SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
|CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF CALIFORNIA,
MARY SUE HUBBARD,
|No. C 420153
MEMORANDUM OF INTENDED DECISION
In this matter heretofore taken under submission, the Court announces its intended decision as follows:
As to the tort causes of action, plaintiff, and plaintiff in intervention are to take nothing, and the defendant is entitled to Judgment and costs.
As to the equitable actions, the court finds that neither plaintiff has clean hands, and that at least as of this time, are not entitled to the immediate return of any document or objects previously retained by the court clerk. All exhibits
All other documents or objects presently in the possession of the clerk (not marked herein as court exhibits) shall be retained by the clerk, subject to the same orders as are presently in effect as to sealing and inspection, until such time as trial court proceedings are concluded as to the severed cross complaint. For the purposes of this Judgment, conclusion will occur when any motion for a new trial has been denied, or the time within such a motion must be brought has expired without such motion being made. At that time, all documents neither received in evidence, nor marked for identification only, shall be released by the clerk to plaintiff’s representatives. Notwithstanding this order, the parties may
1. Exhibits in evidence No. 500-40; JJJ; KKK; LLL; MMM; NNN; OOO; PPP; QQQ; RRR; and 500-QQQQ.
Exhibits for identification only No. JJJJ; Series 500-DDDD, EEEE, FFFF, GGGG, HHHH, IIII, NNNN-1, OOOO, ZZZZ, CCCCC, GGGGG, IIIII, KKKKK, LLLLL, OOOOO, PPPPP, QQQQQ, BBBBBB, OOOOOO, BBBBBBB.
Defendant and his counsel are free to speak or communicate upon any of Defendant Armstrong’s recollections of his life as a Scientologist or the contents of any exhibit received in evidence or marked for identification and not specifically ordered sealed. As to all documents, and other materials held under seal by the clerk, counsel and the defendant shall remain subject to the same injunctions as presently exist, at least until the conclusion of the proceedings on the cross complaint. However, in any other legal proceedings in which defense counsel, or any of them, is of record, such counsel shall have the right to discuss exhibits under seal, or their contents, if such is reasonably necessary and incidental to the proper representation of his or her client.
Further, if any court of competent jurisdiction orders defendant or his attorney to testify concerning the fact of any such exhibit, document, object, or its contents, such testimony shall be given, and no violation of this order will occur. Likewise, defendant and his counsel may discuss the contents of any documents under seal or of any matters as to which this court has found to be privileged as between the parties hereto, with any duly constituted Governmental Law Enforcement Agency or submit any exhibits or declarations thereto concerning such document or materials, without violating any order of this court.
This court will retain jurisdiction to enforce, modify, alter, or terminate any injunction included within the Judgment.
Counsel for defendant is ordered to prepare, serve, and file a Judgment on the Complaint and Complaint in Intervention, and Statement of Decision if timely and properly requested, consistent with the court’s intended decision.
The court has found the facts essentially as set forth in defendant’s trial brief, which as modified, is attached as an appendix to this memorandum. In addition the court finds that while working for L.R. Hubbard (hereinafter referred to as LRH), the defendant also had an informal employer-employee relationship with plaintiff Church, but had permission and authority from plaintiffs and LRH to provide Omar Garrison with every document or object that was made available to Mr. Garrison, and further, had permission from Omar Garrison to take and deliver to his attorneys the documents and materials which were subsequently delivered to them and thenceforth into the custody of the County Clerk.
Plaintiff Church has made out a prima facie case of conversion (as bailee of the materials), breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of confidence (as the former employer who provided confidential materials to its then employee for certain specific purposes, which the employee later used for other purposes to plaintiff’s detriment). Plaintiff Mary Jane Hubbard has likewise made out a prima facie case of conversion
While defendant has asserted various theories of defense, the basic thrust of his testimony is that he did what he did, because he believed that his life, physical and mental well being, as well as that of his wife were threatened because the organization was aware of what he knew about the life of LRH, the secret machinations and financial activities of the Church, and his dedication to the truth. He believed that the only way he could defend himself, physically as well as from harassing lawsuits, was to take from Omar Garrison those materials which would support and corroborate everything that he had been saying within the Church about LRH and the Church, or refute the allegations made against him in the April 22 Suppressive Person Declare. He believed that the only way he could be sure that the documents would remain secure for his future use was to send them to his attorneys, and that to protect himself, he had to go public so as to minimize the risk that LRH, the Church, or any of their agents would do him physical harm.
This conduct if reasonably believed by the defendant and engaged in by him in good faith, finds support as a defense to the plaintiff’s charges in the Restatements of Agency, Torts, and case law.
Restatement of Agency, Second, provides:
” Section 395f: An agent is privileged to reveal information confidentially acquired by him in the course of his agency in the protection of a superior interest of himself or a third person.”
” Section 418: An agent is privileged to protect interests of his own which are superior to those of the principal, even though he does so at the expense of the principal’s interest or in disobedience to his orders.”
Restatement of torts, Second, section 271:
“One is privileged to commit an act which would otherwise be a trespass to or a conversion of a chattel in the possession of another, for the purpose of defending himself or a third person against the other, under the same conditions which would afford a privilege to inflict harmful or offensive contact upon the other for the same purpose.”
The Restatement of Torts, Second, section 652a, as well as case law, make it clear that not all invasions of privacy are unlawful or tortious. It is only when the invasion is unreasonable that it becomes actionable. Hence, the trier of fact must engage in a balancing test, weighing the nature and extent of the invasion, as against the purported justification therefore to determine whether in a given case, the particular invasion was unreasonable.
In addition the defendant has asserted as defense the principal involved in the case of Willig v. Gold, 75 Cal.App.2d, 809, 814, which holds that an agent has a right or privilege to disclose his principal’s dishonest acts to the party prejudicially affected by them.
Plaintiff Church has asserted and obviously has certain rights arising out of the First Amendment. Thus, the court cannot, and has not inquired into or attempted to evaluate the
As indicated by its factual findings, the court finds the Testimony of Gerald and Jocelyn Armstrong, Laurel Sullivan, Nancy Dincalcis, Edward Walters, Omar Garrison, Kima Douglas, and Howard Schomer to be credible, extremely persuasive, and the defense of privilege or justification established and corroborated by this evidence. Obviously, there are some discrepancies or variations in recollections, but these are the normal problems which arise from lapse of time, or from different people viewing matters or events from different perspectives. In all critical and important matters, their testimony was precise, accurate, and rang true. The picture painted by these former dedicated Scientologists, all of whom were intimately involved with LRH, or Mary Jane Hubbard, or of the Scientology Organization, is on the one hand pathetic, and on the other, outrageous. Each of these persons literally gave years of his or her respective life in support of a man, LRH, and his ideas. Each has manifested a waste and loss or frustration which is incapable of description. Each has broken with the movement for a variety of reasons, but at the same time, each is, still bound by the knowledge that the Church has
In 1970 a police agency of the French Government conducted an investigation into Scientology and concluded, “this sect, under the pretext of ‘freeing humans’ is nothing in reality but a vast enterprise to extract the maximum amount of money from its adepts by (use of) pseudo-scientific theories, by (use of) ‘auditions’ and ’stage settings’ (lit. to ‘create a theatrical scene’) pushed to extremes (a machine to detect lies, its own particular phraseology . . ), to estrange adepts from their families and to exercise a kind of blackmail against persons who do not wish to continue with this sect.”2 From the evidence presented to this court in 1984, at the very least, similar conclusions can be drawn. In addition to violating and abusing its own members civil rights, the organization over the years with its “Fair Game” doctrine has harassed and abused those persons not in the Church whom it perceives as enemies.
The organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder LRH. The evidence portrays a man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history,
2. (Exhibit 500-HHHHH)
LRH’s wife, Mary Sue Hubbard is also plaintiff herein. On the one hand she certainly appeared to be a pathetic individual. She was forced from her post as Controller, convicted and imprisoned as a felon, and deserted by her husband. On the other hand her credibility leaves much to be desired. She struck the familiar pose of not seeing, hearing,
3. See exhibit K: Flag Order 3729 - 15 September 1978 “Commodore’s Messengers.”
4. Exhibit AAA
5. “No, I think my emotional distress and upset is the fact that someone took papers and materials without my authorization and then gave them to your Mr. Flynn.” Reporter’s Transcript, p. 1006.
Insofar as the return of documents is concerned, matters which are still under seal may have evidentiary value in the trial of the cross complaint or in other third party litigation. By the time that proceedings on the cross complaint are concluded, the court’s present feeling is that those document or objects not used by that time should be returned to the plaintiff. However the court will reserve jurisdiction to reconsider that should circumstances warrant.Dated: June 20, 1984
[Signed] Paul G. Breckenridge, Jr.
PAUL G. BRECKENRIDGE, JR.
Judge of the Superior Court
Defendant Armstrong was involved with Scientology from 1969 through 1981, a period spanning 12 years. During that time he was a dedicated and devoted member who revered the founder, L. Ron Hubbard. There was little that Defendant Armstrong would not do for Hubbard or the Organization. He gave up formal education, one-third of his life, money and anything he could give in order to further the goals of Scientology, goals he believed were based upon the truth, honesty, integrity of Hubbard and the Organization.
From 1971 through 1981, Defendant Armstrong was a member of the Sea Organization, a group of highly trained Scientologists who were considered the upper echelon of the Scientology organization. During those years he was placed in various locations, but it was never made clear to him exactly which Scientology corporation he was working for. Defendant Armstrong understood that, ultimately, he was working for L. Ron Hubbard, who controlled all Scientology finances, personnel, and operations while Defendant was in the Sea Organization.
Beginning in 1979 Defendant Armstrong resided at Gilman Hot Springs, California, in Hubbard’s “Household Unit.” The Household Unit took care of the personal wishes and needs of Hubbard at many levels. Defendant Armstrong acted as the L. Ron Hubbard Renovations In-Charge and was responsible for renovations, decoration, and maintenance of Hubbard’s home and office at Gilman Hot Springs.
In January of 1980 there was an announcement of a possible raid to be made by the FBI or other law enforcement agencies of the property. Everyone on the property was required by Hubbard’s representatives, the Commodore’s Messengers, to go through all documents located on the property and “vet” or destroy anything which showed that Hubbard controlled Scientology organizations, retained financial control, or was issuing orders to people at Gilman Hot Springs.
A commercial paper shredder was rented and operated day and night for two weeks to destroy hundreds of thousands of pages of documents.
During the period of shredding, Brenda Black, the individual responsible for storage of Hubbard’s personal belongings at Gilman Hot Sprints, came to Defendant Armstrong with a box of documents and asked whether they were to be shredded. Defendant Armstrong reviewed the documents and found that they consisted of a wide variety of documents including Hubbard’s personal papers, diaries, and other writings from a time before he started Dianetics in 1950, together with documents belonging to third persons which had apparently been stolen by Hubbard or his agents. Defendant Armstrong took the documents from Ms. Black and placed them in a safe location on the property. He then searched for and located another twenty or more boxes containing similar materials, which were poorly maintained.
On January 8, 1980, Defendant Armstrong wrote a petition to Hubbard requesting his permission to perform the research for a biography to be done about his life. The petition states
Hubbard approved the petition, and Defendant Armstrong became the L. Ron Hubbard Personal Relations Officer Researcher (PPRO Res). Defendant claims that this petition and its approval forms the basis for a contract between Defendant and Hubbard. Defendant Armstrong’s supervisor was then Laurel Sullivan, L. Ron Hubbard’s Personal Public Relations Officer.
During the first part of 1980, Defendant Armstrong moved all of the L. Ron Hubbard Archives materials he had located at Gilman Hot Springs to an office in the Church of Scientology Cedars Complex in Los Angeles. These materials comprised approximately six file cabinets. Defendant Armstrong had located himself in the Cedars Complex, because he was also involved in “Mission Corporate Category Sort-Out,” a mission to work out legal strategy. Defendant Armstrong was involved with this mission until June of 1980.
It was also during this early part of 1980 that Hubbard left the location in Gilman Hot Springs, California, and went into hiding. Although Defendant Armstrong was advised by Laurel Sullivan that no one could communicate with Hubbard, Defendant Armstrong knew that the ability for communication existed, because he had forwarded materials to Hubbard at his request in mid-1980.
Because of this purported inability to communicate with Hubbard, Defendant Armstrong’s request to purchase biographical materials of Hubbard from people who offered them for sale went
In June of 1980 Defendant Armstrong became involved in the selection of a writer for the Hubbard biography. Defendant Armstrong learned that Hubbard had approved of a biography proposal prepared by Omar Garrison, a writer who was not a member of Scientology. Defendant Armstrong had meetings with Mr. Garrison regarding the writing of the biography and what documentation and assistance would be made available to him. As understood by Mr. Garrison, Defendant Armstrong represented Hubbard in these discussions.
Mr. Garrison was advised that the research material he would have at his disposal were Hubbard’s personal archives. Mr. Garrison would only undertake a writing of the biography if the materials provided to him were from Hubbard’s personal archives, and only if his manuscript was subject to the approval of Hubbard himself.
In October of 1980 Mr. Garrison came to Los Angeles and was toured through the Hubbard archives materials that Defendant Armstrong had assembled up to that time. This was an Important “selling point” in obtaining Mr. Garrison’s agreement to write the biography. On October 30, 1980, an agreement was entered into between Ralston-Pilot, ncv. F/S/O Omar V. Garrison, and AOSH DK Publications of Copenhagen, Denmark, for the writing of a biography of Hubbard.
Paragraph 10B of the agreement states that:
” Publisher shall use its best efforts to provide Author with an office, an officer assistant and/or
research assistant, office supplies and any needed archival and interview materials in connection with the writing of the Work.”
The “research assistant” provided to Mr. Garrison was Defendant Armstrong.
During 1980 Defendant Armstrong exchanged correspondence with Intervenor regarding the biography project. Following his approval by Hubbard as biography researcher, Defendant Armstrong wrote to Intervenor on February 5, 1980, advising her of the scope of the project. In the letter Defendant stated that he had found documents which included Hubbard’s diary from his Orient trip, poems, essays from his youth, and several personal letters, as well as other things.
By letter of February 11, 1980, Intervenor responded to Defendant, acknowledging that he would be carrying out the Duties of Biography Researcher.
On October 14, 1980, Defendant Armstrong again wrote to Intervenor, updating her on “Archives materials” and proposing certain guidelines for the handling of those materials.
It was Intervenor who, in early 1981, ordered certain biographical materials from “Controller Archives” to be delivered to Defendant Armstrong. These materials consisted of several letters written by Hubbard in the 1920’s and 1930’s, Hubbard’s Boy Scout books and materials, several old Hubbard family photographs, a diary kept by Hubbard in his youth, and several other items.
Defendant Armstrong received these materials upon the Order of Intervenor, following his letter of October 15, 1980,
After these materials were delivered to Defendant Armstrong, Intervenor was removed from her Scientology position of Controller in 1981, presumably because of her conviction for the felony of obstruction of justice in connection with the theft of Scientology documents form various governments offices and agencies in Washington, D.C.
During the time Defendant Armstrong worked on the biography project and acted as Hubbard Archivist, there was never any mention that he was not to be dealing with Hubbard’s personal documents or that the delivery of those document to Mr. Garrison was not authorized.
For the first year or more of the Hubbard biography and archive project, funding came from Hubbard’s personal staff unit at Gilman Hot Springs, California. In early 1981, however, Defendant Armstrong’s supervisor, Laurel Sullivan, ordered him to request that funding come from what was known as SEA Org Reserves. Approval for this change in funding came from the SEA Org Reserves Chief and Watch Dog Committee, the top Commodores Messenger Organization unit, who were Hubbard’s personal representatives.
From November of 1980 through 1981, Defendant Armstrong worked closely with Mr. Garrison, assembling Hubbard’s archives into logical categories, copying them and arranging the copies of the Archives materials into bound volumes. Defendant Armstrong made two copies of almost all documents copied for
It was not until late 1981 that Plaintiff was to provide a person to assist on the biography project by providing Mr. Garrison with “Guardian Office” materials, otherwise described as technical materials relating to the operation of Scientology. The individual appointed for this task was Vaughn Young. Controller Archives and Guardian Office Archives had no connection to the Hubbard Archives, which Defendant Armstrong created and maintained as Hubbard’s personal materials.
In addition to the assemblage of Hubbard’s Archives, Defendant Armstrong worked continually on researching and assembling materials concerning Hubbard by interviewing dozens of individuals, including Hubbard’s living aunt, uncle, and four cousins. Defendant Armstrong did a genealogy study of Hubbard’s family and collected, assembled, and read hundreds of Thousands of pages of documentation in Hubbard’s Archives.
During 1980 Defendant Armstrong remained convinced of Hubbard’s honesty and integrity and believed that the representation he had made about himself in various publications were truthful. Defendant Armstrong was devoted to
Slowly, however, throughout 1981, Defendant Armstrong began to see that Hubbard and the Organization had continuously Lied about Hubbard’s past, his credentials, and his accomplishments. Defendant Armstrong believed, in good faith, that the only means by which Scientology could succeed in what Defendant Armstrong believed was its goal of creating an ethical environment on earth, and the only way Hubbard could be free of his critics, would be for Hubbard and the Organization to discontinue the lies about Hubbard’s past, his credentials, and accomplishments. Defendant Armstrong resisted any public
relations piece or announcement about Hubbard which the L. Ron Hubbard Public Relations Bureau proposed for publication which was not factual. Defendant Armstrong attempted to change and make accurate the various “about the author” sections in Scientology books, and further, Defendant rewrote or critiqued several of these and other publications for the L. Ron Hubbard Public Relations Bureau and various Scientology Organizations. Defendant Armstrong believed and desired that the Scientology Organization and its leader discontinue the perpetration of the
Because of Defendant Armstrong’s actions, in late November of 1981, Defendant was requested to come to Gilman Hot Springs by Commodore Messenger Organization Executive, Cirrus Slevin. Defendant Armstrong was ordered to undergo a “security check,” which involved Defendant Armstrong’s interrogation while connected to a crude Scientology lie detector machine called an E-meter.
The Organization wished to determine what materials Defendant Armstrong had provided to Omar Garrison. Defendant Armstrong was struck by the realization that the Organization would not work with him to correct the numerous fraudulent representations made to followers of Scientology and the public about L. Ron Hubbard and the Organization itself. Defendant Armstrong, who, for twelve years of his life, had placed his complete and full trust in Mr. and Mrs. Hubbard and the Scientology Organization, saw that his trust had no meaning and that the massive frauds perpetrated about Hubbard’s past, credentials, and accomplishments would continue to be spread.
Less than three weeks before Defendant Armstrong left Scientology, he wrote a letter to Cirrus Slevin on November 25, 1981, in which it is clear that his intentions in airing the inaccuracies, falsehoods, and frauds regarding Hubbard were done in good faith. In his letter he stated as follows:
” If we present inaccuracies, hyperbole or downright lies as fact or truth, it doesn’t matter what slant we give them, if
disproved the man will look, to outsiders at least, like a charlatan. This is what I’m trying to prevent and what I’ve been working on the past year and a half.
. . .
“and that is why I said to Norman that it is up to us to insure that everything which goes out about LRH is one hundred percent accurate. That is not to say that opinions can’t be voiced, they can. And they can contain all the hype you want. But they should not be construed as facts. And anything stated as a fact should be documentable.
“we are in a period when ‘investigative reporting’ is popular, and when there is relatively easy access to documentation on a person. We can’t delude ourselves I believe, if we want to gain public acceptance and cause some betterment in society, that we can get away with statements, the validity of which we don’t know.
“The real disservice to LRH, and the ultimate make-wrong is to go on assuming that everything he’s ever written or said is one hundred percent accurate and publish it as such without verifying it. I’m
talking here about biographical or non-technical writings. This only leads, should any of his statements turn out to be inaccurate, to a make-wrong of him, and consequently his technology.
“That’s what I’m trying to remedy and prevent. . . .
“To say that LRH is not capable of hype, errors or lies is certanly [sic] not granting him much of a beingness. To continue on with the line that he has never erred nor lied is counterproductive. It is an unreal attitude and too far removed from both the reality and people in general that it would widen public unacceptance. . . .
“. . . That is why I feel the falsities must be corrected, and why we must verify our facts and present them in a favorable light.”
The remainder of the letter contains examples of facts about Hubbard which Defendant Armstrong found to be wholly untrue or inaccurate and which were represented as true by the Hubbards and the Scientology Organization.
In December of 1981 Defendant Armstrong made the decision to leave the Church of Scientology. In order to continue in
Thereafter, Defendant Armstrong maintained friendly relations with Hubbard’s representatives by returning to the Archives offices and discussing the various categories of materials. In fact on February 24, 1982, Defendant Armstrong wrote to Vaughn Young, regarding certain materials Mr. Young was unable to locate for Omar Garrison.
After this letter was written, Defendant Armstrong went to the Archives office and located certain materials Mr. Garrison had wanted which Hubbard representatives claimed they could not locate. At the time Defendant Armstrong left the SEA Organization, he was disappointed with Scientology and Hubbard, and also felt deceived by them. However, Defendant Armstrong felt he had no enemies and felt no ill will toward anyone in the Organization or Hubbard, but still believed that a truthful biography should be written.
After leaving the SEA Organization, Defendant Armstrong continued to assist Mr. Garrison with the Hubbard biography project. In the spring of 1982, Defendant Armstrong at Mr. Garrison’s request, transcribed some of his interview tapes, copied some of the documentation he had, and assembled several more binders of copied materials. Defendant Armstrong also set
On February 18, 1982, the Church of Scientology International issued a “Suppressive Person Declare Gerry Armstrong,” which is an official Scientology document issued against individuals who are considered as enemies of the Organization. Said Suppressive Person Declare charged that Defendant Armstrong had taken an unauthorized leave and that he was spreading destructive rumors about Senior Scientologists.
Defendant Armstrong was unaware of said Suppressive Person Declare until April of 1982. At that time a revised Declare Was issued on April 22, 1982. Said Declare charged Defendant Armstrong with 18 different “Crimes and High Crimes and Suppressive Acts Against the Church.” The charges included theft, juggling accounts, obtaining loans on money under false pretenses, promulgating false information about the Church, its founder, and members, and other untruthful allegations designed to make Defendant Armstrong an appropriate subject of the Scientology “Fair Game Doctrine.” Said Doctrine allows any suppressive person to be “tricked, cheated, lied to, sued, or destroyed.”
The second declare was issued shortly after Defendant Armstrong attempted to sell photographs of his wedding on board Hubbard’s ship (in which Hubbard appears), and photographs belonging to some of his friends, which also included photos of L.R. Hubbard while in seclusion. Although Defendant Armstrong
delivered the photographs to a Virgil Wilhite for sale, he
From his extensive knowledge of the covert and intelligence operations carried out by the Church of Scientology of California against its enemies (suppressive persons), Defendant Armstrong became terrified and feared that his life and the life of his wife were in danger, and he also feared he would be the target of costly and harassing lawsuits.
In addition, Mr. Garrison became afraid for the security of the documents and believed that the intelligence network of the Church of Scientology would break and enter his home to retrieve them. Thus, Defendant Armstrong made copies of certain documents for Mr. Garrison and maintained them in a separate location.
It was thereafter, in the summer of 1982, that Defendant Armstrong asked Mr. Garrison for copies of documents to use in his defense and sent the documents to his attorneys, Michael Flynn and Contos & Bunch.
After the within suit was filed on August 2, 1982, Defendant Armstrong was the subject of harassment, including being followed and surveilled by individuals who admitted employment by Plaintiff; being assaulted by one of these individuals; being struck bodily by a car driven by one of these individuals; having two attempts made by said individuals apparently to involve Defendant Armstrong in a freeway