For further information contact Edward A. Lottick, M.D., Treasurer, (authentic) "CAN"
The beleaguered board of directors of the bankrupt Authentic* Cult Awareness Network received favorable news today from the Illinois Supreme Court that cleared the way for the resumption of their $4 million dollar lawsuit against Scientology.
The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the lower courts' dismissal of Authentic CAN's malicious prosecution lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, International, the Church of Scientology of Illinois, and the California law firm of Bowles and Moxon. The Illinois Supreme Court indicated that the lower courts' interpretations of Illinois malicious prosecution law were too narrow and out-of-keeping with trends in the law in sister states.
The Illinois Supreme Court noted CAN's claim that the defendants conspired with each other to maliciously conduct a campaign of repeated prosecutions for the express purpose of causing CAN's bankruptcy and eventual disbandment. Specifically between January 24, 1992, and July 1, 1993, various members of the Church of Scientology filed 21 lawsuits around the United States which named authentic CAN as the defendant. Each complaint (based on a denial of membership in CAN when members of Scientology attempted disruption by infiltration) was the same in 20 of the 21 cases and resulted in courts in Illinois, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Washington, D.C. dismissing or finding in CAN's favor in each case.
The Illinois Supreme Court noted CAN's claim that the Church of Scientology instituted the simultaneous suits, not to resolve any legal dispute between the parties, but to keep plaintiff from engaging in its business of disseminating information regarding religious freedom.
In his opinion, Chief Justice Charles Freeman stated that "The invidiousness of the alleged conspiracy is best reflected in the fact that plaintiff was sued 21 times over the course of a 17-month period in jurisdictions ranging from New York to California. Such sustained onslaught of litigation can hardly be deemed "ordinary" if plaintiff can prove that the actions were brought without probable cause and with malice."
Chief Justice Freeman further commented: "The Constitution affords protection to the honest litigator in search of resolutions to true legal disputes; however, it does not provide the right to any individual to assist another, with money or otherwise, in the prosecution of a suit which has been filed with malice and without probable cause."
Scientology is noted for its tendency to use litigation and investigation to harass those who disagree with it. It filed over 100 lawsuits against the Internal Revenue Service in the years before it attained total non-profit status with the IRS in 1993.
Counsel for CAN are Robert M. Dow, Jr., Esquire (who argued the case) and James C. Schroeder, Esquire, of Mayer, Brown, & Platt, Chicago, Illinois.
Counsel for COSI, et al, are Eric M. Lieberman, Esquire (who argued the case) of Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman, P.C., New York City, N.Y. and Kendrick L. Moxon, of Moxon & Bartilson, Glendale, CA.
*Scientology interests purchased the CAN name and telephone number at bankruptcy sale and now masquerade as the Cult Awareness Network. There are now two totally different CANs.