Laura DeCrescenzo forced-abortion lawsuit updates

Discussion in 'Media' started by The Wrong Guy, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. wolfbane Member

    Latest info that can be gleaned from the online docket shows TeamLaura has filed for another partial dismissal of requested actions that they raised in the second amended complaint.

    The previous partial dismissal request noted earlier ITT:
    The new one from earlier this month:


    From the Revised Second Amended Complaint:

    Paragraph 16 - Plaintiff seeks damages for her emotional distress in a sum to be established according to proof. Further, Plaintiff seeks an injunction against forced abortions in violation of the right to privacy and reasonable attorney's fees according to proof. This claim is made for the public good and to discourage this outrageous conduct from continuing in the future.

    Paragraph 47 - Plaintiff seeks damages for her emotional distress in a sum to be established according to proof. Further, Plaintiff seeks an injunction against future confinement and deprivation of liberty by means of threats, coercion, and intimidation on the part of Defendants, and reasonable attorney's fees according to proof. This claim is made for the public good and to discourage this outrageous conduct from continuing in the future.

    Prayer for Relief Paragraph 6 - For injunctive relief preventing forced abortions, deprivation of liberty, and unfair and fraudulent business practices.

    While the previous request for a partial dismissal seemed rather tame and NBD, this new one seems a bit disconcerting. Although it's definitely way better than a settlement notice, I'm still just a wee bit sad to see this nonetheless. :(

    IANAL but this move makes me wonder - is TeamLaura trimming their impetus for a more narrowly focused strategy that will be easier to win at trial? Or is the weight of time and scilon lawfare tactics finally wearing on them? I'm hoping it's the former. (/i-haz-a-sad-speculation)

    Some info on what this newest partial dismissal relates to...


    Injunctive relief consists of a court order called an injunction, requiring an individual to do or not do a specific action. It is an extraordinary remedy that courts utilize in special cases where preservation of the status quo or taking some specific action is required in order to prevent possible injustice. For example, in a custody case, an injunction may be used to prevent a party from removing a child from the country. Injunctive relief is an equitable remedy granted when money damages are not able to compensate the plaintiff's violation of rights if an injuction is not granted. Failure to comply with a notice of an injunction is punishable by being held in contempt of court.

    So the aspect of this case where they wanted to get permaban court orders telling Scientology to stop the worst of the Sea Org abuses will be off the table *IF* the judge grants this request. At least temporarily since the phrase "without prejudice" in the context of a dismissal seemingly means it can be resurrected later under a different action.

    From: prejudice

    The inclusion of the term without prejudice in a judgment of dismissal ordinarily indicates the absence of a decision on the merits and leaves the parties free to litigate the matter in a subsequent action, as though the dismissed action had not been started. Therefore, a dismissal without prejudice makes it unnecessary for the court in which the subsequent action is brought to determine whether that action is based on the same cause as the original action, or whether the identical parties are involved in the two actions.

    Question(s) for lawfags - *IF* this is granted, is there a commonly done way for these injunctive relief requests to get resurrected and/or somehow come back into the picture at a later phase in the proceedings? Or can a judge order an injunction like what was originally proposed when he decides a case without it being officially stated as a cause of action? TIA!
    • Like Like x 5
  2. Random guy Member

    I remember Tikk describing this lawsuit as a "scattergun approach" compared to the Headly's case. My guess is, now that they have passed the initial hurdle, they ar etrimming the lawsuit down to focus on the most provable and important aspects.

    But I'm not a lawyer of course.
    • Like Like x 5
  3. muldrake Member

    There would be a good argument in a subsequent case between the same parties that the plaintiffs in this case had their opportunity to raise these claims in the previous case and deliberately chose not to do so. Some states (specifically New Jersey) have a doctrine, in New Jersey known as the "entire controversy doctrine," which requires a litigant to raise all claims related to the dispute between the parties in a single case, or else waive the right to have them heard at all. This is basically to prevent the tactic of filing a single case with a single claim, then keep doing that over and over again basically forever.

    As for injunctions, though, the power of a court to issue injunctions is nearly limitless (outside of specific limitations imposed by acts of Congress like the Anti-Injunction Act). The power derives from equity (principles of fairness) and a court can craft and issue injunctions with or without a motion, limited only by its jurisdiction and the law. However, courts are generally loath to exercise these powers, and if a party has clearly declined to seek such relief, it is virtually unheard-of for a court to go ahead and do it anyway.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. wolfbane Member

    Nothing new on the docket for case since the entry of the Partial Dismissal being granted in December for dropping the request for Injunctive Relief. But Rinder made this passing comment today that indicates the case is proceeding outside of the courtroom:

    • Like Like x 1
  5. wolfbane Member

    Judge in Laura DeCrescenzo’s case retires, Scientology objects to his replacement
    Latest actions on docket since TeamLaura asked for the partial dismissal of the Injunctive Relief stuff last December:
    03/04/2014 Affidavit of Prejudice--Peremptory
    Filed by Attorney for Defendant/Respondent

    02/26/2014 Notice (OF CASE REASSIGNMENT )
    Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff/Petitioner

    02/20/2014 Notice of Reassignment and Order
    Filed by Clerk

    Some notes on the new judge: Ongkeko was assigned to the bench by Gov. Gray in 2002, and transferred from divorce court to personal injury in 2011. So he only has a few years of case history relevant to TeamLaura's interests.

    It also appears he was not well liked in divorce court. From:
    Also, it looks like TeamScilon timing totally sucks for splitting hairs on a Judge Assignment for a personal injury case already at Stanley Mosk courthouse. Los Angeles County Superior Court is scheduled to undergo major changes during March-April due to severe budget crisis. Some of the smaller county courthouses are being closed down and there is this massive consolidation set to hit Stanley Mosk Personal Injury (PI) civil court judges on March 18th when 6400 cases are transferred from the closing courthouses and reassigned to the panel that includes Ongkeko.

    There's lots of news short about ^^This, but I found the best extended explanation on the following local PI lawfirm:

    IANAL, but from the sounds of it, all those transferred cases will be eligible for the 10day window to request a different judge once they land at Stanley Mosk, so there's a lovely bit of chaos coming to that court system that TeamScilon barely jumped in front of. Plus all the calendar blow out and time extensions each judge will likely have pile up on their dockets as they absorb that bulk caseload into their schedules.

    Can we say hot mess? Yeah... seems that way.
    • Like Like x 10
  6. RightOn Member

    ruh roh and
    COS usual bawwing
  7. BlooAnon Member

    Just when I thought it couldn't get more complicated... Just wow.
    • Like Like x 4
  8. muldrake Member

    If I recall correctly, the 10 day window is for requesting a different judge without having to prove prejudice of any kind. There are two relevant sections of the Civil Code, 170.3 and 170.6 (peremptory disqualification with no need to provide evidence), to which the 10 day rule applies.

    A peremptory under 170.6 requires nothing more than "good faith belief" the case would be prejudiced by going forward with that judge (in practice basically no reason at all).

    Disqualification for cause can be raised basically at any time, though must be brought in a timely fashion, i.e. you can't know about the reason for disqualification and then just wait until the case isn't going your way. (Well, Scientology pulls stunts like that all the time but it isn't kosher.)
    • Like Like x 1
  9. wolfbane Member

    There is an interesting blurb on the second page of the newsletter re: court consolidation changes that I linked to above, which says under the new system (that seemingly means after March 18) the 170.6 thing is trickier...

    "Under the new plan, the use of the peremptory strike will become more strategic and complicated."

    Which is partly why I said TeamScilon barely got in front of the chaos that might break loose when all these changes in the superior court system is unleash when they cutover to the new system/practices/policies.
  10. muldrake Member

    From what I understand, it's already an utter mess. For instance, in criminal cases, it can be next to impossible to figure out exactly when you actually have a judge assigned. Considering 170.6 was enacted specifically to simplify things, the amount of litigation over it has been ridiculous.

    Incidentally, this appears to be the actual form:


  11. wolfbane Member

    So TeamScilon didn't use that form, but the lame ass wording they used that doesn't really say much is straight out of that example:
  12. muldrake Member

    Frequently used forms like this are often created for the benefit of pro se litigants who otherwise wouldn't know what language to use. Lawyers can use them, too, but often have their own boilerplate language they use for whatever reason, or take their language from gigantic databases of fill in the blanks forms like West's.

    I think if they're just using the boilerplate 170.6 allegation of bias that they are pretty sure they got it in in the 10 day limit. Otherwise, they'd probably cover their ass by also including more detailed allegations of bias. I'm not sure why they're disqualifying this judge. Maybe they just don't like his reputation.

    Or maybe they had some kind of run-in with him in the past, but not that I know of.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. The Wrong Guy Member

    New judge announced in Laura DeCrescenzo case

    By Tony Ortega

    The last time we checked on Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit against Scientology, we learned that Judge Ronald Sohigian (who handed Laura such a decisive victory in October) had decided to retire. The case was assigned to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rafael A. Ongkeko, but Scientology filed a peremptory challenge, which automatically was granted.

    So now, the case has been assigned to Judge Robert L. Hess.

    Continued at
    • Like Like x 4
  14. wolfbane Member

    Ooo... an interesting comment from Graham Berry:

    Graham Berry3 hours ago
    When a party, such as Scientology, files a CCP 170.6 preemptory challenge there is the risk you may end up with an even more unsuitable judge and Scientology has done that just here. It has no further challenge. IMHO Judge Hess is the worst judge they could have drawn. He is as schooled in Scientology chicanery as any Los Angeles Superior Court judge. He was the judge in the Wollersheim judgment collection case and it was his tentative ruling against Scientology that led the church to finally pay Wollersheim a reported approx. $9M in final settlement (of the original $30M judgment). The defense would be foolish not to keep the new judge since they can also file a CCP 170.6 challenge (once).

    TeamScilon should have kept the first judge. Bwahahahaha!
    • Like Like x 17
  15. eddieVroom Member

    Win after win...
    • Like Like x 3
  16. RightOn Member

    "He was the judge in the Wollersheim judgment collection case"

    sounds good to me
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Random guy Member

    The Schadenfreude, it's so thick it hurts!

    • Like Like x 3
  18. BlooAnon Member

    Oh happy day....
    • Like Like x 2
  19. Incredulicide Member

    Thank you Graham Berry for this scene which plays like a cartoon in my head when I read it :)
    And of course Tony Ortega for reporting it in 1999
    • Like Like x 8
  20. The Wrong Guy Member

    Ryan Hamilton jumps on Narconon’s answer in Nevada drug rehab lawsuit | The Underground Bunker

    On Tuesday, we posted Narconon’s response to the first of four federal fraud lawsuits filed against the Scientology drug rehab facilities in recent weeks. Now, just days later, Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton has come swinging back, asking the court to accept that Narconon has essentially admitted to the allegations his client made about the deceptive practices at the Nevada facility, Rainbow Canyon Retreat in the town of Caliente.

    That’s aggressive lawyering, and maybe an informed approach to Scientology’s legal style, given its history.

    A couple additional court notes before we let you loose on the court filing.

    An eagle-eyed reader noticed that the law firm hired by Narconon in this lawsuit — Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP — is the same one that used to employ Graham Berry, the New Zealand ex-pat who lives in Southern California and who tangled with Scientology in several different actions. (For a little ancient history involving your narrator, see this story about Berry we did for New Times Los Angeles in 1999, which was also published in the Phoenix New Times.)

    We asked Berry about his old firm getting involved, and he posted this to Facebook: “My old law firm, Lewis, Brisbois, is now defending Narconon in Las Vegas after successfully defending against Scientology in the Flynn case (1980s), the Yanny I (appeal) and Yanny II (trial and appeal) and Fishman-Geertz cases. I’m shocked, except that OSA and Eugene Ingram did a potentially damaging investigation of the senior partner of Lewis, Brisbois after we had also won the Fishman-Geertz case.”

    Hey, there’s a whole lot of avenues for our readers to run down!

    And Graham pointed out another connection we didn’t make right away. Also on Tuesday, we reported that the new judge in Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit against Scienetology is Robert L. Hess.

    We should have remembered that name, but it was Berry who reminded us — it was Hess who scheduled an evidentiary hearing in 2002 that resulted in Scientology throwing in the towel in one of the church’s greatest court defeats of all time. Rather than have that hearing occur, the morning it was scheduled, Scientology showed up with a check for nearly $9 million, ending litigation that had lasted for more than 20 years with former church member Lawrence Wollersheim. That capitulation motivated us to write about the entire Wollersheim saga. Just a couple of weeks before it was scheduled to run in New Times Los Angeles in October 2002, the newspaper folded, and we weren’t able to publish that story until 2008. Give it a look when you have some time to kill.

    Anyway, as Graham points out, Judge Hess has plenty of history with Scientology, and so the church’s move to disqualify Judge Rafael Ongkeko could not have turned out worse. Hess is well aware of Scientology’s legal shenanigans, and also should be very familiar with Scientology’s deceptive corporate structure, which was very much a part of the Wollersheim matter. We’re looking forward to how he handles Laura’s lawsuit.

    So, without further ado, here’s Ryan Hamilton’s motion in the Welch lawsuit. As usual, we’re looking forward to reactions from our lawyerly readers.

    Continued at
    • Like Like x 6
  21. RightOn Member

    ^ me likey
  22. jensting Member

    Bah - everyone knows that Captain David "he is NOT insane!" Miscavige will simply delegate the handling of this to his trusted staff and that the sheer number of lawsuits has no bearing on the fortunes of the criminal organisation known as the "church" of $cientology... Or?
    • Like Like x 2
  24. The Wrong Guy Member

    Laura DeCrescenzo asks for a new judge

    By Tony Ortega

    We have to admit that we’re pretty puzzled about this development. If you’ve been following our coverage, you know that Laura DeCrescenzo won a huge victory in her forced-abortion lawsuit against Scientology in October. We were in the courtroom of Los Angeles Superior Court judge Ronald Sohigian when he denied Scientology’s motion for summary judgment and then set a trial for early 2015. But then, Sohigian announced his retirement, and the case was assigned to Judge Rafael Ongkeko. Scientology then filed a peremptory objection to Ongkeko, which it has the right to do, and so the case was then assigned to Robert L. Hess.

    Attorney Graham Berry reminded us that we know of Judge Hess. Back in 2002, we reported a story about the Larry Wollersheim saga finally coming to a close when Judge Hess fended off Scienotology’s objections and scheduled an evidentiary hearing, 26 years after Wollersheim had originally won a huge judgment against the church. In that hearing, Wollersheim’s attorneys were itching to enter evidence that would challenge the corporate structure of Scientology, evidence that looked explosive. Instead, the morning of that hearing, Scientology showed up with a check for nearly $9 million to make the case go away — even though for decades it had vowed never to give “one thin dime for Wollersheim.” It was a stunning surrender, and we wrote up the entire thing for the Voice years later.

    Berry pointed out to us that as far as the judge lottery was concerned, Laura seemed to have hit the jackpot.

    So we are wondering at her attorney John Blumberg’s decision to file an objection to Hess, which will be automatically granted. Rather than take Hess, Laura’s team has elected to roll the dice.

    Continued at
    • Like Like x 4
  25. wolfbane Member

    I think TeamLaura's request for a different judge was wise. Had they stuck with Hess, TeamScilon would have been able to spin things way out into left field in regards to complaining that the judge was biased against them. The less room for they have bawling, the more likely the case will stay on track for finally coming before a jury.
    • Like Like x 4
  26. wolfbane Member

    BUMP for latest docket updates from:
    Case Number: BC411018

    Future Hearings

    05/21/2014 at 08:30 am in department 56 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
    Conference-Case Management

    07/10/2014 at 08:32 am in department 56 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    Documents Filed (Filing dates listed in descending order)

    04/18/2014 Notice-Case Management Conference
    Filed by Clerk

    04/11/2014 Declaration
    Filed by Attorney for Deft/Respnt

    04/11/2014 Proof of Service
    Filed by Attorney for Deft/Respnt

    04/11/2014 Statement of Facts
    Filed by Attorney for Deft/Respnt

    04/11/2014 Motion to Compel
    Filed by Attorney for Deft/Respnt

    Note that everything from the motion to compel dox to the lawfag declaration have all been filed by TeamScilon.
    • Like Like x 2
  27. RightOn Member

    Thanks Wolfie for always updating al these cases
    • Like Like x 1
  28. DeathHamster Member
    • Like Like x 3
  29. RightOn Member

    go Geanacopulos!!
    I like that each family is filing separately against NN, rather than a class action lawsuit. This will cost the cult more and be more worrisome in the long run. IMO
    And as far as the COS wanting Laura's computer, can team Laura haz their computers too? (they would be scrubbed anyways)
    Third party company to get contents off the hard drive? yeah I would trust that.
    • Like Like x 1
  30. The Wrong Guy Member

    This morning Tony Ortega posted this:

    For you completists, we have posted a 215-page declaration filed by Scientology in Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit. It’s supplemental material that Scientology is using to support its motion to compel Laura to turn over an unused computer she’s storing in her garage and that she happened to mention in a deposition. If you find anything interesting in this haystack, let us know.

    • Like Like x 1
  31. Random guy Member

    It seems to be a singe letter from the cult's lawyer, with a load of material attached. Basically, they are bawing over Team Laura not handing over her old computer already.
  32. The Wrong Guy Member

    • Like Like x 2
  33. The Wrong Guy Member

    What do Angry Gay Pope and Laura DeCrescenzo have in common?

    By Tony Ortega

    Give up? It’s Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard E. Rico!

    Regular readers will know that we’ve been following developments in the dramatic forced-abortion lawsuit of Laura DeCrescenzo, which is set for trial next year. Recently, the case has been bouncing around numerous courtrooms after the retirement of Judge Ronald Sohigian. And now, it’s landed in the bailiwick of Judge Rico.

    That name is familiar if you were keeping track of the legal adventures of colorful and outspoken critic Angry Gay Pope, whose protesting antics were viewed dimly by the church.

    Here’s an account by attorney Graham Berry about what it was like to appear before Judge Rico on Pope’s behalf.
    • Like Like x 2
  34. wolfbane Member

    Latest docket updates for CASE NUMBER BC411018

    Future Hearings - 07/25/2014 at 08:30 am in department 17 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
    Status Conference

    Documents Filed - 06/27/2014 Notice of Status Conference filed. Filed by Attorney for Pltf/Petnr

    06/24/2014 Notice of Status Conference filed. Filed by Clerk

    05/12/2014 Statement-Case Management. Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff/Petitioner

    05/06/2014 Statement-Case Management. Filed by Attorney for Deft/Respnt

    05/05/2014 Notice of Continuance. Filed by Attorney for Deft/Respnt

    04/30/2014 Notice of Continuance. Filed by Clerk

    04/18/2014 Notice-Case Management Conference. Filed by Clerk

    No sign of the judge ruling on the cult's April 11 motion to compel TeamLaura to turn over her computers/email.
    • Like Like x 2
  35. The Wrong Guy Member

    Laura DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit: Scientology tries more obstacles and delays

    Not a lot has happened in Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit since we reported on her stunning victory over Scientology’s motion for summary judgment in October.

    After that hearing, Judge Ronald Sohigian set a trial date for early in 2015, but then he retired. After the case changed hands a couple of times, now both sides have submitted statements in advance of a status conference that’s scheduled to happen tomorrow.

    In Laura’s statement, we get a short summary of where this complex case has been, as well as a description of Sohigian’s plan for a bifurcated trial — initially, a few days would be spent hashing out statute of limitations issues before proceeding to the main event. Laura’s team asks for a trial to start by May 20, 2015. (Attached to the short statement is a voluminous collection of material from past filings and hearings.)

    Scientology’s statement, naturally, tries to give the new judge the idea that all of the issues it failed to get past Sohigian are still in play. They also indicate they want another motion for summary judgment, as well as some other delaying matters. Scientology, in no rush, says a trial date of September 2015 makes more sense, and doesn’t mind waiting for the end of the year.
    • Like Like x 4
  36. The Wrong Guy Member

    Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit had a status hearing on Wednesday, and as a result, she seems even farther away from a trial date.

    If you remember our previous coverage, we posted filings by both sides which discussed a new trial date since the lawsuit has been bounced around to several different judges.


    Now, a new judge will have to get up to speed on the very complex case, and new dates will be set. But as Laura pointed out in her previous filings, that September 2015 date may be pretty crucial. There’s apparently a rule that a trial has to happen within five years of a lawsuit being filed, and with the time it was in the appeals court added on, that limit is reached in September next year. Can the new judge get into the swing of this case and set a trial date by then? We’ll be watching.
    • Like Like x 1
  37. jensting Member

    This makes me apprehensive. Very apprehensive. As well as a little surprised that the time wasted in useless appeals (the time wasted in the SCotUS included?!?) is counted.
    • Like Like x 1
  38. The Wrong Guy Member

    Laura DeCrescenzo finally has a new judge

    The game of judicial musical chairs in Los Angeles has finally produced a new winner as Judge Rolf Michael Treu was selected to take over Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced abortion lawsuit against the Church of Scientology.

    Laura first sued the church in 2009, and her case has been through a legal rollercoaster since then. We were there when she managed to get past one big hurdle, defeating Scientology’s motion for summary judgment last year. Judge Ronald Sohigian had scheduled a trial for early 2015 before he retired.

    Continued here:
    • Like Like x 1
  39. RightOn Member

    I sincerely hope this does not drag on until 2016. She filed in 2009 for cripes sakes.
    She has been to hell and back.
    Where is the justice in a case filed in 2009 and then prolonged till 2016?
    Shakes head
    • Like Like x 1
  40. Random guy Member

    I just hope the insane detours the cult has taken to slow down the case will count for something.

Share This Page

Customize Theme Colors


Choose a color via Color picker or click the predefined style names!

Primary Color :

Secondary Color :
Predefined Skins