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F.A.C.T.Net 3 Set Legal Precedents

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Judge Brinkema's 8/30 Memorandum Opinion

You can read the full text of the opinion online!

Now available, the full transcript of the 8 Sept FACTNet Colorado hearing select part 1 of the hearing then select part 2 of the hearing. (Please note well, there are two files comprising this document, each is 250K in size!) If you've got some serious bandwith at your disposal, you might try the GIF facsimiles of the judgement and avoid scanner mistakes.

(Here's a few selections translated into French.)

On August 30, United States District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema issued her first "Memorandum Opinion" in the Lerma case. And it is devastating to Religious Technologies Center/Scientology's complaint. They were denied the Temporary Restraining Order, Impoundment, and Expedited Discovery they sought against the Washington Post. None of her opinion reflects directly on FACTNet Director Arnaldo Lerma's case -- but Judge Brinkema is clearly giving RTC her views on their action against Lerma:

Having performed the analysis required under Blackwelder, this Court concluded that Plaintiff's motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injuction; for Impoundment of Infringing Articles; and for Expedited Discovery against the Post Defendants must be denied. The balance of harms is heavily tilted towards Defendants, and the Plaintiff's likelihood of success on the merits is insufficient to right the scale. Finally the public interest and constitutional presumption against prior restraint weigh heavily against the Plaintiff. For these reasons, Plaintiff's motion is denied.
Defendants must maintain the status quo as to possession of the AT documents and may make fair use thereof.
It is clear that this ruling sets exciting precedent in the fight for First Amendment freedoms -- Judge Brinkema cited the Pentagon Papers, Atari Games v. Nintendo, Cox Broadcasting v. Cohn, and other landmarks of Free Speech jurisprudence.

This battle victory is only the beginning of the war, however. The case will in all likelihood still go to court. And Judge Brinkema must still consider the motions against Lerma. Meanwhile in Colorado, FACTNet Directors Wollersheim and Penny will not have their first day in court until September 8.

Remember, Scieontology's aim is most likely not to win these court cases, but to harrass anyone who stands up to them. The FACTNet 3 will be buried in legal costs and life-destroying time in court. But with your help, we can win this First Amendment fight for the entire Internet community.

Wollersheim/Penny Defense Motions

Read the full text in GIF format of the opinion select colorado hearing. Warning: This can take a long time to download! (Can a volunteer transcribe and send to full text of the opinion. Commentary and transcription by "Elvis Cole."

In Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology, 212 Cal.App.3d 872, 260 Cal.Rptr. 331 (2d Dist. 1989), the California Court of Appeal considered the appeal by the Church of Scientology from the jury verdict and trial court judgment in favor of Larry Wollersheim and against the Church for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The Court of Appeal opinion details the reprehensible actions the Church of Scientology took against Mr. Wollersheim. As set forth in the Court of Appeal decision quoted below, these actions included, but were not limited to: (a) the disclosure and wrongful use of confidential information Mr. Wollersheim divulged to the Church during confidential "auditing" (similar to confessional) sessions: (b) "fair game"; (c) the imposition of onerous "freeloader debt" on Mr. Wollershem; (d) instructing Scientologists to leave Mr. Wollersheim's employ, not to place any new orders with Mr. Wollersheim, and to renege on bills owed to Mr. Wollersheim for previous purchases (which drove him into bankruptcy); (e) coercing Mr. Wollersheim to "disconnect" from (i.e., no longer have any contact with) his wife, parents and other family members; and even (f) physical restraint to coerce and intimidate Mr. Wollersheim.

The Court of Appeal imposed judgment in favor of Mr. Wollersheim and against the Church of Scientology for $500,000 in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages. The Church has failed to pay the judgment.

The Church of Scientology appealed this decision twice to the United State Supreme Court, and twice to the California Supreme Court. The Church of Scientology lost all of these appeals. The decision is now final. The full citation and subsequent history of the case is: Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology, 212 Cal.App.3d 872, 260 Cal.Rptr. 331 (2d Dist. 1989), review denied, (Cal. Oct. 26, 1989), review denied, mot. granted, 495 U.S. 902, 110 S.Ct. 1920, 109 L.Ed.2d 284 (1990), cert. denied, 495 U.S. 910, 110 S.Ct. 1937, 109 L.Ed.2d 300 (1990), vacated, remanded, 499 U.S. 914, 111 S.Ct. 1298, 113 L.Ed.2d 234 (1991), on remand, 4 Cal.App.4th 1074, 6 Cal.Rptr.2d 532 (2d Dist. 1992), reh'g denied, 6 Cal.Rptr.2d 532 (Cal.App. 2d Dist. 1992), review granted, 10 Cal.Rptr.2d 182 (Cal. 1992), review dismissed, cause remanded, (Cal. July 15, 1993), cert. denied, 114 S.Ct. 1216, 127 L.Ed.2d 562 (1994).

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