Lawyer Fails to Prevent Secret Scientology Court Hearing

Federal judge unswayed by claims Scientologists spent $30 million to cover up death of Lisa McPherson

  • U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez on Monday heard claims that the Church of Scientology spent $30 million trying to cover up the 1995 death of church member Lisa McPherson — who died while in the ‘care’ of Scientologists. (When you know about the medical claims within Scientology’s secret teachings, you know why in our opinion the Church of Scientology engages in quackery.)
  • Those claims were part of an emergency injunction request by McPherson family lawyer Kennan Dandar in his efforts to stop an upcoming Nov. 26 state court hearing — closed to the public and the press — at which he expects to get slapped with $1 million in sanctions.
  • The cult claims it has a legal agreement with Dandar that says he would never again be involved in legal action against the Church of Scientology. It believes that Dandar violated that agreement with his involvement in another wrongful death case related to the suicide of Kyle Brennan — a church member’s son in 2007.
  • On October 31, Dandar filed a Federal lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and two of its attorneys, alleging that his civil rights were being trampled by Scientology through its manipulation of the state of Florida’s court system.
  • To understand the background of this case it is helpful to read this information about what happened to Lisa McPherson. See also the Wikipedia article on Lisa McPherson. (While reading that, keep in mind that the Scientology cult hates psychiatry and psychiatrist so much that it operates a dedicated anti-psychiatry hate group — the ironically named Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR).)
  • In addition, see these blog posts by Tony Ortega: Ken Dandar Files Federal Lawsuit, Says Scientology Using State Courts to Cause Him “Utter Financial Ruin” and Scientology Accused of Spending Millions to Influence Florida Judges
  • The claim about Scientology’s cover-up efforts was made by Marty RathbunScientology’s former number two executive, who left the Church in 2004. He is now an independent Scientologist — one of many who criticize the Church of Scientology for anything from misusing L. Ron Hubbard‘s ideas to abuse of church members.
  • The New York Daily News writes that

    Rathbun said he responded to a subpoena from Dandar but willingly helped the lawyer because he now feels the Church was responsible for McPherson’s death.

    Lisa McPherson, 36, had a severe mental breakdown and died from a pulmonary embolism after church officials reportedly delayed taking her to a hospital because they feared doctors would put her in a psychiatric ward.

    “The Church was absolutely responsible for her death,” Rathbun told The News Monday. “It was integral for the future of Scientology for that case to be won decisively.”

  • Tony Ortega reports that Ken Dandar Failed in Bid to Prevent Secret Scientology Court Hearing:

    Next Monday, November 26, in a hearing that will be closed to the public or press, retired state Judge Crockett Farnell will decide what to award Scientology, and Dandar has said he expects that amount to be more than a million dollars.

    Dandar had hoped to convince the federal court that his civil rights had been violated by what he characterized as Scientology’s manipulation of the state courts. (The dispute arose because he continued to represent clients against Scientology after signing a 2004 settlement in which, the church claims, he promised never to sue Scientology again. Dandar denies that he signed away his rights to sue the church.)

    Dandar told us that although he was unable to prevent the November 26 state hearing from happening, he is going to file an amended complaint in his lawsuit, hoping to convince Judge Hernandez Covington that her ruling was incorrect.

  • None of this comes as a surprise to long-time Scientology observers. The destructive cult is known for its abuse of the legal system. Though Scientologists claim to be the most ethical people on earth, Scientology’s lengthy record of unethical behavior is informed by its founder’s unethical policies, such as “dead agenting” and “Fair Game.”
  • Moreover, L. Ron Hubbard specifically promoted abuse of the legal system to combat his cult’s perceived enemies:

    The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.
    - L. Ron Hubbard, A Manual on the Dissemination of Material, 1955 (See: The Purpose of a Lawsuit is to Harass)

Read Kennan Dandar’s lawsuit
Read Marty Rathbun deposition PDF file
Ken Dandar: one of the Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
Why are they dead, Scientology?


Note: the publishers of Religion News Blog support freedom of religion. However, we consider the Church of Scientology to be a commercial enterprise that masquerades as a religion.

We consider the Church of Scientology to be a destructive cult — both because it destroys relationships and, in our opinion, is involved in quackery.

We believe Lisa McPherson would have been alive today if she had received proper medical and psychiatric attention.

Here’s how Janet Reitman, author of “Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion” [Kindle edition], explains Lisa McPherson’s death:

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