Marc Headley vs CSI: CSI’s motion to strike denied

Posted August 15th, 2009

The busy /b/ees over at the WhyWeProtest forums have made available and analyzed the proceedings in Marc Headley v. Church of Scientology International, et al.

Motion to Dismiss

NB. The court will dismiss a claim if it cannot be successful, even if all the facts pleaded were proven at trial.

1. Illegal and Unfair Business Practices

Claims for all but the last month of Marc’s 15 years in the Sea Org are barred by the statute of limitations. However, Marc’s complaint pleads facts about Scientology’s own behaviour which may justify a finding by the court that Scientology are estopped from pleading the statute of limitations (ie. equitable estoppel). Marc’s claim not dismissed.

2. Minimum Wage and Overtime Claims

These claims are all time barred, as the limitation period is three years and expired early January 2008. However, the equitable estoppel claim might be successful. Marc’s claim not dismissed.

Even though it seems Headley’s California Labor Code claims are time-barred, given the factual allegations, the Court cannot conclude that Headley’s equitable estoppel claim must fail.

3. Forced Labor - California Civil Code The California statute came into operation on 1 January 2006 and so does not apply to the period Marc worked for the Sea Org. Marc’s claim dismissed.

4. Forced Labor - California Common Law California law has recognised no common law tort in relation to forced labour. Marc’s claim dismissed.

5. Forced Labor - California Constitution The California Constitution prohibits involuntary servitude. The statutory limitation period is one or three years and has expired. However, the motion to dismiss is denied on the same basis as those above - equitable estoppel. Marc’s claim not dismissed.

6. The Federal Trafficking and Violence Protection Act Between 28 October 2000 and 23 December 2008, the TVPA had a limitation period of four years. Since, 23 December 2008, the limitation period is ten years. That means that claims that accrued from 23 December 2004 had their limitation period extended to ten years.

The time limit on those of Marc’s claims between 23 December 2004 and January 2005 is extended to ten years.

Marc’s claims concern events between 1996 and January 2005. What about the actions of the CoS before 23 December 2004? The court found that the allegations were analogous to a “hostile work environment” claim, meaning that they are part of a single continuing violation and the ten year limitation period applies to the entire claim.

Marc’s claim not dismissed.

This judgment did NOT address Marc’s claim for summary judgment.

You may download the entire judgement here (PDF)

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