Defendant's Opposition To Motion In Limine

CSI v. Gerald Armstrong, Robert Minton, Lisa McPherson Trust

Ford Greene, CSB 107601
7-11 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard
San Anselmo, California 94960
Telephone: 415-258-0360
Facsimile: 415-456-5318

Attorney for Defendant

APR - 8 2004
Court Executive Officer










CASE NO.: CV 021632


Date: April 9, 2004
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Dept: L


CSI presents its instant in limine motion in search of an order which would prevent Gerald Armstrong from defending against its $6.55 million claim for 131 internet postings, in effect asking for little more than a judicial rubber stamp so as to obtain such an outrageous result.

Based on res judicata principles CSI asserts that Armstrong is collaterally estopped from asserting any defense and therefore the Court must exclude any evidence with respect to any of Armstrong’s defenses


Armstrong’s position is that the Court’s discretion is not as limited as Scientology contends. Mr. Armstrong opposes CSI’s motion in limine on the primary ground of public policy and injustice.


"Under traditional rules of res judicata, a party may be barred ('collaterally estopped') from relitigating issues that were previously adjudicated in an earlier proceeding." (Wittman v. Chrysler Corp. (1988) 199 Cal.App.3d 586, 591, 245 Cal.Rptr. 20.) The rule of res judicata “‘is to prevent vexatious litigation and to require the parties to rest upon one decision in their controversy.' (Miller & Lux Inc. v. James, 180 Cal. 38, 44[, 179 P. 174].) '[A] final judgment on the merits in a prior action is conclusive between the same parties in a subsequent action involving the same subject matter.' (Hamilton v. Carpenter, 15 Cal.2d 130, 133[, 98 P.2d 1027].)" (Boucher v. Kriehn (1947) 80 Cal.App.2d 437, 441, 182 P.2d 218.) Res judicata bars "not only the reopening of the original controversy, but also subsequent litigation of all issues which were or could have been raised in the original suit. [Citations.]" (Gates v. Superior Court, supra,
178 Cal.App.3d at p. 311, 223 Cal.Rptr. 678.)”

(Torrey Pines Bank v. Superior Court (1989) 216 Cal.App.3d 813, 821)

There are, however, a public interest and unfairness exceptions to the rule of res judicata. (Greenfield v. Mather (1948) 32 Cal.2d 23, 35) When the issue in a question of law rather than of fact, the prior determination is conclusive either if injustice would result or if the public interest requires that re-litigation not be foreclosed. (City of Sacramento v. State of California (1990) 50 Cal.3d 51, 64) The public interest exception to res judicata is not confined to cases concerning public agencies, nor does it require that the initial determination of an issue be “erroneous.” (Kopp v. Fair Political Practices Com’n (1995) 11 Cal.4th 607, 622, fn. 16)

This case presents weighty public policy issues regarding the free exercise of religion, the prohibition against establishing a religion and free speech. Therefore, a full airing of the issues and evidence is appropriate.

Here we have a powerful, grandiose and paranoid religion whose “fair game” policy shares “some parallels in purpose and effect” with the practice of the inquisition of the Middle


Ages which “targeted ‘heretics’ who threatened the dogma and institutional integrity of the mother church.” (Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology (1989) 212 Cal.App.3d 872, 888) For over 20 years Scientology has deemed Armstrong to be “fair game” and sought to neutralize him. The instant lawsuit is a judicial application of that policy.

“Commencing in February 1982, the international Church of Scientology issued a series of "suppressive person declares" in effect labeling Armstrong an enemy of the Church and charging that he had taken an unauthorized leave, was spreading destructive rumors about senior Church officials, and secretly planned to leave the Church. These "declares" subjected Armstrong to the "Fair Game Doctrine" of the Church, which permits a suppressive person to be "tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed ... [or] deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist...."” (Church of Scientology v. Armstrong (1991) 232 Cal.App.3d 1060, 1067)

CSI’s contract claim masks its genuine agenda, the judicial enforcement of its religious doctrine of retribution designed to neutralize one particularly unrepentant heretic.

If Armstrong was a Catholic in the Middle Age, would it be appropriate for a Court to execute a $50,000 consequence each time Armstrong were to publicly object to, expose and discuss Scientology’s “neutralization” of heretics by “incarceration, torture and death”? (Wollersheim, supra, 212 Cal.App.3d at 888)

As the judicial enforcement of religious dogma offends the anti-establishment clause of the First Amendment, Armstrong submits there is a strong public policy interest in such enforcement, if it is to occur at all, not taking place automatically because we long have held the "awareness of the historical fact that governmental established religions and religious persecution go hand in hand." (Engle v. Vitale 370 U.S. 421, 432)

In addition to the question of the constitutional impropriety of allowing a demonstrably vindictive religion to use the courts to implement its policy of punishment, public interest values are further impacted. Perhaps more than any other topic due to religion’s propensity to disseminate noxious doctrine, religious matters merit protection of


speech in public. 1

It cannot be seriously argued that the imposition of liquidated damages of $50,000 per internet posting does not function as a publicly punitive measure intended to deter speech about Scientology. 131 postings will bring the total to $6.55 million. This result is so monstrously intimidating that it cannot help but suppress public discussion regarding Scientology’s nature, morality, practices and position in the delicate balance of our constitutional democracy.

In Church of Scientology v. Wollersheim (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 628 Scientology was found to use the litigation system as a tool to destroy its enemies.

Declarations of former members and officials of the Church, Gerald Armstrong and Vicki Aznaran, revealed the practices and policies of the Church, including its “fair game” doctrine and employment of litigation practices designed “to bludgeon the

1 Probably the best articulation of the public interest function of free speech was by Justice Brandeis in Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 375 where he wrote:

Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the state was to make men free to develop their faculties, and that in its government the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. They recognized the risks to which all human institutions are subject. But they knew that order cannot be secured merely through fear of punishment for its infraction; that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones. Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by law-the argument of force in its worst form. Recognizing the occasional tyrannies of governing majorities, they amended the Constitution so that free speech and assembly should be guaranteed.


opposition into submission,” as well as attacks against judges who rule against it. The declaration of an attorney who had represented the Church (Joseph A. Yanny), submitted in an action brought by the Church against him and others, related aspects of the Church's “fair game” doctrine, including copies of exhibits to demonstrate "the Cult, according to written policy, will use any means legal or illegal to subvert and frustrate judicial process against them, and will willingly and knowingly abuse judicial process in order to attack perceived ‘enemies.’“

(Id., at 641-642) It was therefore an appropriate subject for dismissal pursuant to the anti-SLAPP statute.

Given some of Scientology’s litigation history, its desire to intimidate and censor is apparent. Scientology has a clearly manifest policy of suppressing speech about it. Indeed, the policy would seem to be the more accurate the speech, the greater its compulsion to censor and suppress it, eliminating it from the marketplace of ideas.

In Church of Scientology v. Siegelman (1979) 475 F.Supp. 950 Scientology sued the author of a book entitled Snapping: America’s Epidemic Of Sudden Personality Change for defamation in connection with comments he made on a television interview show. The statements dealt with the “alleged debilitating physical and psychological effect certain actions by the Church of Scientology have on its members.” (Id., at 953) The case was dismissed.

In United States v. Heldt (1981) 668 F2d 1238 the court reviewed indictments and guilty pleas of high ranking Scientologists who were convicted by means of a Stipulation of Evidence which detailed their substantive offenses. The indictments were “for completed conspiracies and substantive offenses involving their plan to identify, locate and obtain by various illegal means certain documents in the possession of the United States which were related to Scientology, and their efforts thereafter to obstruct justice by thwarting the government’s investigation of such criminal activities, by harboring and concealing a fugitive from arrest, and by causing the making of false declarations under oath before a grand jury.”(Id., at 1241) The court noted that “those who formulate conspiracies to obstruct justice, steal


government property, burglarize, bug, harbor fugitives from justice, and commit and suborn perjury before the grand jury have no constitutional right under the first amendment to conceal documentary evidence thereof.” The court asserted “freedom of religion is not endangered but encouraged when criminal conspiracies are suppressed that attempt to hide behind religion.” (Id., at 1258)

In Church of Scientology v. Cazares (1981) 638 F.2d 1272, Scientology sued the former mayor of Clearwater for defamation in connection with comments by the mayor regarding Charles Manson’s alleged history in Scientology, his opposition to bringing a “helter-skelter world and philosophy” to Clearwater, his dislike for “paramilitary religious organizations” and that Scientology “was not a religious organization as ‘religion’ was understood in the Clearwater area, but a ‘rip-off, money motivated operation.’” Summary judgement dismissal was affirmed. (Id., at 1287-1288)

In Church of Scientology v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (1984) 83 T.C. 381 in an extremely lengthy opinion, the court found “When we consider all the facts spread across the voluminous record in this case, we are left with the inescapable conclusion that one of petitioner's overriding purposes was to make money. We also conclude that criminal manipulation of the IRS to maintain its tax exemption (and the exemption of affiliated churches) was a crucial and purposeful element of petitioner's financial planning. (Id., at 504-505)

In New Era Publications International v. Henry Holt and Co. (1989) 873 F.2d 576 Scientology unsuccessful sought to enjoin the publication of a book entitled Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story Of L. Ron Hubbard.

In United States v. Zolin (1989) 109 S.Ct. 2619, 105 L.Ed.2d 469 the Court addressed whether the attorney-client privilege between Scientology and some of its attorneys should be abrogated on the basis “that the legal service was sought or obtained in order to enable or aid


the client to commit or plan to commit a crime or tort.” (Id. at 2630, 105 L.Ed.2d at 489) The Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit's ruling in United States v. Zolin (9th Cir. 1987) 809 F.2d 1411 that the Government had not made a sufficient showing that there had been “illegal advice ... given by [Scientology] attorneys to [Scientology] officials” to invoke the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege. Upon reversing and remanding, the Supreme Court ordered the Ninth Circuit to review partial transcripts of the tape recording sought by the IRS in a criminal investigation of Scientology to determine whether the crime-fraud exception to the privilege applied. On remand, this the Ninth Circuit held:

The partial transcripts demonstrate that the purpose of the [Mission Corporate Category Sort Out] project was to cover up past criminal wrongdoing. The MCCS project involved the discussion and planning for future frauds against the IRS, in violation of 18 U.S.C. & 371. [citation.] The figures involved in MCCS admit on the tapes that they are attempting to confuse and defraud the U.S. Government. The purpose of the crime-fraud exception is to exclude such transactions from the protection of the attorney-client privilege. (United States v. Zolin (9th Cir. 1990) 905 F.2d 1344, 1345. cert. denied, Church of Scientology v. United States (1991) 111 S.Ct. 1309)

In Hart v. Cult Awareness Network (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 777 the underlying facts pertained to Scientology’s ultimately successful effort to destroy the Cult Awareness Network whose purpose was to “educate the public about the harmful effects of mind control as practiced by destructive cults and about the unethical or illegal practices they employ.” As a harassment measure pursuant TO having been identified by Scientology as a “suppressive group” a CAN representative received almost 500 letters from Scientologists to join CAN. Upon CAN’s refusal, lawsuits followed.

There is a substantial public interest in trying CSI’s claims against Armstrong with the full benefit of his defenses.


Although the rule is based upon the sound public policy of limiting litigation by preventing a party who has had one fair trial on an issue from again drawing it into controversy, the “policy must be considered together with the policy that a party shall not be deprived of a fair adversary proceeding in which fully to present his case.”' (Jorgensen v. Jorgensen, [1948] 32 Cal.2d 13, 18[, 193 P.2d 728].)

For example, the Restatement Second of Judgments, section 27 states:

"When an issue of fact or law is actually litigated and determined by a valid and final judgment, and the determination is essential to the judgment, the determination is conclusive in a subsequent action between the parties, whether on the same or a different claim." (Rest.2d Judgments (1982) § 27.)

The key operative phrase within the Restatement is the term “actually litigated.” When no issues have been “drawn into controversy” by a “full presentation” of the case, the policy favoring one fair trial on the issue is not served. (Teitelbaum Furs, Inc. v. Dominion Ins. Co., Ltd., 58 Cal.2d 601, 606)

Teitelbaum addresses the circumstances of a criminal guilty plea and the plaintiff’s effort to use it in subsequent civil litigation for res judicata purposes. The court said that when a party who had pleaded guilty to a criminal charge seeks to litigate his cause in a civil action, collateral estoppel was inappropriate in light of considerations of fairness to civil litigants and a regard for the expeditious administration of criminal justice.

While losing a summary judgment motion is not the same as pleading guilty to a crime, in the circumstances of this case the values raised are of substantial policy weight and necessary in order to avoid a harsh result.

Armstrong never had a trial. Even though the settlement agreement upon which CSI brought this suit contains language of mutuality, and one of Scientology’s counsel who negotiated said agreement testified in a declaration that the “gag” conditions went both ways, Judge Thomas ruled as a matter of law that there was no issue of fact to be tried. This is a


legal, not a factual determination. Therefore, CSI’s motion in limine must be denied.

DATED: Thursday, April 08, 2004


By: [signed] Ford Greene

Ford Greene, Esq.



I am employed in the County of Marin, State of California. I am over the age of eighteen years and am not a party to the above entitled action. My business address is 711 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo, California. I served the following documents: DEFENDANT’S OPPOSITION TO MOTION IN LIMINE on the following person(s) on the date set forth below, by placing a true copy thereof enclosed in a sealed envelope with postage thereon fully prepaid to be placed in the United States Mail at San Anselmo, California:

Andrew H. Wilson, Esq.
475 Gate Five Road, Suite 212
Sausalito, CA 94965


[X] (By Mail)

I caused such envelope with postage thereon fully prepaid to be
placed in the United States Mail at San Anselmo, California.


[ ] (Federal

I caused such envelope to be overnight by Federal Express
to the address above.


[X] (State)

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of
California that the above is true and correct.


[ ] (Federal)

I declare that I am employed in the office of a member of the bar
of this court at whose direction the service was made.


DATED:Thursday, April 08, 2004 [signed] Ford Greene