The processing server identified as many as 10 Church of Scientology properties in Clearwater and California and held legal documents.
They tried 27 times to serve Scientology leader David Miscavige in four months Federal Trafficking Litigation He was named as a defendant, according to the case records.
Security guards refused to accept documents from the process server, refused to answer questions and said they did not know where Miscavij lived or worked, despite being the group’s church leader, court documents said.
The case revolves around allegations by three former Scientologists who say they were trafficked into the church as children and forced to work for low or no pay as adults. The complaint was filed in April by Valeska Paris and her husband, Gawain and Laura Baxter, who left the Sea Org in 2009 and 2012, respectively. Church soldiers.
Five church entities named as co-defendants have been served and filed July motion to push suit into internal arbitration, it will appear before a group of devoted church members. A judge has yet to rule on the church’s request to transfer the case outside the U.S. court system.But with that decision pending, lawyers Three former church workers remain unable to serve Scientology’s mysterious and elusive leader.
In a hearing scheduled for Jan. 20 in Tampa federal court, plaintiffs are asking a judge to declare Miscavige absent and absent for “deliberately concealing his location and evading service.”
“Miscavige cannot be allowed to continue his game,” wrote plaintiffs’ attorney Neil Glazer in a Dec. 13 motion calling for a hearing.
The inability to serve Miscavige highlights the complex structure of the Scientology organization.
Like all members of the Sea Org, Miscavige, 62, has lived and worked in a Scientology-owned building since he was 16, according to a statement filed by Mike Rinder, a former church director who Reported to Miscavige until Rinder’s defection in 2007.
According to the plaintiffs’ legal team, there is no trace of Miscavige’s personal residence in public records or proprietary databases.
Even the traffic tickets Miscavige received in Pinellas County in 1991 and 1995 listed his address as the International Church of Scientology building in Los Angeles, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said.
In a response filed Tuesday, Miscavej’s attorneys said his listing as a defendant was inappropriate and “part of a litigation strategy aimed at harassment of religious leaders.”
On Sept. 9, after months of unsuccessful service on Miscavige, U.S. District Judge Julie S. Sneed directed the clerk to issue a subpoena for him through the Florida Secretary of State, an alternative form of service on the defendant.
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Attorneys for Paris and Baxter then sent notices of service by registered mail to 10 Scientology addresses in Clearwater and California, according to court records. According to the plaintiff’s motion for a hearing on the matter on Dec. 13, the package was returned to the sender with an unsigned return receipt, was rejected at the location or was lost in the mail.
The plaintiffs’ legal team also attempted to contact Miscavige by hiring private investigators, sending direct messages to Scientology’s Instagram page, combing through public records and speaking with former Sea Org members. They also asked, without success, for Miscavige’s address, from attorneys representing the Scientology entities named in the lawsuit, according to court records.
Attorneys for Miscavige argued in Tuesday’s response that he should not have been served with the lawsuit at all because the plaintiffs did not prove that he was in business in Florida or that their claims arose from his business in Florida, which is a matter of service. met legal requirements.
Attorneys for Miscavige filed a statement from a Scientology representative stating that he is a resident of California, not Florida. They said he didn’t evade services, but he wasn’t present when any of the process servers attempted to deliver files on various properties.
But the court documents filed by the plaintiffs seek to prove Miscavige’s presence in Clearwater. According to a 2022 Scientology postcard included in the document, Miscavige gave a “regular briefing” at her graduation ceremony Friday night at the Banner Building in downtown Clearwater.
Sarah Heller, Scientology’s legal director, said in a statement that a video of Miscavige was played at the Clearwater graduation ceremony mentioned in the postcard and that he did not appear in person.
In statements filed in the case, Rinder and former Sea Org member Aaron Smith-Levin said Miscavige lived in the Hacienda Gardens wing at North Saturn Avenue and Keene Road in Clearwater, a gated complex housing Sea Org members .
Rinder said a wide range of methods were used “to protect Miscavige from liability or service of summonses and subpoenas.” That included training security guards to refuse legal services, he said.
But Miscavige’s lawyers said those statements were false, and that Rinder and Smith-Levin spoke out against Scientology.
Miscavige’s attorneys also allege that two signatures of Scientology representatives on certified return receipts were forged. In a statement, Sea Org member Joshua Adi said he was shown a certified mail receipt card showing he signed for a package from plaintiffs’ attorney on Sept. 19, but he These packages were never picked up or receipts signed.