OPERATION CLAMBAKE: SCIENTOLOGY COURT FILES

Part of a public library containing court papers related to lawsuits involving Scientology in some way. Collected to help lawyers and critics of Scientology in future lawsuits from or against this cult. Please report back if this has been of help, or send new contributions to the collection. Thanks. Andreas Heldal-Lund (heldal@online.no)




                 CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL, Plaintiff,
                                       v.
    TIME WARNER, INC., Time Inc. Magazine Co., and Richard Behar, Defendants.
                             No. 92 Civ. 3024(PKL).
                          United States District Court,
                                 S.D. New York.
                                 Nov. 23, 1992.
  In libel action, defendant moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim on
 which relief could be granted.  The District Court, Leisure, J., held that
 within article on Scientology, references to "Scientology," to activities or
 statements of individual Scientologists, or to Scientology entities other than
 plaintiff Church of Scientology International (CSI) could not be understood as
 "of and concerning" plaintiff, but references to the Church of Scientology and
 "the church" could be so understood, even though the only mention of CSI by
 name in the article was caption in photograph identifying its headquarters.
  Motion denied.

 [1] FEDERAL CIVIL PROCEDURE
 Though court, on motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, must limits
 its analysis to the four corners of the complaint, it also may consider
 documents incorporated into complaint by reference and information that could
 be judicially noticed, and must draw all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's
 favor.  Fed.Rules Civ.Proc.Rule 12(b)(6), 28 U.S.C.A.

 [2] FEDERAL CIVIL PROCEDURE
 In assessing sufficiency of libel complaint, court could consider the allegedly
 defamatory article.  Fed.Rules Civ.Proc.Rule 12(b)(6), 28 U.S.C.A.

 [3] LIBEL AND SLANDER
 To state claim, libel plaintiff must advance colorable claims of having been
 identified and described by the defamatory comment, and thus court must
 consider whether those who knew plaintiff, upon reading the statements, would
 understand that plaintiff was the target of the allegedly libelous statement.

 [4] LIBEL AND SLANDER
 Though the "of and concerning" requirement of libel action is generally an
 issue of fact which jury alone may decide, whether complaint alleges facts
 sufficient to demonstrate reasonable connection between plaintiff and the
 alleged libel is a question for the court.  Fed.Rules Civ.Proc.Rule
 12(b)(6), 28 U.S.C.A.

 [5] LIBEL AND SLANDER
 Under "group libel doctrine," plaintiff's claim is insufficient if allegedly
 defamatory statement referenced plaintiff solely as a member of a group, in
 which case the "of and concerning" requirement of a libel action is not met;
 in order to overcome group libel doctrine, plaintiff must demonstrate that
 circumstances of the publication reasonably give rise to conclusion that there
 is particular reference to plaintiff as member of the group.
 See publication Words and Phrases for other judicial constructions and
 definitions.

 [6] LIBEL AND SLANDER
 Statements in publication that are not included in complaint as alleged libels
 may be considered to inform determination of whether the statement
 sued upon referenced plaintiff, so as to satisfy the "of and concerning"
 requirement of libel action.

 [7] LIBEL AND SLANDER
 References in article to "Scientology" would not themselves support finding
 that the Church of Scientology International (CSI), as differentiated from
 hundreds of other Scientology entities, was referred to in article, so as to
 support the "of and concerning" requirement of libel action, but discussion of
 "Church of Scientology" and the "church" could support such a finding given the
 hierarchical structure of the Church of Scientology and capacity of CSI as the
 "Mother Church," as well as caption in photograph identifying its headquarters.

 [8] LIBEL AND SLANDER
 Any reference in publication to activities or statements of any member of
 particular church could not be understood as referring to the church, for
 purposes of libel action by the church.

 [9] LIBEL AND SLANDER
 While the paragraphs of article concerning Scientology referring to "the
 church" could be understood as "of and concerning" the Church of Scientology
 International (CSI) for purposes of libel action by CSI, references in other
 paragraphs referring to other Scientology entities could not be so understood.
  *1158 Morrison Cohen Singer & Weinstein (Jonathan W. Lubell, of counsel),
 Michael Lee Hertzberg, New York City, Bowles & Moxon, Hollywood, Cal. (Timothy
 Bowles, of counsel) for plaintiff.
  Cahill Gordon & Reindel (Floyd Abrams, Dean Ringel, Phillip Essig, Adam
 Liptak, of counsel), Time Inc. (Harry M. Johnston, Robin Bierstadt, Robert P.
 Marshall, Jr., of counsel), New York City, for defendants.
                                OPINION AND ORDER

  LEISURE, District Judge.
  Defendants Time Warner Inc., Time Inc. Magazine Co., and Richard Behar
 (collectively "Time") move this Court for an Order pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)
 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure dismissing this action for failure to

 state a claim upon which relief can be granted.  For the following reasons, the
 motion is denied.
                                   BACKGROUND
  Plaintiff Church of Scientology International ("CSI") brought this action to
 recover for damages allegedly suffered from the publication of false and
 defamatory statements concerning CSI in the cover story of the May 6, 1991
 issue of Time magazine (the "Article").  The complaint alleges that six
 passages or sets of statements libeled CSI.  The defendants challenge the
 sufficiency of the complaint, arguing that CSI has failed adequately to assert
 that the allegedly libelous statements are of and concerning CSI.  Time
 additionally argues that plaintiff's allegations fail to state a valid claim
 not barred by the group libel doctrine.  Further, Time contends that CSI can
 not demonstrate the individualized and distinct damages necessary to justify
 relief from the group libel doctrine. [FN1]

      FN1. The defendants also suggest that the action could be dismissed under
     the doctrine of the libel-proof plaintiff.  Recognizing that this issue
     would be difficult to resolve at this early stage of the litigation,
     however, Time elected not to press this argument at this time.

  For the purposes of this motion to dismiss, the allegations in the complaint
 are assumed to be true.  See Easton v. Sundram, 947 F.2d 1011, 1014-15 (2d
 Cir.1991), cert. denied, 504 U.S. 911, 112 S.Ct. 1943, 118 L.Ed.2d 548
 (1992);  Allen v. Westpoint-Pepperell, Inc., 945 F.2d 40, 44 (2d Cir.1991).
  CSI alleges that the Article, entitled "Scientology:  the Cult of Greed," is
 based on the thesis "that the Scientology religion is not an 'acceptable'
 religion for the social mainstream" and contains "unwarranted and bigoted
 attacks on the Scientology religion."  See Complaint, PP 3, 22.  The Complaint
 challenges six passages as false and defamatory.  See Complaint, PP 40, 45, 52,
 58, 62, 67.  None of the six passages mentions *1159 CSI;  in fact, CSI is
 mentioned only once in the eight page article, in the caption of a photograph
 depicting CSI's Los Angeles Headquarters.  See Defendants' Memorandum of Law in
 Support of Their Motion to Dismiss the Complaint ("Time Memo."), Ex. 1, at 56.
 Nevertheless, CSI claims that the allegedly defamatory statements are of and
 concerning CSI because
   the reading audience, and those that heard of the statements and meanings,
 including those members of the general public who knew the plaintiff, regarded
 any reference to Scientology or the activities or statements of any Scientology
 Church, Mission or Scientologist as referring to the plaintiff which, as the
 Mother Church, was regarded as responsible for or the cause of such activities
 and statements and, in particular, for the specific activities and statements
 charged in the article.
  Complaint, P 29.  In addition to this generalized allegation concerning its
 connection to the Article, plaintiff also asserts that the six statements are
 of and concerning CSI on separate, particularized grounds.  See Complaint, PP
 41, 46, 53, 59, 63, 68.
  The Church of Scientology has a hierarchical structure consisting of
 numerous entities.  As noted by the Court of Claims in Church of Spiritual
 Technology v. United States, 26 Cl.Ct. 713 (1992), [FN2] CSI is one of three
 "management churches" and is the Mother Church of the Scientology religion.
 Id., 26 Cl.Ct. 713, at 717;  see also Complaint, P 6.  That court identified
 nearly 200 organizations that collectively constitute the Church of
 Scientology.  Id., 26 Cl.Ct. 713, at 717, n. 9.  CSI claims to be the top
 figure in Scientology's hierarchical structure and thus maintains that the
 activities of all Scientology entities are ascribed to CSI.

      FN2. The Court properly may take judicial notice of reported decisions
     dealing with various Scientology organizations.  See, e.g., E.I. Du Pont
     de Nemours Co. v. Cullen, 791 F.2d 5, 7 (1st Cir.1986);  United States
     v. Estep, 760 F.2d 1060, 1063 (10th Cir.1985).

                                     DISCUSSION
  A. Standard Governing Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6)
  The Court now turns to consider the sufficiency of the complaint under
 Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).  "The court's function on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
 is not to weigh the evidence that might be presented at a trial but merely to
 determine whether the complaint itself is legally sufficient."  Festa v.
 Local 3, Int'l Bhd. of Electrical Workers, 905 F.2d 35, 37 (2d Cir.1990);  see
 also Ryder Energy Distrib. Corp. v. Merrill Lynch Commodities, Inc., 748
 F.2d 774, 779 (2d Cir.1984) ("The function of a motion to dismiss 'is merely to
 assess the legal feasibility of the complaint, not to assay the weight of the
 evidence which might be offered in support thereof.' "  (quoting Geisler v.
 Petrocelli, 616 F.2d 636, 639 (2d Cir.1980))).
  [1][2] A motion to dismiss must be denied "unless it appears beyond a doubt
 that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which
 would entitle him to relief."  Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94
 S.Ct. 1683, 1686, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S.
 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 101-102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957));  see also Oliver
 Schools, Inc. v. Foley, 930 F.2d 248, 252 (2d Cir.1991).  Although the Court
 must limit its analysis to the four corners of the complaint, it also may
 consider documents incorporated into the complaint by reference and information
 that can be judicially noticed.  Allen, 945 F.2d at 44.  Thus, in this case,
 the Court may consider the Article in assessing the sufficiency of the
 Complaint.  In addition, the Court must draw all reasonable inferences in
 plaintiff's favor.  Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 283, 106 S.Ct. 2932,
 2943, 92 L.Ed.2d 209 (1986);  Allen, 945 F.2d at 44;  Murray v. Milford,
 380 F.2d 468, 470 (2d Cir.1967);  Hill v. Sullivan, 125 F.R.D. 86, 90
 (S.D.N.Y.1989) ("[A]ll allegations in plaintiffs' amended complaint must be
 accepted as true and liberally construed.").
  B. The "Of and Concerning" Requirement
  [3][4] To withstand a motion to dismiss, the libel plaintiff must "advance
 [ ] colorable *1160 claims of having been identified and described by
 defamatory comment."  Geisler v. Petrocelli, 616 F.2d 636, 640 (2d
 Cir.1980);  accord Bee Pub., Inc. v. Cheektowaga Times, Inc., 107 A.D.2d
 382, 385, 485 N.Y.S.2d 885, 888 (4th Dep't 1985);  cf. Springer v. Viking
 Press, 60 N.Y.2d 916, 917, 470 N.Y.S.2d 579, 580, 458 N.E.2d 1256, 1257
 (1983) ("of and concerning" requirement is an essential element of a libel
 claim).  Although the "of and concerning" requirement is generally an issue of
 fact, which the jury alone may decide, the Court properly may dismiss an action
 pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) where the statements "are incapable of supporting
 a jury's finding that the allegedly libelous statements refer to plaintiff."
 Handelman v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 469 F.Supp. 1048, 1050 (S.D.N.Y.1978).
 Whether the complaint alleges facts sufficient to demonstrate a reasonable
 connection between the plaintiff and the alleged libel is thus a question for
 the Court.  See Mullenmeister v. Snap-On Tools Corp., 587 F.Supp. 868, 872
 (S.D.N.Y.1984).  In determining whether the "of and concerning" requirement has
 been sufficiently pleaded, the Court must consider whether those who know the
 plaintiff, upon reading the statements, would understand that the plaintiff was
 the target of the allegedly libelous statement.  See Dalbec v. Gentleman's
 Companion, Inc., 828 F.2d 921, 925 (2d Cir.1987) ("It is not necessary that all
 the world should understand the libel.").
  [5] Under the group libel doctrine, a plaintiff's claim is
 insufficient if the allegedly defamatory statement referenced the plaintiff
 solely as a member of a group.  See, e.g., New York Times Co. v. Sullivan,
 376 U.S. 254, 84 S.Ct. 710, 11 L.Ed.2d 686 (1964);  Provisional Government
 of the Republic of New Afrika v. American Broadcasting Companies, 609 F.Supp.
 104, 108 (D.D.C.1985) ("a defamatory statement directed against a group or
 class does not generally give rise to a cause of action on behalf of its
 individual members");  Church of Scientology v. Flynn, 578 F.Supp. 266, 269
 (D.Mass.1984);  Talal v. Fanning, 506 F.Supp. 186, 187
 (N.D.Cal.1980) (dismissing libel claim pursuant to group libel doctrine).
 Thus, if a plaintiff is libeled as a member of a large group, the "of and
 concerning" requirement is not properly pleaded.  Court have often had occasion
 to note that the public interest in ensuring open and vigorous debate
 occasionally results in some injury to an individual as the result of a libel
 of his profession, political party, or sect.  If such damages were actionable,
 free expression would be impaired by the threat of liability.  See, e.g.,
 New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 84 S.Ct. 710, 11 L.Ed.2d 686;
 Ryckman v. Delavan, 25 Wend. 186, 199 (N.Y.1840);  People v. Edmondson, 168
 Misc. 142, 146, 4 N.Y.S.2d 257, 260-62 (Gen.Sess.N.Y.Co.1938).  In order to
 overcome the group libel doctrine, the plaintiff must demonstrate that "the
 circumstances of the publication reasonably give rise to the conclusion that
 there is a particular reference to the member."  Restatement (Second) of
 Torts, s 564A(b).
  In determining whether CSI has satisfactorily pleaded the "of and concerning"
 requirement, the Court must determine whether the allegedly libelous statements
 directly or impliedly referred to CSI.  Additionally, the Court must decide
 whether any reference to CSI in the Article arose solely from its status as one
 of the numerous entities that constitute the Church of Scientology, thus
 implicating the group libel doctrine and, if these statements involved group
 libel, whether CSI was referred to in any particular way so as to escape the
 constraints of the group libel doctrine.
  The Court must emphasize the procedural setting of this case.  The Court is
 called upon to determine whether CSI's complaint is sufficient to survive a
 motion to dismiss, not whether Time is liable to CSI for defamation.  Moreover,
 this motion is directed exclusively at one of the essential elements of a libel
 claim:  the "of and concerning" requirement.  While other defenses may shield
 Time from liability, those issues are not presently before the Court and thus
 may not be considered.
  *1161 C. The Allegedly Libelous Statements
  [6] Prior to individual consideration of each of the allegedly libelous
 statements, the Court must note certain statements in the Article that are not
 included in the complaint as alleged libels.  Consideration of these references
 may explain CSI's connection to the statements and thus may inform the
 determination of whether the six statements sued upon reference CSI.
  [7] CSI is mentioned in name only once during the article:  CSI is
 pictured in one of six photographs on page 56 of the Article and the photograph
 is captioned "Church of Scientology International headquarters, Los Angeles."
 While this photograph, standing alone, is insufficient to create a jury
 question as to whether a portion of the reading public would regard the
 allegedly defamatory statements as referring to CSI, the "of and concerning"
 requirement could be satisfied when the photograph and caption are considered
 in conjunction with other statements in the Article.
  The Article also contains repeated references to "Scientology," the "Church of
 Scientology," the "church," and the "Los Angeles-based church."  See, Time
 Memo., Ex. 1, passim.  CSI's suggestion that any reference to Scientology is
 necessarily a reference to CSI encounters the bar of the group libel rule.  CSI
 is one of hundreds of Scientology entities implicated by a reference to
 "Scientology."  Because CSI has failed to demonstrate that the references in
 the Article to "Scientology" particularly refer to CSI, as differentiated from
 the hundreds of other Scientology entities, the Article's references to
 "Scientology" do not support a finding that CSI has sufficiently pleaded the
 "of and concerning" requirement.  See Restatement (Second) of Torts
 s 564A(b).
  The Court finds, however, that the Article's discussion of the "Church of
 Scientology" and the "church" could support a finding that some of the six
 allegedly defamatory statements are reasonably connected to CSI, given the
 hierarchical structure of the Church of Scientology.  See Church of
 Scientology of California v. Flynn, 744 F.2d 694, 697 (9th Cir.1984).
 Moreover, the reference to the "Los Angeles-based church" could be considered a
 direct reference to CSI.  Although there are other Scientology churches in
 California, it appears that the limited number of such churches is insufficient
 to compel application of the group libel rule.  Considering CSI's capacity as
 "Mother Church," the hierarchical structure of Scientology, and the caption of
 the photograph identifying CSI's headquarters as being located in Los Angeles,
 the Court finds that these statements could support a finding that CSI
 sufficiently has pleaded a reasonable connection to the statements sued upon.
  [8] Plaintiffs also allege that the reading public would understand that any
 reference to the activities or statements of any Scientologist would be
 understood to refer to CSI.  See Complaint, P 29.  This legal proposition is
 erroneous and must be rejected as a matter of law.  See Provisional
 Government of the Republic of New Afrika, 609 F.Supp. at 108 ("Allegations of
 defamation by an organization and its members are not interchangeable.
 Statements which refer to individual members of an organization do not
 implicate the organization.")  Without more, reference to the activities of
 individual Scientologists can not create a right of action in CSI.  Plaintiff's
 suggestion would result in a constriction of the scope of permissible speech,
 as every reference to a person's religion would expose the speaker to
 liability, or at least extended litigation, concerning an alleged libel of the
 subject's "mother church."  Further, plaintiff's proposition can not overcome
 the prohibition of the group libel doctrine, as it has failed to demonstrate a
 particular reference to CSI.  Thus, the Court has determined that references to
 the activities or statements of individual Scientologists or groups of
 Scientologists are not of and concerning CSI.
  [9] Sufficiently informed by statements in the Article that are not
 the subject of CSI's complaint and certain facts which may be judicially
 noticed, the Court now turns to consider individually the six allegedly
 libelous statements.
  *1162 1. Paragraph 40
  Paragraph 40 of the complaint alleges that the following statements in the
 Article libeled CSI:
   "[T]he church ... survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-
 like manner."
   ....
   " 'Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically
 terroristic ... cult the country has ever seen.' "
   ....
   "Those who criticize the church--journalists, doctors, lawyers and even
 judges--often find themselves framed for fictional crimes, beaten up or
 threatened with death."
  Complaint, P 40. [FN3]  A jury reasonably could find that the statements
 discussing "church" activities referred specifically to CSI, as Mother Church
 and one of Scientology's three management churches.  Thus, the group libel bar
 is inapplicable to this statement, as the jury could find that the statement
 refers to a specific actor and not Scientology as a whole.  See Flynn, 744
 F.2d at 697.

      FN3. Where quotations of the Time article in the complaint differ from the
     original text, the Court will quote the statements as they appeared in the
     Article.

  Having avoided the principle of group libel, CSI still must demonstrate that
 the statement is of and concerning CSI.  Defendant has pleaded that
   The aforesaid statements were understood by the public who read or was
 informed of them to have the following false and defamatory meanings:
   A. Plaintiff is guilty of violence and threats of violence similar to the
 Mafia.
   B. Plaintiff heads the most ruthless and terroristic cult in this country's
 history.
   C. Plaintiff frames its critics, beats them up and threatens them with death.
  Complaint, P 41.  Additionally, the Court must consider that those who were
 familiar with the plaintiff might know that it is the Mother Church of
 Scientology and one of three management churches.  While the reference in this
 set of statements is to the "church," clearly Time can not avoid a finding that
 the statements are of and concerning CSI merely by using the term "church"
 instead of "Church."  Under the circumstances of this case, a jury reasonably
 could find that the term "church," as used in these statements, specifically
 referred to CSI.  The Court finds that CSI sufficiently has pleaded the "of and
 concerning" requirement with respect to paragraph 40 of the complaint.
  2. Paragraph 45
  Paragraph 45 of the complaint alleges that the following passage in the
 Article libeled CSI:
   "Occasionally a Scientologist's business antics land him in jail.  Last
 August a former devotee named Steven Fishman began serving a five-year prison
 term in Florida.  His crime:  stealing blank stock-confirmation slips from his
 employer, a major brokerage house, to use as proof that he owned stock
 entitling him to join dozens of successful class-action suits.  Fishman made
 roughly $1 million this way from 1983 to 1988 and spent as much as 30% of the
 loot on Scientology books and tapes.
   "Scientology denies any tie to the Fishman scam, a claim strongly
 disputed by both Fishman and his longtime psychiatrist, Uwe Geertz, a prominent
 Florida hypnotist.  Both men claim that when arrested, Fishman was ordered by
 the church to kill Geertz and then do an 'EOC,' or end of cycle, which is
 church jargon for suicide."
  Complaint, P 45.  Much of this passage is not of and concerning the
 plaintiff.  As discussed supra, CSI has failed to demonstrate a reasonable
 connection to the activities of individual Scientologists such that these
 statements can be said to be of and concerning CSI.  CSI alleges that the
 reading public understood this passage to mean that CSI was engaged in ordering
 people to commit murder and suicide.  Complaint, P 46.  The general reference
 to "the church" could reasonably be interpreted to mean CSI, as CSI sits at the
 top of the hierarchical structure that constitutes the *1163 Church of
 Scientology.  Thus, CSI has successfully pleaded the "of and concerning"
 requirement with respect to paragraph 45 of the complaint.
  3. Paragraph 52
  Paragraph 52 of the complaint alleges that the following statements in the
 Article libeled CSI:
   "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."
   ....
   "Bayback, 49, who runs a public relations company staffed with
 Scientologists, apparently has no ethics problem with engineering a hostile
 takeover of a firm he is hired to promote."
   ....
   " 'What these guys do is take over companies, hype the stock, sell their
 shares, and then there's nothing left.' "
   ....
  " 'They stole this man's property' "
  Complaint, P 52.  As the Court has noted, supra, the references to the
 activities of individual Scientologists, standing alone, fail to satisfy the
 "of and concerning" requirement.  The Court is doubtful as to whether this set
 of statements is truly of and concerning CSI.  Plaintiff claims that it has
 demonstrated a sufficient connection to these statements to withstand a motion
 to dismiss.  Plaintiff alleges:
   The aforesaid statements were understood by the public who read or were
 informed of them to have the false and defamatory meanings that plaintiff
 obtains funds by participating in scams on the Vancouver Stock Exchange ("VSE")
 and that plaintiff's VSE activities include use of Scientologists who are
 unethical, who strip companies of their value and who steal the property of
 entrepreneurs.
   ....
   The aforesaid false and defamatory statements were understood to be of and
 concerning plaintiff since plaintiff is based in Los Angeles, the activities
 referred to were understood to be for the purpose of supplying a source of
 funds to plaintiff and it was understood that plaintiff was responsible for the
 activities of Scientologists involved in creating a source of funds for it.
  Complaint, PP 53, 57.  Clearly, the reference to the "Los Angeles-based
 church" could reasonably be understood to refer to CSI, as CSI is based in Los
 Angeles and is at the top of the hierarchial structure of the Church of
 Scientology.  Conversely, statements concerning the activities of individual
 Scientologists are not of and concerning CSI.  While the connection to CSI in
 the above-quoted passage from the Article is weak, the Court has determined
 that, under the particular facts of this case, CSI sufficiently has pleaded
 the "of and concerning" requirement as to this statement.  Thus, this
 allegation can withstand Time's motion to dismiss.
  4. Paragraph 58
  Paragraph 58 of the complaint alleges that the following statements in the
 Article libeled CSI:
   "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's a school for psychopaths.  Their
 so-called therapies are manipulations.  They take the best and brightest people
 and destroy them.' "
   ....
   "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 members bothered to show up."
  Complaint, P 58.  The discussion of certain activities undertaken by "the
 church" and the Lotticks' fears of "the organization" *1164 provide a
 connection to CSI sufficient to satisfy the "of and concerning" requirement.
 CSI alleged in the complaint that
   The aforesaid statements were understood by the public who read or was
 informed of them to have the false and defamatory meanings that the plaintiff
 was responsible for Noah Lottick's death, that plaintiff had bankrupted him
 causing him to commit suicide, that because Noah Lottick's parents were
 frightened by the Church, they have not sued it, and that Church staff members
 were unfeeling and unsupportive, interested only in Noah Lottick while he was
 alive.
  Complaint, P 59.  As discussed supra, CSI's position in the structure of the
 Church of Scientology is such that a reader familiar with CSI could reasonably
 conclude that the passage referred to CSI.  Thus, paragraph 58 of the complaint
 satisfies the "of and concerning" requirement.
  5. Paragraph 62
  Paragraph 62 of the complaint alleges that the following passage in the
 Article libeled CSI:
   "The next month the Rowes flew to Glendale, Calif., where they shuttled daily
 from a local hotel to a Dianetics center.  'We thought they were brilliant
 people because they seemed to know so much about us,' recalls Dee.  'Then we
 realized our hotel room must have been bugged.'  After bolting from the
 center, $23,000 poorer, the Rowes say, they were chased repeatedly by
 Scientologists on foot and in cars."
  Complaint, P 62.  The Court finds that CSI has failed to demonstrate a
 reasonable connection to this statement.  Permitting CSI to prosecute a libel
 claim on every occasion where any Scientology entity is discussed in a negative
 light would be too great an imposition on society's interest in ensuring an
 open forum for vigorous public debate.  The above passage, whether read alone
 or in conjunction with the rest of the article, and informed by knowledge of
 the hierarchical structure of Scientology, could not support a jury finding
 that the statement refers to CSI.  See Provisional Government of the
 Republic of New Afrika, 609 F.Supp. at 108;  Handelman, 469 F.Supp. at
 1050.  Thus, paragraph 62 does not allege a statement that could reasonably
 considered to be of and concerning CSI.
  6. Paragraph 67
  Paragraph 67 of the complaint alleges that the following statement in the
 Article libeled CSI:
   "In a court filing, one of the cult's many entities--the Church of Spiritual
 Technology--listed $503 million in income just for 1987."
  Complaint, P 67.  The Court can discern no reference to CSI in this passage.
 Rather, the passage specifically identifies another Scientology entity, as
 distinguished from CSI.  The Court explicitly rejects the suggestion that the
 statement must refer to CSI because all references to all Scientology entities
 are necessarily of and concerning CSI.  CSI has failed to allege a reasonable
 connection between itself and the alleged libel.  See Mullenmeister, 587
 F.Supp. at 872.  Thus, paragraph 67 fails to allege a statement of and
 concerning CSI.
  Thus, the Court has determined that the allegations in paragraphs 40, 45, 52,
 and 58 are sufficiently pleaded to withstand the instant motion to dismiss the
 complaint for failure to state a cause of action upon which relief can be
 granted.
                                   CONCLUSION
  For all the foregoing reasons, the motion of defendants Time Warner, Inc.,
 Time Inc. Magazine Co., and Richard Behar for dismissal of the complaint
 pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure hereby is
 denied.
  SO ORDERED

End of file...