelical Methodist

15 Church of Dalton, Georgia, Inc.,


807 F. Supp. 2d 1291 (N.D. Ga. 2011) ................................................................................19, 23
16
Graves v. George Fox Univ.,
17 No. CV-06-395-S-EJL, 2007 WL 2363372 (D. Idaho, Aug. 16, 2007) .....................................13

18 Gutierrez v. Autowest, Inc.,


114 Cal. App. 4th 77 (2003) .......................................................................................................22
19
Haney v. Church of Scientology International, et al.,
20
Case No 19STCV21210 (L.A. Super Ct. Jan. 30, 2020)..................................................9, 15, 16
21
Henry Schein, Inc., v. Archer & White Sales, Inc.,
22 586 U.S. __, 139 S. Ct. 524 (January 8, 2019) .....................................................................16, 17

23 Homestake Lead Co. v. Doe Run Res. Corp.,


282 F. Supp. 2d 1131 (N.D. Cal. 2003) .....................................................................................16
24
Hooters of America, Inc. v. Phillips,
25 173 F.3d 933 (4th Cir. 1999) ......................................................................................................23
26
Jenkins v. Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church,
27 356 Ill. App. 3d 504, 825 N.E. 2d 1206 (2005) ...................................................................19, 23

28

67816204v1 6
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 Khalatian v. Prime Time Shuttle, Inc.,
237 Cal. App. 4th 651 (2015) ...............................................................................................13, 15
2
Meyer v. T-Mobile USA Inc.,
3 836 F. Supp. 2d 994 (N.D. Cal. 2011) .......................................................................................15
4
Molecular Analytical Sys. v. Ciphergen Biosystems,
5 186 Cal. App. 4th 696 (2010) .....................................................................................................14

6 Nat’l Football League Mgmt. Council v. Nat’l Football League Players Ass’n,
820 F.3d 527 (2d Cir. 2016) .......................................................................................................23
7
Nguyen v. Applied Med. Res. Corp.,
8 4 Cal. App. 5th 232 (2016) .........................................................................................................13
9 Ortiz v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.,

10 52 F. Supp. 3d 1070 (E.D. Cal. 2014) ........................................................................................19

11 Pinnacle Museum Tower Assn. v. Pinnacle Mkt. Dev. (US), LLC,


55 Cal. 4th 223 (2012)................................................................................................................21
12
Pokorny v. Quixtar, Inc.,
13 601 F.3d 987 (9th Cir. 2010) ......................................................................................................23
14 Ronay Family Limited Partnership v. Tweed,

15 216 Cal. App. 4th 830 (2013) .....................................................................................................14

16 Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co., LLC,


61 Cal. 4th 899 (2015)................................................................................................................22
17
Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich,
18 426 U.S. 696 (1976) .............................................................................................................17, 18
19 Shepard v. Edward Mackay Enters., Inc.,
148 Cal. App. 4th 1092 (2007) ...................................................................................................13
20

21 Sonic–Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno,


57 Cal. 4th 1109 (2013)..............................................................................................................20
22
Tomic v. Catholic Diocese of Peoria,
23 442 F.3d 1036 (2006) .................................................................................................................18
24 U.S. v. Rayborn,
312 F.3d 229 (6th Cir. 2002) ......................................................................................................13
25
Watson v. Jones,
26
80 U.S. 679 (1871) ...............................................................................................................18, 20
27
Zaborowksi v. MHN Gov’t Servs., Inc.,
28 936 F. Supp. 2d 1145 (N.D. Cal. 2013) .....................................................................................23

67816204v1 7
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 Statutes

2 9 U.S.C. § 2 ................................................................................................................................13, 19

3 26 U.S.C.
§ 170(b) ......................................................................................................................................10
4
§ 501(c)(3) ..................................................................................................................................10
5
Cal. Civ. Proc. Code
6 § 1281.2 (b) ................................................................................................................................14

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18
19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26
27

28

67816204v1 8
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 I. INTRODUCTION
2 Plaintiffs Chrissie Carnell Bixler (“Carnell”), Cedric Bixler-Zavala (“Bixler”), and Jane Doe

3 #1 (“JD1”) are former parishioners of the Scientology religion. They filed this lawsuit alleging

4 causes of action for stalking, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

5 There are no causes of action pled in the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) based upon allegations

6 of rape or sexual abuse. Rather, the premise of the FAC is that, after Plaintiffs filed police reports

7 claiming they were assaulted by Defendant Daniel Masterson, they were allegedly subject to

8 retribution by the Defendants pursuant to Church policy. These malicious allegations are false, and

9 were engineered by (and televised on) a now-cancelled anti-Scientology cable show, as part of a

10 coordinated campaign against Defendants Religious Technology Center (“RTC”), Church of

11 Scientology International (“CSI”) and Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International (“CC,”

12 and collectively with RTC and CSI, the “Church of Scientology” or the “Church”).

13 But false allegations aside, Plaintiffs’ agreements prohibit them from proceeding with this

14 lawsuit given the arbitration agreements they signed with the Church. In short, Plaintiffs’ claims

15 that they were subjected to harsh treatment pursuant to official Church doctrine, even though false,

16 are plainly subject to the arbitration agreements they signed. Indeed, as a condition of participating

17 in Scientology religious services, all three executed written agreements to resolve through

18 ecclesiastical justice procedures “any dispute, claim or controversy” that might arise in the future
19 between them and any Scientology entity or any Scientology official.

20 Under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) or the California Arbitration Act (“CAA”), the

21 existence of agreements to arbitrate makes arbitration compulsory. More importantly, under the Free

22 Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the United States and California Constitutions the Church

23 may establish its own rules governing its relationship with its members exempt from civil law. The

24 Church’s ecclesiastical arbitration is a condition of participating in Scientology services. This Court

25 may not interfere with this condition by imposing civil rules for arbitration. The Church’s arbitration

26 agreements, as written and agreed to, must be enforced. See Haney v. Church of Scientology
27 International, et al., Case No 19STCV21210 (L.A. Super Ct. Jan. 30, 2020) (“Haney”) (Declaration

28 of William H. Forman (“Forman Decl.”) Ex. 15; enforcing identical arbitration provision).

67816204v1 9
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 II. STATEMENT OF FACTS
2 A. Defendants CSI, RTC, CC and Daniel Masterson
3 Defendant CSI is a non-profit religious corporation and the “Mother Church” of the

4 Scientology religion. [Declaration of Lynn Farny (“Farny Decl.”) Decl., ¶ 2.] CSI is dedicated to

5 the advancement and dissemination of the Scientology religion in accordance with Scientology

6 Scripture, consisting of the works of L. Ron Hubbard, the Founder of the Scientology religion,

7 through the Scientology churches and missions that are under its ecclesiastical direction. [Id., ¶ 2.]

8 RTC is a Church of Scientology the central function of which is to ensure the orthodoxy of the

9 Scientology religion and is the final arbiter of orthodoxy worldwide. [Declaration of Warren

10 McShane (“McShane Decl.”), ¶ 4.] CC is a Church of Scientology in Hollywood whose mission it

11 is to minister to its parishioners, who travel to California from around the globe seeking privacy in

12 the exercise of their faith. [Declaration of Margaret Marmolejo (“Marmolejo Decl.”), ¶ 2.] Plaintiffs

13 allege that Defendant Masterson is an agent of RTC in that Masterson is a “Field Staff Member,”

14 and “recruit[s] new members and generate[s] revenue” for the Church. [FAC, ¶¶ 59, 62.] Plaintiffs

15 also allege that Masterson and RTC are agents of each other “when dealing with third parties

16 including Plaintiffs.” [Id., ¶ 63.] The IRS recognizes RTC, CSI, and CC as churches within the

17 meaning of 26 U.S.C. § 170(b) and tax exempt under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3). [McShane Decl., ¶ 5.]

18 B. Relevant Scientology Beliefs and Practices


19 In the Scientology religion, parishioners and Scientology churches must resolve all disputes

20 between them exclusively through Scientology internal Ethics, Justice and binding religious

21 arbitration procedures. [Farny Decl., ¶ 20.] Scientologists agree to abide by Scientology Ethics and

22 Justice codes as a condition for participation in the religion. [Id., ¶ 17.] Issues that arise in disputes

23 between parishioners and the Church require application of Scientology doctrine, including the

24 Church’s ethical code of conduct. Only Scientologists have the background necessary to understand

25 and apply those doctrines. [Id., ¶¶ 21, 22.] Accordingly, the scripture of the religion written by its

26 Founder mandates that “we must use Scientology … justice in all our affairs.” [Id., ¶ 20.]
27 C. Plaintiffs Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and Jane Doe #1.
28 Plaintiff Carnell “became involved in the Church of Scientology in 1997” by participating

67816204v1 10
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 in Scientology services at Celebrity Centre International beginning in March 1997, which she

2 continued to do through 2012. [FAC, ¶ 66; Marmolejo Decl., ¶ 6.] Plaintiff Bixler is the current

3 husband of Carnell. [FAC, ¶ 3.] Bixler began participating in Scientology services in 2010.

4 [Marmolejo Decl., ¶ 8.] Plaintiff JD1 was a Scientologist from childhood and last participated in

5 Church services in 2004, at around age 26. [FAC, ¶ 130; Marmolejo Decl., ¶ 10.]

6 All of the Plaintiffs executed agreements pledging their commitment to Scientology doctrine

7 and ecclesiastical law as a condition to participate in Scientology religious services. For example,

8 each Plaintiff agreed in a Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement and General

9 Release (the “Enrollment Agreement”)1 that he and she would be “bound exclusively by the

10 discipline, faith, internal organization, and ecclesiastical rule, custom, and law of the

11 Scientology religion … in all my dealings of any nature with the Church” and that he and she is

12 “forever abandoning, surrendering, waiving, and relinquishing [the] right to sue, or otherwise

13 seek legal recourse with respect to any dispute, claim or controversy against the Church …”

14 [Marmolejo Decl., Exhs. 8-13, ¶ 6.a. (Carnell agreement); Id., Exh. 14, ¶ 6.a. (Bixler agreement);

15 Declaration of Sarah Heller (“Heller Decl.”), Exh. 7, ¶ 6.a. (JD1 agreement) (emphasis added).]

16 Plaintiffs thus agreed in the Enrollment Agreement that “any dispute” they may have with

17 any Scientology organization may only be resolved through binding religious arbitration:

18 In accordance with the discipline, faith, internal organization, and ecclesiastical rule, custom, and
law of the Scientology religion, and in accordance with the constitutional prohibitions which
19 forbid governmental interference with religious services or dispute resolution procedures, should
any dispute, claim or controversy arise between me and the Church, any other Scientology
20
church, any other organization which espouses, presents, propagates or practices the Scientology
21 religion, or any person employed by any such entity, which cannot be resolved informally by
direct communication, I will pursue resolution of that dispute, claim or controversy solely and
22 exclusively through Scientology’s internal Ethics, Justice and binding religious arbitration
procedures, which include application to senior ecclesiastical bodies, including, as necessary,
23 final submission of the dispute to the International Justice Chief of the Mother Church of the
Scientology religion, Church of Scientology International (“IJC”) or his or her designee.
24

25
Carnell’s and Bixler’s Enrollment Agreements are with Defendant CC. JD1’s Enrollment
1

26 Agreement is with Church of Scientology Flag Services Organization (“FSO”) in Clearwater,


Florida. [Heller Decl., ¶ 5.] As quoted below, each Enrollment Agreement extended the arbitration
27 provision to “any other Scientology church, any other organization which espouses, presents,
propagates or practices the Scientology religion, or any person employed by any such entity, . . .”
28 Thus CSI and RTC may invoke the arbitration provision in the Enrollment Agreements with CC;
and CSI, RTC, and CC may invoke the arbitration provision in the Enrollment Agreement with FSO.
67816204v1 11
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 [Marmolejo Decl., Exhs. 8-14 & Heller Decl., Exh. 7 at ¶ 6.d (emphases added).] To effectuate

2 arbitration, Plaintiffs agreed to submit a request for arbitration to the IJC and designate one

3 arbitrator. [Id. at ¶ 6.e.i, ii.] The adverse party would then designate a second arbitrator and the two

4 designated arbitrators would select a third. [Id. at ¶ 6.e.iii, iv.] Moreover, “consistent with [their]

5 intention that the arbitration be conducted in accordance with Scientology principles, and consistent with

6 the ecclesiastical nature of the procedures and the dispute,” Plaintiffs agreed that all such arbitrators shall

7 be “Scientologists in good standing with the Mother Church.” [Id. at ¶ 6.e.v.]

8 D. Allegations of Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint


9 Carnell, a former girlfriend of Defendant Masterson, alleges that Masterson sexually

10 assaulted her in 2001 and 2002. [FAC, ¶¶ 65, 69.] Carnell did not report the alleged assaults to the

11 police until December 2016. [Id., ¶ 91.] JD1 alleges she met Masterson in 1999, and was sexually

12 assaulted by him in September 2002, and again in April 2003. [Id., ¶¶ 131-149.] Over a year later,

13 JD1 reported the second alleged assault to the LAPD but “no charges were filed.” [Id., ¶ 164.] JD1

14 alleges she reported the alleged assault again in 2016 after communicating with Carnell. [Id., ¶ 169.]

15 Plaintiffs allege that following the 2016 police reports, Defendants “conducted harassment,

16 surveillance and abuse” against them, which they purport to describe in a series of bizarre and

17 paranoid allegations. [Id., ¶¶ 92-129, 172-202.] Those allegations are false and Plaintiffs plead no

18 facts indicating that RTC committed any such acts. Plaintiffs go on to allege that the alleged conduct
19 is mandated by official Church policy, which, they contend, “must be strictly practiced and followed

20 in a fundamentalist, orthodox manner…” [Id., ¶ 18; ¶¶ 28-50 (allegations of Church policy), ¶¶ 78-

21 129 (charging allegations of Carnell and Bixler alleging being subject to conduct mandated by

22 Church policy), ¶¶ 170-202 (charging allegations of JD1 alleging being subject to conduct mandated

23 by Church policy).] Those contentions are also false. Nevertheless, Plaintiffs incorporate them and

24 all prior allegations into each cause of action they allege, each of which is based upon Plaintiffs’

25 allegations that they suffered mistreatment at the hands of Defendants purportedly pursuant to

26 Church doctrine. [Id., ¶¶ 262-297.] Plaintiffs also allege that Defendants “conceal[ed] information”
27 that supposedly “could have prevented” the alleged assaults. [Id., ¶¶ 270-273, 279, 285, 293.]

28

67816204v1 12
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 III. THIS LAWSUIT MUST BE ORDERED TO ARBITRATION
2 A. The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) Controls
3 The FAA applies to any “contract evidencing a transaction involving commerce” that

4 contains an arbitration provision. 9 U.S.C. § 2; Khalatian v. Prime Time Shuttle, Inc., 237 Cal. App.

5 4th 651, 657 (2015). The phrase “involving commerce,” “signals the broadest permissible exercise

6 of Congress’s commerce clause power.” Shepard v. Edward Mackay Enters., Inc., 148 Cal. App.

7 4th 1092, 1097 (2007); Nguyen v. Applied Med. Res. Corp., 4 Cal. App. 5th 232, 246 (2016) (FAA

8 governs where defendant distributed products worldwide and plaintiff worked on production line);

9 Graves v. George Fox Univ., No. CV-06-395-S-EJL, 2007 WL 2363372 (D. Idaho, Aug. 16, 2007)

10 (FAA applies to agreement applying Christian Conciliation Procedures). “The ‘business’ or

11 ‘commerce’ of a church involves the solicitation and receipt of donations, and the provision of

12 spiritual, social, community, educational (religious or non-religious) and other charitable services.”

13 U.S. v. Rayborn, 312 F.3d 229, 233 (6th Cir. 2002); Camps Newfound/Owatonna v. Town of

14 Harrison, 520 U.S. 564, 584-85 (1997) (commerce clause applies to non-profit entities).

15 Plaintiffs’ agreements with the Church affect interstate commerce. CSI is Scientology’s

16 Mother Church and oversees the ecclesiastical activities of all Scientology churches and groups

17 worldwide. [Farny Decl., ¶ 4.] RTC is the holder of the ultimate ecclesiastical authority regarding

18 the standard and pure application of Scientology’s religious technologies throughout the world.
19 [McShane Decl., ¶ 4.] CC is a Church of Scientology for Scientologists who regularly travel to

20 California seeking privacy in the exercise of their faith. [Marmolejo Decl., ¶ 2.] FSO is located in

21 Florida and is the worldwide spiritual headquarters of Scientology. FSO ministers to Scientologists

22 who travel to Florida from throughout the world. [Heller Decl., ¶ 2.] The Church required Plaintiffs

23 to execute the Enrollment Agreements as a condition for participating in Scientology services.

24 [Heller Decl., ¶ 3; Marmolejo Decl., ¶ 3.] The Enrollment Agreements contain detailed provisions

25 concerning the giving and return of religious donations that are used, in part, to help fund the

26 Church’s global ministry. [See, e.g., Marmolejo Decl., Exs. 8, 13, 14, ¶¶ 5.c.i-iv.] The FAA governs.
27 B. The Arbitration Agreements Are Valid and Enforceable
28 An arbitration agreement is “valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as

67816204v1 13
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.” 9 U.S.C. § 2. The FAA reflects a “liberal”

2 policy favoring arbitration. AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 563 U.S. 333, 339 (2011). Any

3 “doubts concerning the scope of arbitrable issues should be resolved in favor of arbitration.”

4 Erickson, et al., v. 100 Oak Street et al., 35 Cal. 3d 312, 320 (1983). The California Arbitration Act

5 (“CAA”) is similar; arbitration provisions “shall” be enforced, unless certain limited exceptions

6 apply. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 1281.2 (b). “California law incorporates many of the basic policy

7 objectives contained in the FAA, including a presumption in favor of arbitrability.” Erickson v.

8 Aetna Health Plans of Calif., 71 Cal. App. 4th 649, 655 (1999). “Thus, even in non-FAA cases,

9 courts ‘are guided by the rule that, contractual arbitration being a favored method for resolving

10 disputes, every intendment will be indulged to give effect to such proceedings.’” Id.

11 A party seeking to compel arbitration meets its burden by “proving the existence of a valid

12 arbitration agreement by the preponderance of the evidence[.]” Engalla v. Permanente Med. Grp.,

13 Inc., 15 Cal. 4th 951, 972 (1997); see also Avery v. Integrated Healthcare Holdings, Inc., 218 Cal.

14 App. 4th 50, 59 (2013) (analyzing issue under both the FAA and CAA). A party satisfies this burden

15 by “submitting a copy of the [arbitration agreement] as an exhibit” and “the court is only required

16 to make a finding of the agreement’s existence, not an evidentiary determination of its validity.”

17 Molecular Analytical Sys. v. Ciphergen Biosystems, 186 Cal. App. 4th 696, 710 (2010).

18 Here, RTC has met its burden of establishing the existence of valid arbitration agreements.
19 Plaintiffs’ signatures on the Agreements are properly authenticated. [Marmolejo Decl., ¶¶ 5, 7;

20 Heller Decl., ¶ 5.] RTC is an intended third-party beneficiary of the Agreements. The Enrollment

21 Agreements extend to claims Plaintiffs may have with “any [] Scientology church, any other

22 organization which espouses, presents, propagates or practices the Scientology religion,” which plainly

23 includes RTC. [McShane Decl., ¶ 4.] See Ronay Family Limited Partnership v. Tweed, 216 Cal. App.

24 4th 830, 838 (2013) (“[A] third party beneficiary of an arbitration agreement may enforce it.”).

25 C. The Dispute Falls Within Plaintiffs’ Agreements to Arbitrate


26 Plaintiffs agreed in their Enrollment Agreements to arbitrate “any dispute, claim or
27 controversy” that may arise between them and any Scientology entity. The scope of the arbitration

28 provisions is not limited by subject matter. Plaintiffs’ claims against RTC obviously fall within the scope

67816204v1 14
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 of the agreements given that the FAC alleges a “dispute, claim or controversy” with RTC, a Scientology

2 entity. Moreover, even if the Enrollment Agreements were interpreted to limit arbitration to disputes

3 arising under them, Plaintiffs’ claims arise under the Enrollment Agreements since (1) the agreements

4 were entered into to govern Plaintiffs’ relationship with the Church; (2) the Church required that

5 Plaintiffs execute the agreements as a condition of receiving Church services; and (3) Plaintiffs’ claims

6 are based on allegations that they suffered mistreatment as a result of official Church doctrine.2 In

7 addition, agreements to arbitrate “all” or “any” claims cover claims whether sounding in tort or are

8 based on a statute. Such “[b]road arbitration clauses” “are consistently interpreted as applying to

9 extra-contractual disputes between the contracting parties.” Khalatian v. Prime Time, 237 Cal. App.

10 4th 651, 660 (2015); Meyer v. T-Mobile USA Inc., 836 F. Supp. 2d 994, 1004 (N.D. Cal. 2011)

11 (“contractual arbitration agreements are equally applicable to statutory claims as to other types of

12 common law claims”). In Haney, Judge Burdge held that identical agreements covered non-

13 contractual claims. [Forman Decl. Exh. 15 at 8 (“[w]hile the arbitration agreements are broad, they

14 are intended to be so to protect the religious doctrines of the Defendants and for them to be able to

15 address challenges to their practices within religious, rather than secular legal structures”).]

16 Plaintiffs’ argument that their claims arose after they severed their relationship with the

17 Church is neither true nor legally relevant. It is not true because Plaintiffs’ claims incorporate all

18 previous allegations, which include allegations of traumatic experiences occurring while


19 parishioners of the Church, over a decade before the relationships with the Church were severed.

20 [FAC, ¶¶ 70-77 (Carnell); id., ¶¶ 152-163 (Jane Doe #1).] All causes of action also specifically

21 allege that Defendants failed to take actions that “could have prevented” the alleged sexual assaults

22 against Plaintiffs. [Id., ¶¶ 273, 279, 285, 293.] Thus each cause of action alleges tortious conduct

23 that happened while Plaintiffs were parishioners, and in some instances pre-date the Agreements.

24 More importantly, it is legally irrelevant that some of the alleged conduct occurred after

25

26
As noted above, Plaintiffs’ claims against RTC and the other Defendants are that they were subject
2

27 to mistreatment pursuant to official Church doctrine after they filed police reports. Plaintiffs plead
no causes of action based upon the alleged incidents involving Mr. Masterson almost two decades
28 ago. Thus, Plaintiffs can make no credible argument that they should not be required to abide by
their arbitration agreements just because they include allegations of sexual abuse in the FAC.
67816204v1 15
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 Plaintiffs left the Church. Plaintiffs agreed to arbitrate any dispute that “should … arise” with any

2 Church entity, clearly intending that the agreement apply to future disputes. Under both the FAA

3 and CAA, an arbitration clause that “fixes no temporal boundaries to its application” applies to

4 future disputes arising under the agreement. See Homestake Lead Co. v. Doe Run Res. Corp., 282

5 F. Supp. 2d 1131, 1140 (N.D. Cal. 2003) (applying FAA); Buckhorn v. St. Jude Heritage Medical

6 Group, 121 Cal. App. 4th 1401, 1407 (2004) (reversing denial of petition to arbitrate where

7 plaintiff’s claims were based on events occurring after termination of agreement). Thus, Judge

8 Burdge in Haney ordered arbitration in identical circumstances despite also noting that the plaintiff

9 had pled post-severance claims. [Forman Decl., Exh. 15 at 3 (“After Plaintiff alleged[ly] left

10 Scientology, the FAC alleges that Defendants continued to subject her to a ‘Fair Game

11 campaign.’”).]

12 1. Any Question Regarding the Scope of the Agreements to Arbitrate or Their

13 Validity Must Be Determined by the Eventual Arbitrators

14 Plaintiffs argued in their opposition to the prior motion to compel arbitration that their

15 Enrollment Agreements as a whole are unenforceable. Given the parties’ expressed intention that

16 any dispute between them be resolved by religious arbitration, the threshold questions of invalidity

17 and scope of the Agreements are to be determined by the arbitrators, not by the Court.

18 Validity: In Buckeye Check Cashing, Inc. v. Cardegna, 546 U.S. 440, 449 (2006), the Court
19 held that “regardless of whether the challenge is brought in federal or state court, a challenge to the

20 validity of the contract as a whole, and not specifically to the arbitration clause, must go to the

21 arbitrator.” Plaintiffs here expressed the wish that disputes between them and RTC be resolved

22 through ecclesiastical dispute resolution agreements. If their argument now is that the Enrollment

23 Agreements are invalid as a whole, the Court’s analysis stops here. Under Buckeye, any argument

24 that the agreements as a whole are invalid must be resolved through Church justice procedures.

25 Scope: In Henry Schein, Inc., v. Archer & White Sales, Inc., 586 U.S. __, 139 S. Ct. 524
26 (January 8, 2019), the Supreme Court unanimously reversed a lower court’s denial of a motion to
27 arbitrate based on a finding that the party seeking arbitration proffered a “wholly groundless”

28 reading of the scope of the agreement. The Court held that, “[i]f a valid agreement exists, and if the

67816204v1 16
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 agreement delegates the arbitrability issue to an arbitrator, a court may not decide the arbitrability

2 issue.” Id. at 530. The rule is the same under the CAA. Felner v. Meritplan Ins. Co., 6 Cal. App. 3d

3 540, 543 (1970) (questions regarding scope “are for the arbitrators and not for the court to resolve”).

4 Here, the parties agreed that the civil courts should not resolve any dispute between them.

5 Rather, Plaintiffs affirmed that they would “be bound exclusively by the discipline, faith, internal

6 organization, and ecclesiastical rule, custom, and law of the Scientology religion,” such that all disputes

7 between them and “regardless of the nature of the dispute, claim or controversy” would be resolved

8 “exclusively through Scientology’s internal Ethics, Justice and binding religious arbitration procedures.”

9 [Marmolejo Decl., Exhs. 8-14 & Heller Decl., Exh. 7, ¶¶ 6.a-d.] They also agreed that civil courts were

10 to have no role whatsoever in determining the scope of that agreement. [See id., ¶ 6.a.] Because the

11 parties here made clear that there would be no recourse at all to the civil courts for their disputes

12 under the agreements, this Court cannot adjudicate the scope of the arbitration agreements. [Forman

13 Decl., Ex. 16 at 6 (Judge Burdge reviewing same arbitration provision at issue here: “And here –

14 the arbitration agreements allow the arbitration to determine arbitrability.”]

15 2. The First Amendment Protects the Scientology Ecclesiastical Dispute

16 Resolution Procedures and This Court May Not Impede Them

17 If Plaintiffs, contrary to their prior pleadings, limit their challenge only to the arbitration

18 provisions in the Agreements, such a challenge also must be rejected.


19 a. The First Amendment Bars any Unconscionability Challenge
20 As a preliminary matter, the doctrine of “unconscionability,” as articulated by the Supreme

21 Court in review of commercial employment agreements in Armendariz v. Found. Health Psychcare

22 Servs., Inc., 24 Cal. 4th 83, 113 (2000), does not apply to this dispute. The U.S. and California

23 Constitutions prohibit this Court from imposing civil concepts of due process when adjudicating

24 disputes between a church and its members.3 Indeed, the First Amendment affords a church nearly

25 unreviewable latitude in resolving internal disputes among members. See Serbian Eastern Orthodox

26
27 3
Armendariz does not apply here for the additional reason that it concerned arbitration provisions in
secular employment contracts. Plaintiffs were not employees of CC or FSO.
28

67816204v1 17
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 Diocese v. Milivojevich, 426 U.S. 696 (1976). In Milivojevich, the Supreme Court dismissed an

2 action brought by a bishop challenging his removal because the church failed to comply with church

3 laws and regulations. The First Amendment “permit[s] hierarchical religious organizations to

4 establish their own rules and regulations for internal discipline and government, and to create

5 tribunals for adjudicating disputes over these matters.” Id. at 724. “Constitutional concepts of due

6 process, involving secular notions of ‘fundamental fairness’ or impermissible objectives, are ...

7 hardly relevant to such matters of ecclesiastical cognizance.” Id., at 715. So too here. The only

8 permissible inquiry is what Plaintiffs and the Church agreed to. This Court may not impose its own

9 notions of “fairness” in deciding whether Plaintiffs’ agreements with the Church are fair or right.

10 To do so would interfere with a church’s rules over its members, which is clearly forbidden by

11 Milivojevich. See also Watson v. Jones, 80 U.S. 679, 729-31 (1871) (“We cannot decide who ought

12 to be members of the church. [W]hen they became members they did so upon the condition of

13 continuing or not as they and their churches might determine, and they thereby submit to the

14 ecclesiastical power and cannot now invoke the supervisory power of the civil tribunals.”).

15 Accordingly, courts may not dictate to churches the terms upon which they accept members.

16 In Garcia v. Church of Scientology Flag Service Org., Inc., No. 8:13-cv-220-T-27TBM, 2018 WL

17 3439638 (M.D. Fla., July 17, 2018) (“Garcia II”) (currently on appeal), a federal district court

18 denied a challenge to an arbitration conducted under the same arbitration clause contained in
19 Plaintiffs’ Agreements. The Garcia plaintiffs’ due process objections to Scientology justice

20 procedures do not trump the Church’s First Amendment right to internal governance. Id. at *4

21 (“While [plaintiffs] may disagree with how the arbitration was conducted their arguments raise

22 secular notions of due process. And the Free Exercise Clause prohibits this Court from resolving

23 their disputes concerning the interpretation or application of Scientology doctrine.”). [Forman Decl.,

24 Exh. 15 at 10 (disputes over “Scientology practices ... should be resolved by the arbitrator”.] Courts,

25 therefore, routinely uphold religious arbitration agreements requiring resolution of disputes in

26 ecclesiastical courts under faith-based procedures, regardless of whether those procedures conform
27 to notions of civil due process. See Tomic v. Catholic Diocese of Peoria, 442 F.3d 1036, 1037

28 (2006) (“Federal courts are secular agencies [and] do not exercise jurisdiction over the internal

67816204v1 18
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 affairs of religious organizations.”)4

2 b. In Any Event, the Arbitration Provisions Are Not Unconscionable


3 Even if this Court were to engage in an unconscionability analysis, the procedures used by

4 the Church fall well within the bounds of acceptable ecclesiastical arbitration, and thus may not be

5 set aside as “unconscionable.” See Garcia v. Church of Scientology Flag Service Org., Inc., No.

6 8:13-cv-220-T-27TBM, 2015 WL 10844160, at *2, 12 (M.D. Fla., March 13, 2015) (“Garcia I”)

7 (finding arbitration provisions identical to those contained in the Enrollment Agreements to be

8 enforceable; rejecting procedural and substantive unconscionability arguments). [Forman Decl.,

9 Exh 15 at 7, 10 (finding no unconscionablilty with respect to identical arbitration provisions).]

10 An arbitration agreement is “valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as

11 exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.” 9 U.S.C. § 2. This savings clause in

12 Section 2 of the FAA “permits agreements to arbitrate to be invalidated by generally applicable

13 contract defenses, such as fraud, duress, or unconscionability, but not by defenses that apply only

14 to arbitration or that derive their meaning from the fact that an agreement to arbitrate is at issue.”

15 Concepcion, 563 U.S. 333, 131 S. Ct. 1740 at 1742-43. Under California law, an arbitration clause

16 may be unenforceable if it is unconscionable. Baltazar v. Forever 21, Inc., 62 Cal. 4th 1237, 1243

17 (2016). However, to succeed on such a claim, a litigant must show both procedural and substantive

18 unconscionability. Armendariz v. Found. Health Psychcare Servs., Inc., 24 Cal. 4th 83, 114 (2000).
19 There Is No Procedural Unconscionability. Plaintiffs do not argue that the arbitration
20 provisions of the Enrollment Agreements are procedurally unconscionable. Rather, they argue that

21 the circumstances of the making of the Agreements as a whole were procedurally unconscionable.

22
4
23 See, e.g., Dial 800 v. Fesbinder, 118 Cal. App. 4th 32, 50 (2004) (judgment enforceable where
arbitrators were rabbis and decision based on Jewish law); Ortiz v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 52 F.
24 Supp. 3d 1070 (E.D. Cal. 2014) (enforcing employment arbitration under the Institute for Christian
Conciliation’s Rules of Procedure); General Conference of Evangelical Methodist Church v.
25 Evangelical Methodist Church of Dalton, Georgia, Inc., 807 F. Supp. 2d 1291, 1294 (N.D. Ga.
2011) (enforcing church rules that requiring resolution of disputed “by means of Christian
26 conciliation, mediation or arbitration”); Easterly v. Heritage Christian School, Inc., 2009 WL
2750099, at * 1 (S.D. Ind. 2009) (teachers at Christian school agreed to resolution of differences by
27 “following the biblical pattern of Matthew 18: 15-17,” and waived right to file lawsuit); Jenkins v.
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 356 Ill. App. 3d 504, 825 N.E. 2d 1206, 1212-13 (2005)
28 (enforcing Lutheran Church doctrine mandating church-based arbitration of disputes); Alla v.
Moursi, 680 N.W. 569 (Minn. Ct. App., 2004) (confirming arbitration award under Islamic law).
67816204v1 19
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 That issue must be decided by the arbitrators and not by this Court. Buckeye, 546 U.S. at 449.

2 Although the issue is for the arbitrators, the Enrollment Agreements are not procedurally

3 unconscionable in any event. To be procedurally unconscionable, elements of “oppression” or

4 “surprise” must be present. See Baltazar, 62 Cal. 4th at 1243; Sonic–Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno,

5 57 Cal. 4th 1109, 1133 (2013). “Oppression arises from an inequality of bargaining power that

6 results in no real negotiation and an absence of meaningful choice. Surprise involves the extent to

7 which the supposedly agreed-upon terms are hidden in a prolix printed form drafted by the party

8 seeking to enforce them.” Flores v. Transamerica HomeFirst, Inc. 93 Cal. App. 4th 846, 853 (2001).

9 Neither are present here. As to “oppression,” the concept of “no meaningful choice” may

10 make sense in a consumer context, but it has no bearing when an individual seeks religious services.

11 Plaintiffs here expressed their “self-determined desire to participate in the Religious Services of the

12 Scientology religion” and agreed to the terms necessary to do so. The Church has a constitutional

13 right to accept or reject members on whatever basis it wishes. It may also impose conditions upon

14 membership free from government intrusion. See Watson, 80 U.S. at 729-31; see also Church of

15 Scientology v. City of Clearwater, 2 F.3d 1514, 1544 (11th Cir. 1993) (striking down city ordinance

16 requiring church to disclose to its members expenditures from donations: “The City may not

17 intervene on behalf of such dissidents. If they remain dissatisfied with the church’s voluntarily

18 assumed disclosure policy then they may attempt to reform that policy from within, they may
19 acquiesce in the policy despite their objections or they may leave the church.”).

20 Thus, the concept of oppression is irrelevant in the context of a decision to participate as a

21 member of a church. Put simply, the government cannot impose on churches the duty to bargain

22 with members over the terms of their participation in the faith. There is no bargaining in church.

23 Plaintiffs chose to participate in Scientology services well into their adult years (the Bixler Plaintiffs

24 came to Scientology as adults). While they may no longer consider themselves Scientologists, the

25 conscionability of the agreements they made to pursue their religious desires are measured at the

26 time they made those commitments. Am. Software, Inc. v. Ali, 46 Cal. App. 4th 1386, 1391 (1996)
27 (“[t]he critical juncture for determining whether a contract is unconscionable is the moment when it

28 is entered into by both parties—not whether it is unconscionable in light of subsequent events.”).

67816204v1 20
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 Plaintiffs repeatedly read, assented to, and experienced the terms of their Agreements with the

2 Church. This Court is in no position to question whether the terms the Church established for

3 Plaintiffs to participate in religious services were “procedurally” improper.

4 “Surprise” is also not at issue here. The arbitration terms were not “hidden” from Plaintiffs

5 in any way. See Flores, 93 Cal. App. 4th at 853. Plaintiffs’ Enrollment Agreements set forth a

6 dispute resolution and arbitration system founded on the religious principles of Scientology and

7 detail the agreed-upon procedure. Plaintiffs specifically agreed, in all caps, to waive any right they

8 had to have disputes decided in a court. [See, e.g., Marmolejo Decl., Exh. 1 at 3.] See Pinnacle

9 Museum Tower Assn. v. Pinnacle Mkt. Dev. (US), LLC, 55 Cal. 4th 223, 247 n.12 (2012) (no surprise

10 where arbitration provision in a “separate” provision and “capitalized”). Carnell executed five

11 Enrollment Agreements over a decade, each containing arbitration provisions. Bixler executed his

12 Agreement after he married Carnell and adopted the long-standing religion of his wife. They did so

13 even after the purported incidents of abuse alleged in the FAC and after Carnell allegedly reported

14 those incidents to CC. [FAC, ¶¶ 69-77.] Similarly, JD1 grew up a Scientologist and signed the

15 Enrollment Agreement when she was approximately 27 years old. [Heller Decl., ¶ 5.] No Plaintiff

16 can claim “surprise” by requirements that Scientologists abide by the religion’s Ethics and Justice

17 procedures.

18 Plaintiffs have argued that enforcing the Enrollment Agreements would impermissibly force
19 them into a “religious ritual.” The argument lacks merit. Where “the parties agree” to refer disputes

20 to a “religious tribunal” it “is proper for a [] court to enforce their contract.” Encore Prods., Inc. v.

21 Promise Keepers, 53 F. Supp. 2d 1101, 1112–13 (D. Colo. 1999) (no violation of First Amendment

22 in compelling religious arbitration against party to arbitration agreement; party “manifests intent to

23 be bound by [the religious arbitration’s] decree and a knowing and voluntary waiver of their rights

24 to pursue litigation in a secular [] court.”). In any event, although the Church’s arbitration procedures

25 are based upon Scientology Scripture, one need not be a practicing Scientologist to participate in

26 them. [Farny Decl. ¶ 23.] Plaintiffs were never “forced” to bring a claim against the Church at all.
27 And now that they have, Plaintiffs are not required to make a profession of faith, undergo

28 Scientology auditing, or perform a ritual of the Scientology religion as part of presenting a dispute

67816204v1 21
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 to the arbitrators. [Id.] Plaintiffs cannot invalidate the agreements they signed simply by disclaiming

2 current participation in Scientology. Such a proposition would render all religious arbitration

3 agreements unenforceable as a party to such agreement could avoid it by renouncing a former faith.

4 There Is No Substantive Unconscionability. “Substantive unconscionability focuses on


5 whether the provision is overly harsh or one-sided and is shown if the disputed provision of the

6 contract falls outside the ‘reasonable expectations’ of the non-drafting party or is ‘unduly

7 oppressive.’” Gutierrez v. Autowest, Inc., 114 Cal. App. 4th 77, 88 (2003). A contract term “is not

8 substantively unconscionable when it merely gives one side a greater benefit; rather, the term must

9 be ‘so one-sided as to “shock the conscience.”’” Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co., LLC, 61 Cal. 4th

10 899, 935 (2015). A substantively unconscionable agreement is one that “no man in his sense and

11 not under delusion would make on the one hand, and no honest and fair man would accept on the

12 other.” California Grocers Assn. v. Bank of America, 22 Cal. App. 4th 205, 214 (1994).

13 There is no substantive unconscionability here. As the Garcia I court noted, the arbitration

14 clauses in Plaintiffs’ Agreements “include the essential terms of an enforceable arbitration

15 agreement”: they describe how Plaintiffs are to initiate dispute resolution (first through informal

16 means, then through a request for arbitration to the IJC); identify the matters to be arbitrated (“any

17 dispute” between them and the Church); describe the selection and number of arbitrators (Plaintiffs

18 designate one, the Church another, and those two designate a third), identify the qualifications of
19 the arbitrators (Scientologists in good standing), and provide that arbitration is binding. See Garcia

20 I, 2015 WL 10844160 at *2, *8. The arbitration provisions are mutually binding and impose no

21 arbitration fee on Plaintiffs. There is no reason not to enforce Plaintiffs’ agreement.

22 Finally, while Plaintiffs will argue that they cannot expect a fair hearing because the

23 Enrollment Agreements call for an arbitration before a panel of Scientologists and because they

24 have been declared suppressive under Church doctrine, their supposed fears of partiality do not

25 make the agreements unconscionable. The Garcia court rejected both of those contentions, holding

26 that plaintiffs agreed that the arbitrators selected would be in good standing with the Church” and
27 thus, “[t]o the extent … they challenge the partiality of the arbitrators because of their standing with

28 the Church, they agreed to inherent partiality in their agreements.” Garcia II, 2018 WL 3439638 at

67816204v1 22
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
1 *3.5 The court also observed that the IJC had been appointed to “operate as a terminal for

2 Suppressive Persons” and that the “arbitrators were instructed to ‘conduct th[e] arbitration in a fair

3 and neutral manner, notwithstanding the Garcias have been declared.’” Id. at *1. The Garcias also

4 received an award in their favor from the panel of Scientologist arbitrators. Id. at *2; see also Gen.

5 Conference of Evangelical Methodist Church, 807 F. Supp. 2d at 1294-95, 1301 (“[C]ourts should

6 not presume, absent concrete proof to the contrary, that arbitration systems will be unfair or biased”);

7 Easterly v. Heritage Christian Sch., 2001 WL 2750099 (S.D. Ind. 2009) (rejecting claims that

8 arbitrators would be inherently biased because of their religious beliefs and affiliations); Jenkins v.

9 Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 356 Ill. App. 3d 504, 512, 825 N.E.2d 1206, 1214 (2005)

10 (“generalized fear of partiality” is “insufficient to overturn the LCMS arbitration process”). In short,

11 Plaintiffs chose to have their disputes heard by qualified Church members and cannot now claim

12 unfairness when any claimed partiality was inherent in their choice of arbitrators. Nat’l Football

13 League Mgmt. Council v. Nat’l Football League Players Ass’n, 820 F.3d 527, 532, 548 (2d Cir.

14 2016) (“arbitration is a matter of contract, and consequently, the parties to an arbitration can ask for

15 no more impartiality than inheres in the method they have chosen”).

16 IV. CONCLUSION
17 RTC’s motion should be granted and the lawsuit should be stayed pending arbitration.

18 DATED: April 1, 2020 JEFFER MANGELS BUTLER & MITCHELL LLP

19
By:
20
MATTHEW D. HINKS
21 Attorneys for Defendant RELIGIOUS
TECHNOLOGY CENTER
22

23
5
This case is unlike the employment law cases upon which Plaintiffs have relied involving
24 arbitrators that were not selected by the parties but were instead employed by and/or under the
control of the employer, such as Hooters of America, Inc. v. Phillips, 173 F.3d 933 (4th Cir. 1999)
25 and Cheng-Canindin v. Renaissance Hotel Assocs., 50 Cal. App. 4th 676 (1996); or cases where the
pool of arbitrators was unduly narrow and selected by only one party such as in Zaborowksi v. MHN
26 Gov’t Servs., Inc., 936 F. Supp. 2d 1145, 1153 (N.D. Cal. 2013) (employee must select one of three
arbitrators chosen by employer), Chavarria v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 733 F.3d 916, 927 (9th Cir.
27 2013) (process designed to ensure that the single arbitrator is selected by employer), and Pokorny
v. Quixtar, Inc., 601 F.3d 987 (9th Cir. 2010) (pool of arbitrators pre-selected and trained by multi-
28 level marketing company). The only requirement here is that the arbitrators be in good standing with
the Church. The Agreements permit Plaintiffs to participate in the selection of the arbitrators.
67816204v1 23
Motion to Compel Religious Arbitration
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 1900 Avenue
of the Stars, 7th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067-4308.
6
On April 1, 2020, I served true copies of the following document(s) described as NOTICE
7 OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL RELIGIOUS ARBITRATION AND FOR
STAY OF LITIGATION AS TO PLAINTIFFS CARNELL BIXLER, BIXLER-ZAVALA
8 AND JANE DOE #1; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT
THEREOF as follows:
9
SEE ATTACHED SERVICE LIST
10
BY MAIL: I enclosed the document(s) in a sealed envelope or package addressed to the
11 persons at the addresses listed in the Service List and placed the envelope for collection and
mailing, following our ordinary business practices. I am readily familiar with the practice of
12 Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP for collecting and processing correspondence for mailing.
On the same day that correspondence is placed for collection and mailing, it is deposited in the
13 ordinary course of business with the United States Postal Service, in a sealed envelope with
postage fully prepaid. I am a resident or employed in the county where the mailing occurred. The
14 envelope was placed in the mail at Los Angeles, California.

15 BY OVERNIGHT DELIVERY: I enclosed said document(s) in an envelope or package


provided by the overnight service carrier and addressed to the persons at the addresses listed in the
16 Service List. I placed the envelope or package for collection and overnight delivery at an office or
a regularly utilized drop box of the overnight service carrier or delivered such document(s) to a
17 courier or driver authorized by the overnight service carrier to receive documents.

18 BY CM/ECF NOTICE OF ELECTRONIC FILING: I electronically filed the


document(s) with the Clerk of the Court by using the CM/ECF system. Participants in the case
19 who are registered CM/ECF users will be served by the CM/ECF system. Participants in the case
who are not registered CM/ECF users will be served by mail or by other means permitted by the
20 court rules.

21 I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the
foregoing is true and correct.
22
Executed on April 1, 2020, at Los Angeles, California.
23

24

25

26
Victoria Robles
27

28

67509846v1
1 SERVICE LIST
2 Chrissie Carnell Bixler v. Church of Scientology International
LASC Case No. 19STCV29458
3

4 SERVED VIA OVERNIGHT MAIL AND Attorneys for Plaintiff


COURT E-FILING SYSTEM Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Cedric Bixler-Zavala,
5 Jane Doe #1, Marie Bobette Riales, and Jane
Robert Thompson Doe #2
6 Kristen Vierhaus Phone: (650) 513-6111
Thompson Law Offices Fax: (650) 513-6071
7 700 Airport Boulevard bobby@tlopc.com
Suite 160 kris@tlopc.com
8 Burlingame, CA 94010

9 SERVED VIA REGULAR MAIL Attorneys for Defendant


Church of Scientology International
10 Peggy Dayton Phone: (213) 613-4680
William Forman Fax: (213) 613-4656
11 David Scheper pdayton@scheperkim.com
Jeffrey Steinfeld wforman@scheperkim.com
12 Scheper Kim & Harris LLP dscheper@scheperkim.com
800 West Sixth Street, 18th Floor jsteinfeld@scheperkim.com
13 Los Angeles, CA 90017
14 SERVED VIA REGULAR MAIL Attorneys for Defendant
David Miscavige
15 Jeff Riffer Phone: (310) 746-4400
Elkins Kalt Weintraub Reuben Gartside LLP Fax: (310) 746-4499
16 10345 W. Olympic Boulevard jriffer@elkinskalt.com
Los Angeles, CA 90064
17
SERVED VIA REGULAR MAIL Attorneys for Defendant
18 Daniel Masterson
Andrew Brettler Phone: (310) 556-3501
19 Lavely & Singer Professional Corporation Fax: (310) 556-3615
2049 Century Park E 2400 abrettler@lavelysinger.com
20 Los Angeles, CA 90067
21 SERVED VIA REGULAR MAIL Attorneys for Plaintiffs
Brian D. Kent
22 Gaetano D'Andrea Phone: (215) 399-9255
M. Stewart Ryan Fax: (215) 241-8700
23 Helen L. Fitzpatrick
Lauren Stram
24 Laffey Bucci & Kent LLP
1435 Walnut Street, Suite 700
25 Philadelphia, PA 19102
26
27

28

67509846v1
1 SERVED VIA REGULAR MAIL Attorneys for Plaintiffs
Jeffrey P. Fritz
2 Soloff & Zervanos P C Phone: (215) 732-2260
1525 Locust Street, 8th Floor Fax: (215) 732-2289
3 Philadelphia, PA 19102

4 SERVED VIA REGULAR MAIL Attorneys for Plaintiffs


Marci Hamilton
5 University of Pennsylvania Phone: (215) 353-8984
Fox-Fels Building Fax: (215) 493-1094
6 3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
7
SERVED VIA REGULAR MAIL Attorneys for Plaintiffs
8 Graham E. Berry
Law Office of Graham E. Berry
9 3384 McLaughlin Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066-2005
10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18
19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

67509846v1
Journal Technologies Court Portal

Court Reservation Receipt


Reservation
Reservation ID: Status:
493392933848 RESERVED
Reservation Type: Number of Motions:
Motion to Compel Arbitration 1
Case Title:
Case Number: CHRISSIE CARNELL BIXLER, et al. vs CHURCH OF
19STCV29458 SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL, et al.
Filing Party: Location:
Religious Technology Center (Defendant) Stanley Mosk Courthouse - Department 57
Date/Time: Con rmation Code:
July 24th 2020, 8:30AM CR-5AHIDCTB8J8TVM22W

Fees
Description Fee Qty Amount

Motion to Compel Arbitration 60.00 1 60.00

Credit Card Percentage Fee (2.75%) 1.65 1 1.65

TOTAL $61.65

Payment
Amount: Type:
$61.65 Visa
Account Number: Authorization:
XXXX9975 182525

 Back to Main    Print Page  

Copyright © Journal Technologies, USA. All rights reserved.