On Wednesday, April 17, 2024, Law & Crime reported that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Broadbelt was removed from a case involving the Church of Scientology and its leader David Miscavige.

Judge Broadbelt had been presiding over a lawsuit filed by a Jane Doe plaintiff against the Church of Scientology. The plaintiff alleged that she had been groomed and subjected to forced marriage and sexual abuse by the Church as a minor. The Church’s representatives had argued to have the case moved to the Church’s internal arbitration process rather than proceeding in court.

In a tentative ruling, Judge Broadbelt denied the Church’s request to transfer the case to arbitration. However, the very next day David Miscavige filed a motion to have Judge Broadbelt removed from the case. Judge Broadbelt granted the motion for his recusal.

As the presiding judge, Broadbelt had provided reasoning for his decision to keep the case in civil court rather than allow arbitration. In his now obsolete order, Broadbelt found that the arbitration agreement the Church required Doe to sign in 2002 when she was 27 lacked mutuality. The agreement forced Doe to forfeit her right to legal recourse against the Church in perpetuity. Broadbelt concluded this was “so one-sided as to shock the conscience.”

Nevertheless, with Broadbelt’s removal the case will now be reassigned to a new judge and the Church’s request to move it to internal arbitration will be reconsidered from the start. This is not the first time Miscavige has succeeded in removing a judge – last month he also got Judge Randolph Hammock taken off a separate harassment suit brought by ex-Scientologist Leah Remini.

It remains to be seen how the new judge will rule on the arbitration issue and whether the plaintiff’s allegations against the Church will finally be heard in open court.

 

 

Source: Law & Crime