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 OF CALIFORNIA, et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
                   Gerald ARMSTRONG, Defendant and Respondent.
                             Nos. B025920, B038975.
            Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 3, California.
                                 July 29, 1991.
                          Review Denied Oct. 17, 1991.
  Church sued former church worker alleging he converted confidential archive
 materials and disseminated materials to unauthorized persons, in breach of his
 fiduciary duty.  Former church worker cross-complained seeking damages for
 fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, libel, breach of contract
 and tortious interference with contract.  The Superior Court, Los Angeles
 County, Paul G. Breckenridge, Jr., and Bruce R. Geernaert, JJ., dismissed
 complaint, later settled and dismissed cross action, and ordered documents
 returned to the church and the records sealed.  Church appealed.  The Court of
 Appeal, Danielson, J., held that:  (1) successor judge's order unsealing record
 more than five years after order was sealed by his predecessor exceeded judge's
 authority, and (2) under application of conditional privilege doctrine,
 sufficient evidence supported finding that church worker's conversion of church
 documents was justified by his reasonable belief that church intended to cause
 him harm and that he could prevent the harm only by taking the documents.

 An order dismissing conversion action with prejudice, rather than an
 interlocutory order captioned "judgment" which ordered that conversion
 plaintiffs take nothing by their complaint but did not resolve cross complaint,
 was the appealable judgment in the action.

 Claim that opponent's testimony was impeached by testimony given in other
 proceeding subsequent to judgment appealed from was not cognizable on appeal.

 Successor judge's order on his own motion vacating predecessor judge's order
 sealing court records in document conversion dispute between church and former
 church member exceeded successor judge's authority where vacating order was
 entered long after time for reconsideration of sealing order had expired, and
 no showing was made other than that supporting motion for access to record by
 nonparty who was also involved with litigation with church.  West's
 Ann.Cal.C.C.P. ss 473, 1008.

 Persons seeking sealing of record on appeal had to make more particularized
 showing of need than a mere request that their pursuit of an action for
 conversion of confidential church documents, brought primarily to protect
 privacy interests in the documents converted, should not cause disclosure of
 the information they sought to protect, without any limitation to any
 particular portions of voluminous record of trial court proceedings.

 [5] TORTS
 Sufficient evidence supported finding that church worker's alleged conversion
 of confidential church archive materials when worker delivered documents to his
 attorney was motivated by worker's reasonable belief that he and his wife were
 in danger because the church was aware of what he knew about the life of its
 founder, the secret machinations and financial activities of the church, and
 worker's dedication to the truth, and thus did not subject worker to liability
 for conversion and invasion of privacy under the conditional privilege

 Sufficient evidence supported finding that church worker's alleged conversion
 of confidential church archive materials when worker delivered documents to his
 attorney was motivated by worker's reasonable belief that he and his wife were
 in danger because the church was aware of what he knew about the life of its
 founder, the secret machinations and financial activities of the church, and
 worker's dedication to the truth, and thus did not subject worker to liability
 for conversion and invasion of privacy under the conditional privilege

 Trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting documentary and
 testimonial evidence concerning history of church worker's relationship with
 church and church practices in relation to its members, former members or
 critics, where record indicated court recognized that the statements were
 admitted for the limited purpose of proving reasonableness of worker's belief
 that church intended to harm him when he converted church's documents.

 [6] TRIAL
 Trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting documentary and
 testimonial evidence concerning history of church worker's relationship with
 church and church practices in relation to its members, former members or
 critics, where record indicated court recognized that the statements were
 admitted for the limited purpose of proving reasonableness of worker's belief
 that church intended to harm him when he converted church's documents.

 [7] TRIAL
 Trial court's statement of decision in church document conversion case merely
 reflected court's findings on elements of justification defense asserted by
 church worker and did not result in miscarriage of justice.
  **918 *1063 Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman, Bowles &
 Moxon, Eric M. Lieberman, Timothy Bowles, Kendrick L. Moxon and Michael Lee
 Hertzberg, for plaintiffs and appellants.
  Gerald Armstrong, In Pro. Per.
  Toby L. Plevin, Paul Morantz and Michael L. Walton, for defendant and
  Lawrence Wollersheim, amicus curiae, on behalf of respondent.

  DANIELSON, Associate Justice.
  In consolidated appeals, the Church of Scientology (the Church) and Mary
 Sue Hubbard (hereafter collectively "plaintiffs") appeal from an order after
 appealable judgment unsealing the file in Church of Scientology of California
 v. Gerald Armstrong (B038975), and from the judgment entered in the case
 (B025920).  We vacate the order and affirm the judgment.
                          FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
  In the underlying action, the Church sued Armstrong, a former Church worker,
 alleging he converted to his own use confidential archive materials and
 disseminated the same to unauthorized persons, thereby breaching his fiduciary
 duty to the Church, which sought return of the documents, injunctive relief
 against further dissemination of the information contained therein, imposition
 of a constructive trust over the property and any profits Armstrong might
 realize from his use of the materials, as well as damages.  Mary Sue Hubbard
 (Hubbard), wife of Church founder L. Ron Hubbard, intervened in the action,
 alleging causes of action for conversion, invasion of privacy, possession of
 personal property [sic], and declaratory and injunctive relief.  Armstrong
 cross-complained, seeking damages for fraud, intentional infliction of
 emotional distress, libel, breach of contract, and tortious interference with
  With respect to the complaint and complaint-in-intervention, the trial court
 found the Church had made out a prima facie case of conversion, breach of
 fiduciary duty, and breach of confidence, and that Mary Sue Hubbard had made
 out a prima facie case of conversion and invasion of privacy.  However, the
 court also determined that Armstrong's conduct was justified, in that he
 *1064 believed the Church threatened harm to himself and his wife, and that
 he could prevent such harm by taking and keeping the documents.
  Following those determinations the court made and entered an order, entitled
 "Judgment," on August 10, 1984, [FN1] ordering and adjudging that plaintiffs
 take nothing by their complaint and complaint-in-intervention, and that
 defendant Armstrong have and recover his costs and disbursements.  Plaintiffs
 filed notice of appeal from that order.

      FN1. The "judgment" of August 10, 1984, is not included in the present
     record on appeal.  However, it is included in the petition of plaintiffs
     and appellants for review by our Supreme Court of our decision (B005912) in
     this case, filed December 18, 1986.

  [1] We dismissed the appeal (B005912) because that "judgment" was not a
 final judgment and was not appealable;  Armstrong's cross-complaint had not yet
 been resolved and further judicial action was essential to the final
 determination of the rights of the parties.  (Lyon v. Goss (1942) 19 Cal.2d
 659, 670, 123 P.2d 11.)
  Armstrong's cross-action was then settled and dismissed, the subject documents
 **919 were ordered returned to the Church, and the record was sealed by Judge
 Breckenridge pursuant to stipulation of the parties.  The dismissal of
 Armstrong's cross-action was a final determination of the rights of the
 parties, and constituted a final judgment, permitting appellate review of the
 court's interlocutory order captioned "judgment" filed August 10, 1984.
  Plaintiffs then timely filed a new notice of appeal (B025920), from the orders
 entitled "Order for Return of Exhibits and Sealed Documents" and "Order
 Dismissing Action With Prejudice," both filed December 11, 1986, and from the
 "Judgment" filed August 10, 1984, stating that the appeal was "only from so
 much of those orders and judgment which denied damages to plaintiff and
 plaintiff-intervenor" on their complaints.  We rule that the Order Dismissing
 Action With Prejudice is the appealable judgment in B025920. [FN2]

      FN2. We later granted the motion of appellant Church to deem the record on
     appeal in B005912 to be the record on appeal in B025920, which is one of
     the current consolidated appeals;  we also take judicial notice of the
     entire record in B005912.  Consequently the reporters' transcript, the
     appendices of the parties on appeal, and the parties' briefs in case No.
     B005912 are part of the record on appeal in B025920.  The parties have also
     filed briefs in B025928.

  The Unsealing Order After Judgment (B038975)
  On October 11, 1988, Bent Corydon, who is a party to other litigation
 against the Church, moved to unseal the record in this case for the purpose of
 preparing for trial of his cases.  He sought only private disclosure.  Judge
 *1065 Breckenridge having retired, Corydon's motion was heard by Judge
 Geernaert, who made an order dated November 9, 1988, which he clarified by
 another order dated November 30, 1988, which opened the record not only to
 Corydon but also to the general public, thus vacating the earlier order made by
 Judge Breckenridge.
  On December 19, 1988, plaintiffs Church and Hubbard filed a timely notice of
 appeal from those orders made after appealable judgment.  That appeal, B038975,
 is the other of the current consolidated appeals.
  On December 22, 1988, Division Four of this court issued an order staying
 Judge Geernaert's orders (1) unsealing the record and (2) denying a motion for
 reconsideration of the unsealing order, to the extent those orders unsealed the
 record as to the general public and permitted review by any person other than
 Corydon and his counsel of record.  On December 29, 1988, Division Four
 modified this stay order by adding to it a protective order prohibiting Corydon
 and his counsel from disseminating copies of or disclosing the content of any
 documents found in the file to the public or any third party, except to the
 extent necessary to litigate the actions to which Corydon and the Church were
 parties.  Corydon and his counsel were also required to make good faith efforts
 in Corydon's litigation to submit under seal any documents they found in the
 file of this case.
  On this appeal, Corydon argues in favor of the trial court's order unsealing
 the record, as he wishes to be free of the protective orders contained in the
 modified stay order issued by Division Four.
  The "Judgment" of August 10, 1984 (B025920)
  [2] Armstrong's taking of the documents is undisputed.  The evidence
 relating to his claim of justification, which was found credible by the trial
 court, [FN3] established that Armstrong was a dedicated member of the Church
 for a period of twelve years.  For ten of those years, he was a member of the
 Sea Organization, an elite group of Scientologists working directly under
 Church founder L. Ron Hubbard.  In 1979, Armstrong became a part of L. Ron
 Hubbard's "Household Unit" at Gilman Hot Springs, California.

      FN3. Plaintiffs' contention that certain testimony was impeached by
     testimony given in other proceedings subsequent to the judgment herein is,
     of course, not cognizable on this appeal.

  In January 1980, fearing a raid by law enforcement agencies, Hubbard's
 representatives ordered the shredding of all documents **920 showing that
 Hubbard controlled Scientology organizations, finances, personnel, or the
 *1066 property at Gilman Hot Springs.  In a two-week period, approximately
 one million pages were shredded pursuant to this order.
  In the course of the inspection of documents for potential shredding,
 Armstrong reviewed a box containing Hubbard's early personal letters, diaries,
 and other writings, which Armstrong preserved.
  Thereafter, Armstrong petitioned for permission to conduct research for a
 planned biography of Hubbard, using his discovery of the boxed materials.
 Hubbard approved the petition, and Armstrong, who had discovered and preserved
 approximately 16 more boxes of similar materials, became the Senior Personal
 Relations Officer Researcher.  He subsequently moved the materials to the
 Church of Scientology Cedars Complex in Los Angeles.
  Hubbard selected one Omar Garrison to write his biography.  Armstrong
 became Garrison's research assistant, copying documents and delivering the
 copies to him, traveling with him, arranging interviews for him, and generally
 consulting with him about the project.  Armstrong also conducted a genealogical
 study of Hubbard's family, and organized the materials he had gathered into
 bound volumes for Garrison's use, retaining a copy for the Church archives.
 The number of documents obtained by Armstrong ultimately reached 500,000 to
 600,000.  Within a week after commencing the biography project, Armstrong and
 Garrison began to note discrepancies between the information set forth in the
 documents and representations previously made concerning Hubbard.  Then
 Armstrong was summoned to Gilman Hot Springs, where he was ordered to undergo
 a "security check" consisting of interrogation while connected to a crude lie-
 detector called an E-meter, to determine what materials he had delivered to
 Garrison and to meet charges that he was speaking out against Hubbard.
  In November 1981, Armstrong wrote a report urging the importance of ensuring
 the accuracy of all materials published concerning L. Ron Hubbard, and relating
 examples of factual inaccuracies in previous publications.  In December 1981,
 Armstrong and his wife left the Church, surreptitiously moving their
 possessions from the Church premises because they knew that persons attempting
 to leave were locked up, subjected to security checks, and forced to sign
 promissory notes to the Church, confessions of "blackmailable" material
 obtained from their personal files, and incriminating documents, and they were
 afraid that they would be forced to do the same.  Before leaving, Armstrong and
 his wife copied a number of documents which he delivered to Garrison for his
 work on the Hubbard biography.  After leaving, Armstrong cooperated with his
 successor, assisting him in locating documents and other items.
  *1067 Commencing in February 1982, the international Church of Scientology
 issued a series of "suppressive person declares" in effect labelling Armstrong
 an enemy of the Church and charging that he had taken an unauthorized leave,
 was spreading destructive rumors about senior Church officials, and secretly
 planned to leave the Church.  These "declares" subjected Armstrong to the "Fair
 Game Doctrine" of the Church, which permits a suppressive person to be
 "tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed ... [or] deprived of property or injured
 by any means by any Scientologist...."
  At around the same time, the Church confiscated photographs of Hubbard and
 others that Armstrong had arranged to sell to one Virgil Wilhite.  When
 Armstrong met with Church members and demanded the return of the photographs,
 he was ordered from the Church property and told to get an attorney.
 Thereafter, he received a letter from Church counsel threatening him with a
 lawsuit.  In early May 1982, he became aware of private investigators watching
 his house and following him.
  These events caused Armstrong to fear that his life and that of his wife
 were in danger, and that he would be made the target of costly and harassing
 lawsuits.  The author, Garrison, feared that his home would be burglarized by
 Church personnel **921 seeking to retrieve the documents in his possession.
  For these reasons, Armstrong took a number of documents from Garrison and sent
 them to his attorney.
  Following commencement of the instant action, Armstrong was pushed or shoved
 by one of the Church's investigators.  In a later incident his elbow was struck
 by an investigator's vehicle;  still later, the same investigator pulled in
 front of Armstrong on a freeway and slammed on his brakes.  This investigator's
 vehicle also crossed a lane line as if to push Armstrong off of the road.
 Plaintiffs' position is that the investigators were hired solely for the
 purpose of regaining the documents taken by Armstrong.
  Trial of the complaint and the complaint-in-intervention was by the court
 sitting without a jury.  On August 10, 1984, the court made its order,
 captioned "Judgment," ordering that plaintiff Church and plaintiff in
 intervention Hubbard, take nothing by their complaint and complaint-in-
 intervention and that defendant Armstrong have and recover from each of them
 his costs and disbursements.
                                *1068 DISCUSSION
  The Order Unsealing The Record Must Be Reversed
  [3] "Although the California Public Records Act (Gov.Code, ss 6250 [et
 seq.] ) does not apply to court records (see s 6252, subd. (a)), there can be
 no doubt that court records are public records, available to the public in
 general ... unless a specific exception makes specific records nonpublic.
 (See Craemer v. Superior Court (1968) 265 Cal.App.2d 216, 220-222 [71
 Cal.Rptr. 193]....)  To prevent secrecy in public affairs public policy makes
 public records and documents available for public inspection by ... members of
 the general public....  [Citations.]  Statutory exceptions exist [citations],
 as do judicially created exceptions, generally temporary in nature, exemplified
 by such cases as Craemer, supra, and Rosato v. Superior Court (1975) 51
 Cal.App.3d 190 [124 Cal.Rptr. 427] ..., which involved temporary sealing of
 grand jury transcripts during criminal trials to protect defendant's right to a
 fair trial free from adverse advance publicity.  Clearly, a court has inherent
 power to control its own records to protect rights of litigants before it, but
 'where there is no contrary statute or countervailing public policy, the right
 to inspect public records must be freely allowed.'  (Craemer, supra, 265
 Cal.App.2d at p. 222 [71 Cal.Rptr. 193])  The court in Craemer suggested
 that countervailing public policy might come into play as a result of events
 that tend to undermine individual security, personal liberty, or private
 property, or that injure the public or the public good."  (Estate of
 Hearst, (1977), 67 Cal.App.3d 777, 782-783, 136 Cal.Rptr. 821.)
  "If public court business is conducted in private, it becomes impossible to
 expose corruption, incompetence, inefficiency, prejudice, and favoritism.  For
 this reason traditional Anglo-American jurisprudence distrusts secrecy in
 judicial proceedings and favors a policy of maximum public access to
 proceedings and records of judicial tribunals.  Thus in Sheppard v. Maxwell
 (1966) 384 U.S. 333, 350 [86 S.Ct. 1507, 1515, 16 L.Ed.2d 600, 613], the court
 said it is a vital function of the press to subject the judicial process to
 'extensive public scrutiny and criticism.'  And the California Supreme Court
 has said, 'it is a first principle that the people have the right to know what
 is done in their courts.'  (In re Shortridge (1893) 99 Cal. 526, 530 [34 P.
 227]....)  Absent strong countervailing reasons, the public has a legitimate
 interest and right of general access to court records...."  (Estate of
 Hearst, supra, 67 Cal.App.3d at p. 784, 136 Cal.Rptr. 821.)
  We are unaware of any showing made before Judge Breckenridge, other than
 the parties' stipulation, justifying sealing by the trial court of the record
 in this case.  However, inasmuch as the parties agreed to the sealing in
 December of 1986, and no third party intervened at that time to seek
 *1069 reconsideration or review of the court's order, the order became final
 long before Corydon intervened in the action almost two years later.
  **922 In Greene v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. (1990) 224 Cal.App.3d
 1583, 274 Cal.Rptr. 736, the court stated at page 1588, 274 Cal.Rptr. 736:
 "The power of one judge to vacate an order duly made by another judge is
 limited.  In Fallon v. Superior Court (1939) 33 Cal.App.2d 48, 52 [90 P.2d
 858] ... we issued a writ of prohibition restraining a successor law and motion
 judge from vacating an order of his predecessor, stating, 'Except in the manner
 prescribed by statute a superior court may not set aside an order regularly
 made.'  In Sheldon v. Superior Court (1941) 42 Cal.App.2d 406, 408 [108 P.2d
 945] ... the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District annulled the order of
 one probate judge which vacated the previously made order of another probate
 judge appointing an administrator, stating 'that a valid order made ex parte
 may be vacated only after a showing of cause for the making of the latter
 order, that is, that in the making of the original order there was (1)
 inadvertence, (2) mistake, or (3) fraud.'  Even more on point, in Wyoming
 Pacific Oil Co. v. Preston (1958) 50 Cal.2d 736, 739 [329 P.2d 489] ... the
 California Supreme Court reversed the order of a second judge dismissing an
 action under former [Code of Civil Procedure] section 581a for failure to make
 service of process within three years, after a first judge had found as a fact
 that the affected defendant was concealing himself to avoid service of process,
 quoting Sheldon.  [Citation.]"  (Fn. omitted.)
  In Greene, supra, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Donald McCullum
 issued general order 3.30, in which he found it impracticable, futile, or
 impossible to bring certain cases, including Greene, to trial within the
 applicable five-year limitation period (Code Civ.Proc., s 583, subd. (b)),
 and extended the deadline for bringing those cases to trial.  Thereafter, Judge
 Richard Bartalini, to whom the case was assigned for trial, dismissed the
 action, on motion of the defendants, for failure to bring it to trial within
 five years.  The court stated, "[D]efendants were, in effect, asking Judge
 Bartalini to focus on the particular facts of the case and, in light of those
 facts, to rethink Judge McCullum's order and to see whether he agreed with it.
 No statutory authority exists for such a request, and Judge Bartalini erred in
 granting it.  [Citations.]  General order 3.30 could 'not be set aside simply
 because "the court concludes differently than it has upon its first
 decision." '  [Citations.]"  (Greene v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co.,
 supra, 224 Cal.App.3d at p. 1589, 274 Cal.Rptr. 736.)
  In our case, Corydon intervened in the action between plaintiffs and
 Armstrong, seeking access to the sealed record for the limited purpose of
 preparing his own cases involving the Church.  Judge Geernaert, on his own
 motion, vacated Judge Breckenridge's order sealing the record.  The time had
 *1071 long since expired for reconsideration of Judge Breckenridge's order
 (Code Civ.Proc., s 1008), or relief therefrom pursuant to Code of Civil
 Procedure section 473, and the parties had the right to rely on the sealing
 order.  No showing was made other than that supporting Corydon's motion for
 access to the record. [FN4]  We hold Judge Geernaert exceeded his authority in
 vacating Judge Breckenridge's order sealing the record. [FN5]

      FN4. Plaintiffs do not challenge Corydon's access to the record, stating
     in their brief:  "Corydon's access must continue to be limited by the
     conditions imposed thus far by this court's Modified Temporary Stay
     Order....  He sought access only for use in private litigation against the
     Church;  this court's order, which permits him to use the information he
     obtains only in said litigations and only after making a good faith effort
     to have it introduced under seal, is appropriately tailored to meet his
     asserted need without unnecessarily invading appellants' privacy."
     Pursuant to the stay order issued by Division Four, Corydon has had the
     desired access since December 22, 1988, and the issue is moot as to him.
     He now seeks in this court more than he sought by his motion in the trial

      FN5. Armstrong, who did not participate in the hearing on the motion
     below, has filed a brief claiming the record should be unsealed because the
     Church has failed to comply with the terms of its settlement agreement with
     him.  His declarations to the latter effect are not properly before us on
     this appeal, as they were not considered by the trial court.  We therefore
     consider neither the meaning of the portions of the settlement agreement to
     which he refers nor the question whether the Church has complied therewith.
     We are also in receipt of an amicus curiae brief of Lawrence Wollersheim,
     who urges unsealing of the record based on reasons of public policy.
     Wollersheim's argument is directed primarily to the documentary exhibits
     lodged in the underlying case.  Those documents have been returned to the
     Church in accordance with the terms of the settlement agreement.

  **923 The Record On Appeal Is Not Sealed
  There remains a question as to the effect of this appeal upon the
 sealing order.  The brief filed by the plaintiffs apparently assumes continued
 effectiveness of the order on appeal.
  In Champion v. Superior Court (1988) 201 Cal.App.3d 777, 247 Cal.Rptr. 624,
 the court referred to "an increasing trend by litigants to assume that when the
 parties stipulate below or convince the trial court of the need for
 confidentiality, no showing of need must be made in this court."  (Id. at p.
 785, 247 Cal.Rptr. 624.)  The Champion court determined to the contrary,
 stating "that a party seeking to lodge or file a document under seal bears a
 heavy burden of showing the appellate court that the interest of the party in
 confidentiality outweighs the public policy in favor of open court records.
 'The law favors maximum public access to judicial proceedings and court
 records.  [Citations.]  Judicial records are historically and presumptively
 open to the public and there is an important right of access which should not
 be closed except for compelling countervailing reasons.'  [Citation.]"  (Id.
 at p. 788, 247 Cal.Rptr. 624.)
  Plaintiffs cite Champion, claiming, inter alia, that the appellate court,
 in granting the motion to seal in that case, stated it was "influenced by the
 parties' agreement to the procedure and by the lower court's sealing
 of its records."  The quoted language appears at page 786, 247 Cal.Rptr. 624
 of the decision, and refers to the court's initial response to requests to seal
 received in connection with the petition, opposition, and amici curiae
 requests.  Later, after receiving "rebuttal briefs, rebuttal declarations,
 reply to amici, declarations in reply to amici, and supplemental
 declarations," (Champion v. Superior Court, supra, 201 Cal.App.3d at p. 786,
 247 Cal.Rptr. 624) resulting in a file containing "some sealed documents, some
 public documents, and many documents not yet designated as sealed or public,"
 (ibid.) most of which blended together discussions of confidential and
 public materials, as well as requests to seal all of the documents without any
 explanation of why any of the documents deserved such treatment (ibid.), the
 court stated, at page 787, 247 Cal.Rptr. 624, "it is apparent that we acted
 precipitously in granting the earliest, unsupported, requests to seal documents
 lodged or filed in this matter."  While the court did ultimately grant the
 application to seal the entire file, it did so because of the confusion and
 undue complication and delay that would be caused by return of the documents
 for segregation into public and confidential portions.  (Id. at pp. 789-790,
 247 Cal.Rptr. 624.)
  [4] In our case, plaintiffs have not formally requested sealing of the
 record on appeal.  They argue, in seeking reversal of Judge Geernaert's order
 vacating the sealing order made in the trial court, that their pursuit of an
 action brought primarily for the purpose of protecting their respective privacy
 interests in the documents converted by Armstrong should not cause disclosure
 of the very information they sought to protect, through references in the
 record to such information.  The argument is not limited to any particular
 portion or portions of the voluminous record of the trial court proceedings.
 Should plaintiffs move to seal the record on appeal, we would require a much
 more particularized showing.
  The Defense of Justification Applies To The Causes Of Action Alleged Against
 Armstrong;  The Judgment Is Affirmed
  "One who invades the right of privacy of another is subject to liability
 for the resulting harm to the interests of the other."  (Rest.2d Torts, s
 652A(1).)  "The right of privacy is invaded by [P] (a) unreasonable intrusion
 upon the seclusion of another, ... or ... (c) unreasonable publicity given to
 the other's private life...."  (Rest.2d Torts, s 652A(2).)  "The rules on
 conditional privileges to publish defamatory matter **924 stated in ss 594 to
 598A, and on the special privileges stated in ss 611 and 612, apply to the
 publication of any matter that is an invasion of privacy."  (Rest.2d Torts, s
 652G.)  Under section 594 of the Restatement "[a]n occasion makes a publication
 conditionally privileged if the circumstances induce a correct *1072 or
 reasonable belief that (a) there is information that affects a
 sufficientlyimportant interest of the publisher, and (b) the recipient's
 knowledge of the defamatory matter will be of service in the lawful protection
 of the interest."
  "Unless otherwise agreed, an agent is subject to a duty to the principal not
 to use or to communicate information confidentially given him by the principal
 or acquired by him during the course of or on account of his agency or in
 violation of his duties as agent, in competition with or to the injury of the
 principal, on his own account or on behalf of another, although such
 information does not relate to the transaction in which he is then employed,
 unless the information is a matter of general knowledge."  (Res.2d Agency, s
 395.)  However, "[a]n agent is privileged to protect interests of his own which
 are superior to those of the principal, even though he does so at the expense
 of the principal's interests or in disobedience to his orders."  (Res.2d
 Agency, s 418.)
  With respect to plaintiffs' causes of action for conversion, "[o]ne is
 privileged to commit an act which would otherwise be a trespass to or a
 conversion of a chattel in the possession of another, for the purpose of
 defending himself or a third person against the other, under the same
 conditions which would afford a privilege to inflict a harmful or offensive
 contact upon the other for the same purpose."  (Res.2d Torts, s 261.)  "For the
 purpose of defending his own person, an actor is privileged to make intentional
 invasions of another's interests or personality when the actor reasonably
 believes that such other person intends to cause a confinement or a harmful or
 offensive contact to the actor, or that such invasion of his interests is
 reasonably probable, and the actor reasonably believes that the apprehended
 harm can be safely prevented only by the infliction of such harm upon the
 other.  (See s 63.)  A similar privilege is afforded an actor for the
 protection of certain third persons.  (See s 76.)"  (Res.2d Torts, s 261, com.)
  We find no California case, and the parties cite none, holding that the above
 described privileges apply in this state. [FN6]  We **925 believe the trial
 *1073 court appropriately adopted the Restatement approach respecting
 conditional privilege.  (See 5 Witkin, Summary of Cal.Law (9th ed. 1988)
 Torts, s 278, p. 360;  Gilmore v. Superior Court (1991) 230 Cal.App.3d 416,
 421, 281 Cal.Rptr. 343.)

      FN6. No purpose would be served by our engaging in an exhaustive
     discussion of each of the points asserted by plaintiffs.
     For example, plaintiffs misconstrue the decision in Dietemann v. Time,
     Inc. (9th Cir.1971) 449 F.2d 245.  The Dietemann court stated:
     "Privilege concepts developed in defamation cases and to some extent in
     privacy actions in which publication is an essential component are not
     relevant in determining liability for intrusive conduct antedating
     publication."  (Id. at pp. 249-250.)  The question in that case was
     whether the defendant, whose employees gained entrance to plaintiff's home
     by subterfuge and there photographed him and recorded his conversation
     without his consent, was insulated from liability by the First Amendment
     because its employees did these acts for the purpose of gathering material
     for a magazine story which was thereafter published.  The case has nothing
     to do with the justification asserted herein.  Pearson v. Dodd
     (D.C.Cir.1969) 410 F.2d 701, is similarly inapposite.
     Discussing the privilege of an agent set forth in section 418 of the
     Restatement, plaintiffs point to the last sentence of comment b, which
     reads:  "So, too, if the agent acquires things in violation of his duty of
     loyalty, he is subject to liability for a failure to use them for the
     benefit of the principal."  This language has reference to the initial
     sentence of the comment:  "If the conflict of interests is created through
     a breach of duty by the agent, the agent is subject to liability if he does
     not prefer his principal's interests."  In the present case, the conflict
     was created by the plaintiffs, who threatened Armstrong with harm.
     Referring to comment b to section 396 of the Restatement Second of Agency,
     which has to do with the use of customer lists in unfair competition,
     plaintiffs urge that even if Armstrong was privileged to verbally report to
     others information he gained in his capacity as an agent of the Church, he
     would not be privileged under any circumstances to retain or disseminate
     Church documents.  They also urge, based on cases which are inapposite to
     that at bench, that the justification defense applies only in emergency
     situations requiring immediate action to avert danger, or where the agent
     believes that the principal's documents are the fruits or instrumentalities
     of crime or fraud.  The court found, on substantial evidence, that
     Armstrong was under a reasonable apprehension of danger when he delivered
     the documents to his attorney.  More was not required.

  [5] In its statement of decision the court found Armstrong delivered
 the documents in question to his attorney "... because he believed that his
 life, physical and mental well-being, as well as that of his wife, were
 threatened because the organization was aware of what he knew about the life of
 L. Ron Hubbard, the secret machinations and financial activities of the Church,
 and his dedication to the truth.  He believed that the only way he could defend
 himself, physically as well as from harassing lawsuits, was to take from Omar
 Garrison those materials which would support and corroborate everything that he
 had been saying within the Church about L. Ron Hubbard and the Church, or
 refute the allegations made against him in the April 22 Suppressive Person
 Declare.  He believed that the only way he could be sure that the documents
 would remain secure for his future use was to send them to his attorneys, and
 that to protect himself, he had to go public so as to minimize the risk that L.
 Ron Hubbard, the Church, or any of their agents would do him physical harm."
 The court's findings were substantially supported by the evidence adduced at
  Admission of Documentary and Testimonial Evidence Over Appellants' Objections
 Did Not Result In A Miscarriage of Justice
  Armstrong's defense was predicated on his claim that he reasonably believed
 the Church intended to cause him harm, and that he could prevent the
 apprehended harm only by taking the documents, even though the taking resulted
 in harm to the Church.
  [6] *1074 Plaintiffs complain of the trial court's admission of
 documentary and testimonial evidence concerning the history of Armstrong's
 relationship with the Church, and certain practices of the Church in relation
 to its members, as well as its former members and/or critics.  The record is
 replete with statements of the court's recognition of the limited purpose for
 which the complained of statements were properly admitted, i.e., to prove
 Armstrong's state of mind when he converted the Church's documents.  These
 statements are referenced in Armstrong's briefs, and acknowledged by
  Plaintiffs complain that certain testimony of defense witnesses was
 irrelevant, as there was no showing that Armstrong was aware of the facts to
 which the witnesses testified.  The testimony in question was largely
 corroborative of Armstrong's testimony with respect to Church practices
 affecting his state of mind, and was relevant to the issue of the
 reasonableness of his belief that the Church intended to cause him harm.
  [7] Plaintiffs complain, finally, that the trial court's statement of
 decision shows the court improperly considered the evidence admitted for the
 limited purpose of establishing Armstrong's state of mind.  We are satisfied
 the complained of comments reflect the court's findings on the elements of the
 justification defense asserted by Armstrong, and that neither the admission of
 the evidence nor the court's comments resulted in a miscarriage of justice.
 (Cal. Const., art. VI, s 13.)
  The judgment is affirmed.  The order vacating the order sealing the
 record in the trial court is reversed.  Each party to bear its own costs on
 this appeal.

  KLEIN, P.J., and HINZ, J., concur.

End of file...