Plaintif Co$ against Time Warner
In 92 civ. 3024 (PKL) UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT
OF NEW YORK
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL,
TIME WARNER, INC., TIME INC.
MAGAZINE COMPANY, and RICHARD BEHAR,
United States District Judge Leisure ruled in favor of the
defendants in a summary judgement.
The only part of the suit that was not ruled in the favor
of the defendants:
"Of the statements set forth at paragraph 52 of the
complaint pursuant to this Court's ruling of November 23,1992
only the following remains at issue:
'One source of funds for the Los
Angeles-based church is the notorious,
self-regulated stock exchange in Vancouver,
British Columbia, often called the scam
capital of the world.'
The Court finds that a reasonable jury could find by clear
and convincing evidence that Time published the above statement
with actual malice.
The statements dismissed by the Court as not being defamatory, or libelous are
these passages included in the May 6, 1991 Time Magazine article:
1. "In reality the church is a hugely
profitable global racket that survives by
intimidating members and critics in a mafia-
2. "Says Cynthia Kisser, the [Cult
Awareness] network's Chicago-based executive
director: 'Scientology is quite likely the
most ruthless, the most classically
terroristic, the most litigious and the most
lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No
cult extracts more money from its members.'"
3. "Those who criticize the church --
journalists, doctors, lawyers and even judges
so often find themselves engulfed in litigation,
stalked by private eyes, framed for
fictional crimes, beaten up or threatened
with death." ...
"CSI challenges the following as false ad defamatory:
'THE LOTTICKS LOST THEIR SON, Noah, who
jumped from a Manhattan hotel clutching $171,
virtually the only money he had not yet
turned over to Scientology. His parents
blame the church and would like to sue but
are frightened by the organization's
reputation for ruthlessness.
'His death inspired his father Edward, a
physician, to start his own investigation of
the church. 'We thought Scientology was
something like Dale Carnegie," Lottick says.
"I now believe it is a school for pychopaths.
Their so-called therapies are manipulations.
They take the best and brightest people and
'It was too late. "From Noah's friends
at Dianetics" read the card that accompanied
a bouquet of flowers at Lottick's funeral.
Yet, no Scientology staff member bothered to
Judge Leisure states in his opinion:
"Because the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment
are designed to ensure debate, not litigation, is
vigorous, the subjective nature of the test of liability
cannot create a bar to summary disposition of libel
"... In addition, the Court must 'consider this case against
the background of a profound national commitment to the principle
that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and
wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and
sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks." _New_York_Times_Co._,
376 U.S. at 270. As quoted in _The_New_York_Times,
'In the realm of religious faith, and in
that of political belief, sharp differences
arise. In both fields the tenets of one man
may seem the rankest error to his neighbor.
To persuade others to his own point of view,
the pleader, as we know, at times, resorts to
exaggeration, to vilification of men who have
been, or are, preeminent in church or state,
and even to false statement. But the people
of this nation have ordained in the light of
history, that, in spite of the probability of
excesses and abuses, these liberties are, in
the long view, essential to enlightened
opinion and right conduct on the part of the
citizens of a democracy.'
"Id. at 271 (quoting Cantwell v Connecticut, 210 U.S. 296, 310
(1940)). Because sharp disagreement is essential to robust
debated about important issues, "[a]ctual malice under the _New
_York_Times_ standard should not be confused wit the concept of
malice as a evil intent or a motive arising from spite or ill
will." _Masson v. New Yorker Magazine, Inc._, 501 U.S. 496, 510
(1991). The speaker's belief in his statements, even his
exaggerations, enhances, rather than diminishes, the likelihood
that they are protected from libel attack by the First Amendment.
Only where the speaker himself lacks this conviction, where the
speaker entertains serious doubt as to the veracity of his
statements, is the false statement actionable. _See St. Amant_,
390 U.S. at 731.
Tom Klemesrud SP5