Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 21:20:30 +0200 (CEST)
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Subject: Scientology's Defense to killing Lisa---Blame Lisa!
Xref: news.primenet.com alt.religion.scientology:1071867
The defenses laid out by Scientology are towards the end of this document
filed on 10-15-99. There are a few interesting tidbits before the defenses
but you have to have patience. All Scientologists, especially those who have
claimed to be Lisa's friend, should be ashamed of the so called leaders of
Scientology who instructed their attorneys to prepare the lies herein.
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
IN AND FOR HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, STATE OF FLORIDA
GENERAL CIVIL DIVISION
ESTATE OF LISA McPHERSON, by and through the Personal Representative, DELL LIEBREICH,
V. CASE NO.:97-01235
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY FLAG
JANIS JOHNSON, ALAIN KARTUZINSKI;
and DAVID HOUGHTON,
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY FLAG SERVICE
ORGANIZATION'S ANSWER AND DEFENSES
TO THE FOURTH AMENDED COMPLAINT
Defendant, Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization (the "Church"), by its
undersigned attorneys, answers the correspondingly numbered paragraphs of the Fourth
Amended complaint as follows:
1. Denied, except admitted that Lisa McPherson was a single adult and was at all
material times a resident of Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida.
2. Denied. Dell Liebreich's appointment was obtained by fraud and constitutes a
felony. Her appointment is invalid and she has no standing to bring this action.
3. Denied, except admitted that the Church is a religious organization incorporated
under the laws of Florida and engaging in religious activities in Clearwater,
Florida. It is also admitted that the Church holds title to the Ft. Harrison
religious retreat. By Order dated September 8, 1999, the Court has stricken the
following phrases from this paragraph of the Fourth Amended Complaint: (a) it is part
of the Church of Scientology conglomerate of corporations and other
collectively as "SCIENTOLOGY or "CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY" and (b) science fiction.
4. By Order dated September 8, 1999, the Court has stricken all but the last sentence
of paragraph 4. That sentence is denied, except that it is admitted that pursuant to
the religious beliefs of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard is the source of Scientology and
the Founder of the religion.
5. By Order dated September 8, 1999, the Court has stricken all but the first
sentence of paragraph 5. The first sentence of paragraph 5 is denied except admitted
that the religion of Scientology includes writings on all eight dynamics which
encompass the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, universes
and other life.
7. By Order dated September 8, 1999, paragraph 7 was stricken by the Court.
8. By Order dated September 8, 1999, paragraph 8 was stricken by the Court.
9. Denied. The religion of Scientology includes in its Scripture millions of
words contained in tens of thousands of pages of writings and spoken word on recorded
lectures that comprise the theology and practice of the religion.
10. Denied, except admitted that Lisa McPherson became a practicing member of the
Scientology religion at the able of 18. It is further admitted that Lisa McPherson at
one time dedicated herself to the religion's Sea Org fraternal order and later
abandoned that calling but continued as a parishioner of the religion.
12. Denied. further, punishment is not any part of the Scientology religion and
its theology concerning ethics specifically rejects that concept.
13. Denied. PTS is a religious description of a spiritual condition and the
allegations in this paragraph misinterpret a religious doctrine of Scientology.
16. Denied, except admitted that on November 18, 1995 Lisa McPherson was
transferred by ambulance to the Morton Plant Hospital located in Clearwater, Florida,
where she received a medical and psychological evaluation in the emergency room.
19. By Order dated September 8, 1999, the Court has stricken that portion of the
first sentence of paragraph 19 which states, "By acting erratic in public ... the
paramedics and Morton Plant Hospital. " The remaining portion of paragraph 19 is
23, By Order dated September 8, 1999, the Court has stricken all except the last
sentence of paragraph 23. The last sentence is denied.
27. Denied. "Scientology" is a religion, and not an entity. Lisa McPherson at all
times was engaged in a protected religious activity.
34. Denied, except admitted that this purports to be such an action.
35. The Church alleges it answers to paragraphs I through 33 as though fully set
By Order dated September 28, 1999, Count II was dismissed and was not timely amended
by the Plaintiff.
43. Denied, except admitted that this purports to be such an action,
44. The Church alleges its answers to paragraphs I through 33 as though fully set
48. Denied, except admitted that this purports to be such an action.
49. The Church alleges its answers to paragraphs I through 33 as though fully set
52. Denied, furthermore, the Church alleges its answers to paragraphs 41 through
49 as if My set forth herein.
54. Denied, except admitted that this purports to be such an action.
55. The Church alleges its answers to paragraphs I through 33 as though fully set
60. Denied, furthermore the Church alleges its answers to paragraphs 41 through
49 as though fully set forth herein.
62.The Church alleges its answers to paragraphs I through 33 as though fully set
By Order dated September 28, 1999, Count VII was dismissed and was not timely amended
by the Plaintiff
By Order dated September 28, 1999, Count VIE was dismissed and the Plaintiff did not
seek, and the Court did not grant, leave to amend Count VIII.
The Plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action for false imprisonment or battery
because Plaintiff s own allegations negate these claims. The Plaintiff has alleged
that the injuries suffered in these counts resulted in death. As a result, these
counts merge with Plaintiff s wrongful death count.
The Plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action in Counts IV and V for a
violation of Chapter 400. The pleadings are inherently false and from the plain facts
of the case the Plaintiff must have known the pleading to be untrue. The Plaintiff
seeks to hold the Church, as owner of the Fort Harrison, a religious retreat,
responsible for damages based on statutory causes of action that can only be
maintained, respectively, against the licensee of a nursing home or an assisted
living facility. The Church is neither a nursing home nor an assisted living
The Complaint fails to state a cause of action because it seeks damages against the
Church for acts that were undertaken pursuant to certain individuals' and the
Plaintiff's deeply held religious beliefs. The Complaint seeks damages based upon
acts that constituted the exercise of religious practice. The exercise of religious
practice is protected activity under the First Amendment to the United States
Constitution and Florida's Constitution and Florida's Religious Freedom Restoration
Act ("RFRA"). Furthermore, the subject matter that the Plaintiff seeks to adjudicate
cannot be adjudicated by a court pursuant to the First Amendment and RFRA.
Plaintiff did not exercise ordinary care, caution or prudence for her welfare to
avoid the happening of the alleged incidents, injuries or damages, if any, and by
this failure to do so, Plaintiff thereby directly and proximately contributed to, or
was the sole cause of the alleged injuries, losses and damages, if any.
Any recovery obtained by the Plaintiff herein, which is denied, should be reduced,
off set, or set off for any and ail collateral source benefits received by or payable
The damages allegedly suffered by the Plaintiff were not caused by any act or
omissions to act on the part of the Church and were caused by other trauma suffered
by the Plaintiff wholly unrelated to the Church.
If the Church is found liable to the Plaintiff for damages herein, which the Church
denies, Plaintiff's damages must be reduced by the amount attributable to Plaintiffs
comparative and relative fault,
If the Church is subject to any liability to the Plaintiff, which the Church denies,
it will be due in whole or in part to the acts, omissions, activities, carelessness,
recklessness and/or negligence of others, including Morton Plant Hospital and its
medical personnel. Therefore, any recovery obtained by Plaintiff against the Church
should be reduced in proportion to the respective negligence and fault and legal
responsibility of all other parties, persons and entities, their agents, servants and
employees who contributed to and/or caused any such injury and/or damages. In
accordance with the laws of comparative liability; the liability of the Church, if
any, is limited in direct proportion to the percentage of fault actually attributed
to the Church.
The Plaintiffs injuries, if any, were the result of a pre-existing injury, which was
not diagnosed by the medical personnel at Morton Plant Hospital and which was not
aggravated by the alleged incident herein. Alternatively, if any pre-existing injury
was aggravated by the alleged incident herein, Plaintiff is only entitled to
reimbursement for the degree of aggravation, and any recovery obtained herein must be
reduced to the percentage of the aggravation which she allegedly suffered as a result
of this claimed incident.
The Church maintains that it is not liable for all or any of the allegations of
Plaintiffs Complaint and at the time of trial the names of all responsible persons or
entities should appear on the verdict form so that a jury can apportion liability as
required by Section 768.81(3), Florida Statutes.
The Good Samaritan statute, Section 768.13, Florida Statutes, provides the Church
with complete or partial immunity to the claims of the Plaintiff.
The Church reasonably believed that, if taken, the actions allegedly constituting
battery and false imprisonment were necessary to prevent the Plaintiff from being
seriously injured. Lisa McPherson had voluntarily entered the Church facilities to
engage in religious practice. The actions were reasonable under the circumstances to
protect the physical safety and spiritual progress of Ms. McPherson, and the Church
did not have any intent to harm the health, safety, or welfare of the Plaintiff, nor
was any harm arm to her health, safety or welfare reasonably foreseeable.
Because of the conduct acts and omissions of Plaintiff, Plaintiff has waived any
claim to or is estopped from seeking the damages alleged in the Complaint.
The alleged actions of the Church did not constitute false imprisonment or battery
because the Plaintiff consented to being cared for at the Fort Harrison in accordance
with her religious beliefs.
Plaintiff lacks standing to bring this action, because her appointment as personal
representative was obtained through fraud and commission of criminal acts.
Plaintiff is entitled to no damages under the wrongful death statute since the
Complaint fails to identify any beneficiaries as required by Section 768.2 1, Florida
Statutes; Lisa McPherson's sole "survivor" under the statute, her mother, has died,
thereby extinguishing any net accumulations damages under Section 768.24, Florida
Statutes; said sole survivor was not entitled to lost "support and services" damages
during her lifetime, since Ms. McPherson did riot support her mother; and the estate
incurred no other statutory damages, such as medical and funeral expenses, authorized
This action constitutes an abuse of process, in that it is brought and prosecuted for
the improper and collateral purpose of attacking the Scientology religion.
The complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted because Lisa
McPherson executed several covenants not to sue and releases for all potential
damages in favor of the Church.
Plaintiff s alleged injuries, if any, were the result of a superseding, intervening
ERIC M. LIEBERMAN MORRIS WEINBERG, JR.
Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Florida Bar No. 0486401
Krinsky & Lieberman, P.C. LEE FUGATE
740 Broadway, 5' Floor Florida Bar No. 0 170928
New York, New York 10003 Zuckerman, Spaeder Taylor & Evans, LLP
Tel: 212-254-1111 401 E. Jackson Street, Suite, 2525
Fax: 212-674-4614 Tampa, Florida 33602
MICHAEL LEE HERTZBERG
740 Broadway, 5" Floor
New York, New York 10003
Attorneys for Defendant Church of Scientology
Flag Service Organization
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