Scientology leader David Miscavige is evading service, says the Valeska Paris team
Once again a lawsuit has been filed against the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, and somehow Miscavige has managed to keep himself out of court by simply evading service of the case.
We’ve seen it again and again, and this time the Australian former Sea Org workers who filed a major new labor trafficking case in April have reached their limit.
This week attorney Neil Glazer, who represents the plaintiffs — Valeska Paris, and Gawain and Laura Baxter — asked the court for more time to serve Miscavige since it hasn’t been accomplished, and even though they’ve tried very hard.
Glazer included a description of what they’ve been going through to try and find Miscavige, and we thought we’d just quote it at length. We figured you’d find it fascinating.
Plaintiffs’ diligent efforts to serve Miscavige have been ongoing and persistent since the issuance of the Summons until the filing of this motion. Plaintiffs’ efforts include hiring three process servers across two states. Plaintiffs first personal service attempt was on May 31, just days after the Summons was issued. As of July 28, 2022, the process servers have made thirteen separate personal service attempts at multiple locations in Florida and California from May through July.
Scientology security guards, however, prevented the process servers from entering any of the Florida addresses during every attempt at personal service. The guards refused to answer questions, provide information around Miscavige’s whereabouts, confirm whether he has an office or resides at the locations, or even whether a Corporate Defendant has offices at such locations. For example, Plaintiffs’ process server attempted to effect personal service at 118 N. Ft. Harrison Avenue, Clearwater, Florida, on July 26. RTC’s website lists the address as a “Religious Technology Center Flag Ship Service Organization Office.” Miscavige is RTC’s Chairman of the Board and Defendant FSO owns and/or manages the building. When Plaintiffs’ process server approached the location, a security guard immediately stopped him outside of the main entrance. The process server asked about the whereabouts of David Miscavige. The guard stated he did not know where Miscavige is currently living or where he works and refused to provide any information. The guard would not even confirm whether RTC was located in the “Religious Technology Center Flag Ship Service Organization Office” and just repeatedly kept stating, “I don’t know.”
Plaintiffs’ diligent efforts to serve Miscavige also include working with a private investigation company. Plaintiffs’ counsel began looking for an investigator in May and spoke with multiple investigators. Plaintiffs have employed the current investigators since June 26, 2022 and continue to employ them. The investigators have conducted comprehensive proprietary database and open-source intelligence research. The investigators also surveilled multiple locations and observed Plaintiffs’ process server attempt personal service at different locations, including at the “Flag Building” located at 215 S. Ft. Harrison Avenue, Clearwater, Florida where Plaintiffs’ investigation suggests Miscavige’s primary office is located, atop one of the building’s turrets, and 551 N. Saturn Ave, Clearwater, Florida, a guarded, gated compound which Plaintiffs’ investigation suggests is Miscavige’s current residence.
In addition to the thirteen personal service attempts and use of a private investigation company, Plaintiffs conducted public records database searches on Westlaw and Lexis that included details on residence, assets, driver’s license and voter registration records, and lawsuits regarding David Miscavige. Plaintiffs also investigated addresses and details mentioned in other litigation involving Miscavige, searched media and public sources to discern details on Miscavige’s location, searched social media platforms, called multiple phone numbers listed in public record databases as numbers likely associated with Miscavige, and reviewed RTC, CSI, IASA, FSO and FSSO corporate documents accessible through the California, Florida and Delaware Secretary of State’s business search functions. Plaintiffs also sent a total of four requests to waive service, each containing a complete set of the documents required in Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d), via Federal Express and U.S. Postal Service Priority mail, to David Miscavige c/o Religious Technology Ctr., Inc. 1710 Ivar Avenue, Suite 1100, Los Angeles, California (which is Defendant RTC’s headquarters and is listed in public records databases as one of Miscavige’s residential addresses) and c/o Church of Scientology, 215 S. Ft. Harrison Avenue, Clearwater, Florida, which Scientology boasts is its spiritual headquarters, is listed on Defendant RTC’s website as one of its Clearwater office locations, and according to several knowledgeable sources in Plaintiffs’ investigation is where Miscavige’s primary office is located. All attempts to deliver were refused.
Plaintiffs’ efforts also include asking defense counsel for information regarding Miscavige’s whereabouts. But defense counsel, like the Scientology security guards, refuse to provide any information on Miscavige’s whereabouts or contact details. On May 17, 2022, Plaintiffs requested from RTC Counsel Christopher Oprison an address to serve a summons or deliver a waiver package to Miscavige, who is RTC’s Chairman of the Board. Mr. Oprison replied that his “firm represents RTC only, not Mr. Miscavige in his individual capacity. RTC would not be authorized to provide this information in any event. . . . I do not speak for Mr. Miscavige personally, only RTC, but submit that Plaintiffs should dismiss him from this lawsuit forthwith.” During a June 30, 2022, meet and confer, Plaintiffs’ counsel asked counsel representing the Corporate Defendants for an address for Miscavige, or for a business address, or a mailing address. Defense Counsel stated they do not have any of that information and that their clients would not be authorized to provide it.
In sum, Miscavige has, so far, frustrated Plaintiffs’ good faith and diligent efforts. However, Plaintiffs are not giving up and, as set forth below, respectfully submit that good cause exists to warrant extending their time to locate and serve Miscavige.
It sure seems like they’re looking in the right place, as far as we know. In a recent podcast with Marc Headley, we said that Dave is either living in Clearwater at his corner suite at the Flag Building (215 S. Ft. Harrison Avenue) or in an apartment complex known as “Hacienda Gardens” (551 N. Saturn Ave), where years ago a couple of the modest apartments had walls taken out to make a super big place for Dave.
Mike Rinder had told us he didn’t think Dave still lived at the Hacienda, but it seems to make sense for process servers to keep it in mind.
Plaintiffs are asking for an extension from July 28 to October 26, 2022 in order to find and serve Miscavige.
Got any suggestions for what might do the trick?
Case against Paul Haggis falls apart in Italy
You probably saw the news yesterday that a judge in Italy has refused a prosecutor’s request to put former Scientologist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis back in custody as the case against him for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman there has fallen apart.
“After viewing the evidence and hearing arguments from both sides, the District Court of Lecce, an appellate court with three judges, unanimously rejected a prosecutor’s appeal to have Haggis’ house arrest reinstated,” his defense attorney Michele Laforgia said in a statement. “Two weeks ago, Judge Vilma Gilli of the Court of Brindisi questioned the alleged victim and then immediately overturned Haggis’ house arrest.”
But was this a fumbled Scientology operation intended to pile on Haggis’s troubles? We have to wonder if any evidence of that will ever emerge, one way or the other.
One surprising result of the adventure in Italy, however, is that for some reason the judge in Haggis’s civil lawsuit here in New York, Judge Sabrina Kraus, suddenly changed her mind about moving the trial up in her queue. She had been refusing to schedule a trial in the case, filed in 2017 by publicist Haleigh Breest, who says that Haggis raped her after a 2013 movie premiere. Thanks to the pandemic and a crushing overload of cases, trial had been put off, and Haggis complained that it was ruining his ability to make a living until he can clear his name.
Then, with his arrest in Italy, suddenly and for no visible reason Judge Kraus changed her mind and scheduled trial for October 11.
Breest has filed a request, with Haggis’s consent, to move the trial up to October 3 so an expert can testify on her behalf, but there’s still no indication that the judge has agreed to it. We’ll keep an eye on it.
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