Introduction to the Appeal


From Gerry Armstrong’s Appellant’s Opening Brief (Aug 25, 1997):


This is an appeal from a Marin County Superior Court judgment obtained by plaintiff Church of Scientology International, hereinafter (also with other components of the global Scientology organization) ” Scientology” or “Scn,” against defendant Gerald Armstrong, hereinafter “Armstrong” or “GA,” pursuant to a series of summary adjudication motions. The judgment (Clerk’s Transcript on Appeal, hereinafter “CT,” 9783-85) includes a monetary award of $300,000 in ” liquidated damages,” $334,671.75 in costs, and an order of permanent injunction against GA. The judgment and injunction (CT 9786-94) are the result of the enforcement by way of breach of contract action of a 1986 “Mutual Release of All Claims and Settlement Agreement,” hereinafter ” SA” (CT 116-31) which was to end then existing Los Angeles Superior Court litigation between Scn and GA. The SA requires, inter alia, that GA not mention Scn, his knowledge thereof or experiences therein (CT 121-3), not voluntarily assist or advise Scn’s litigation opponents including governmental agencies (CT 125, 6; 128), and avoid service of process (CT 125, 6). The SA also included a liquidated damages provision of $50,000 (CT 123) for any such mention or assistance by GA. Scn claims that GA violated the SA some 50 times, which are listed in the injunction, between 1991 and 1995. (CT 9787-91)

The order of injunction states:

“[GA], his agents, employees, and persons acting in concert or conspiracy with him are restrained and enjoined from doing directly or indirectly any of the following:

1. Voluntarily assisting any person (not a government organ or entity) intending to make, intending to press, intending to arbitrate, or intending to litigate a claim, regarding such claim or regarding pressing, arbitrating, or litigating it, against any of the following persons or entities:

–    [The Church of Scientology International, Church of Scientology of California, Religious Technology Center, Church of Spiritual Technology, all Scientology and Scientology affiliated Churches, organizations and entities, Author Services, Inc., and all their officers, directors, agents, representatives, employees, volunteers, successors, assigns and legal counsel;]

–    The Estate of L. Ron Hubbard, its executor, beneficiaries, heirs, representatives, and legal counsel;

and/or –

Mary Sue Hubbard; (Hereinafter referred to collectively as “the Beneficiaries”);

2. Voluntarily assisting any person (not a government organ or entity) defending a claim, intending to defend a claim, intending to defend an arbitration, or intending to defend any claim being pressed, made, arbitrated or litigated by any of the Beneficiaries, regarding such claim or regarding defending, arbitrating, or litigating against it;

3. Voluntarily assisting any person (not a government organ or entity) arbitrating, or litigating adversely to any of the Beneficiaries;

4. Facilitating in any manner the creation, publication, broadcast, writing, filming audio recording, video recording, electronic recording or reproduction of any kind of any book, article, film, television program, radio program, treatment, declaration, screenplay or other literary, artistic or documentary work of any kind which discusses, refers to or mentions Scientology, the Church, and/or any of the Beneficiaries;

5. Discussing with anyone, not a member of Armstrong’s immediate family or his attorney, Scientology, the Church, and/or any of the Beneficiaries.”

GA contends that his signature was obtained by Scn on the SA by duress, fraud and the compromise of his then attorney. GA contends that all his alleged breaches of the SA were in response to and in self-defense against Scn’s post-settlement attacks on him, and that as such his actions were legally justified. He contends that the purpose and function of the SA and its enforcement are obstruction of justice, and as such are against public policy. He contends that the SA and the injunction impermissibly violate his Constitutional rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process and freedom from slavery; and impermissibly eliminate his litigant’s, clergyman-penitent, therapist-patient and doctor-patient privileges. GA contends that the liquidated damages provision impermissibly acts as punishment, that the amount has no reasonable relationship to Scn’s actual damages for his alleged breaches, and that there are sufficient disputed facts concerning circumstances at the time of the settlement of the Los Angeles action to make imposition of monetary damages and disposition of the case by summary judgment clear judicial error. GA contends that there is also a triable issue of fact as to the intentions of the settling parties regarding Scn’s being bound by the same silence conditions. Finally, GA contends that the court below erred in not considering his defenses and not considering the miscarriage of justice which would result from its erroneous judgment.

GA is not an attorney and has no present access to published California and US laws and appellate opinions. He was represented by competent counsel throughout most of the litigation in the court below, and he relies on and incorporates herein his counsel’s memoranda of points and authorities in his oppositions, with all arguments and citations therein, to Scn’s various summary adjudication motions (CT 8252-75; 8243-51; 3875- 98; 9349-63) and in his motion for reconsideration and reply. (CT 9046-62; 9509-18)