Clare Bronfman’s lawyers have filed an extensive motion to dismiss the civil lawsuit, Edmondson et al vs. Keith Raniere, et al.
Her attorneys are Craig C. Martin, Sara T. Horton and Jeffrey B. Korn of Willkie Farr and Gallagher and Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr., who represented Clare during her disastrous sentencing hearing, where she got triple the sentencing guidelines, largely because of her sentencing memorandum wherein she expressed to Judge Nicholas Garaufis that she remained steadfast and loyal to Keith Raniere.
The allegations in the civil lawsuit are contained in the First Amended Complaint – which is 217 pages, with 1,020 numbered paragraphs.
Bronfman and 10 other individual defendants [plus four entities] are accused of:
(2) RICO Conspiracy
(3) Sex Trafficking
(5) Forced Labor
(6) Human Trafficking
(8) Unlawful Conduct
(9) Unauthorized Practice of Counseling
(10) Aiding & Abetting, Conspiracy
(11) Malicious Abuse of Legal Process
(13) Negligence Per Se
(14) Gross Negligence & Recklessness
(16) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Changing Number of Plaintiffs
During the lawsuit, there have been a changing number of anonymous plaintiffs who seek Bronfman money for injuries they allege they incurred by being part of NXIVM and/or DOS.
Seventy-nine anonymous plaintiffs signed onto the original complaint. When the First Amended Complaint (FAC) was filed a year later, it listed 70 anonymous plaintiffs.
As it stands on the FAC, there appear to be 58 Jane and John Doe plaintiffs, eight first-name-only plaintiffs, and 10 fully-named plaintiffs for a total of 76.
However, it may be less than that now.
Since the FAC was filed, at least 10 plaintiffs have dropped out.
They are: Ana Cecelia, Jane Does 51, 13, 23, 26, 33, 55, and John Does 2, 16 and 17.
In the FAC itself, the allegations are varied.
Plaintiffs bring individualized allegations.
Plaintiffs allege in identical language that they enrolled in and paid for NXIVM curriculum and performed unspecified, uncompensated labor.
Nine Plaintiffs allege in identical language that they enrolled in and paid for NXIVM curriculum.
One Plaintiff makes no allegations at all.
The presiding judge, Eric Komitee noted at the October 15, 2021 status hearing that there may be two different lawsuits: a sexual assault case [DOS] and a consumer-fraud case [NXIVM].
Bronfman’s lawyers point out, “many Plaintiffs engaged in the same conduct which they now allege caused them harm. The crucial fact that distinguishes most Plaintiffs from Defendants is a purported change of heart and, most obviously, a desire to seek monetary gain from [the Bronfmans].”
Her attorneys further argue that “Clare Bronfman had little to nothing to do with most of the accusations.”
Her attorneys write, “Plaintiffs do not plead any sexual relationships or sexual conduct related to the women … Clare Bronfman allegedly assisted in recruiting to be sexual partners for Raniere.”
In fact, “the FAC is bereft of allegations tying Clare Bronfman to the bulk of the alleged events in question. Plaintiffs, nonetheless, levy a multitude of claims against her, lumping her in with ‘all Defendants’ for certain claims…”
Clare Bronfman presently is serving an 81-month sentence at the Philadelphia Detention Center.
Ironically, this is the city of residence of the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, Neil Glazer.
Meanwhile, Sara is reportedly in Portugal, living with her husband, Basit Igtet, and their two children, along with a retinue of servants.
Clare’s lawyers were quick to point out that NXIVM was a positive force in the world.
“NXIVM was a 20-year-old company with more than 17,000 past students from 33 countries, which sought to inspire joy in people’s lives independent of religion or politics…. NXIVM’s goal was to help people live more ethical lives and create a more humanitarian society.
“All of that is ignored in service of Plaintiffs’ goal of converting their own participation and leadership in NXIVM into a claim for money damages.”
Her lawyers continue, “It is difficult to imagine how Clare Bronfman—or the other Individual Defendants— could mount a coherent defense to the sprawling allegations here, which also include inflammatory statements irrelevant to the allegations against Defendants generally… and against Clare Bronfman specifically…”
The FAC includes Clare Bronfman as a Defendant in 9 of the 15 counts.
Her attorneys argue, “The FAC, however, fails to substantiate Clare Bronfman’s involvement in the alleged misconduct with specific factual allegations. For example, 35 Plaintiffs allege identical boilerplate claims based on enrollment in NXIVM or uncompensated labor ‘for the benefit of the Defendants,’ with no mention of Clare Bronfman.
“… Plaintiffs also devote more than 60 paragraphs of the FAC to detailing the history and inner workings of the highly secret organization DOS. … While Plaintiffs attempt to rope Clare Bronfman into their sex-based claims in Counts I, II, and III, they do not allege that Clare Bronfman was a part of DOS or even knew about its existence before it became public, nor do Plaintiffs allege that Clare was involved in or aware of any sexual activities related to Camila, Daniela, or any other Plaintiff.
“… In sum, the FAC’s massive length and persistent vagueness as to Clare Bronfman—coupled with its repeated reliance on group pleading—leave it far short of the minimum pleading standard…
“Although Plaintiffs baldly assert that One Asian, TEN C, and exo/eso were intended to be used to ‘recruit and groom suitable female candidates for sexual servitude to Raniere,’… Plaintiffs do not allege that any sexual relationships, acts, abuse or servitude occurred in the context of these entities or its recruits….
“The FAC therefore should be dismissed with prejudice as to Clare Bronfman in its entirety.
“35 Plaintiffs do not mention anything about Clare Bronfman or offer anything more than generic assertions of harm unconnected to Clare Bronfman. An additional 13 Plaintiffs make individualized allegations (such as to DOS or RCG) but never mention Clare Bronfman….
“Accordingly, none of these 58 Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries was proximately caused by Clare Bronfman.
“With respect to the former, Plaintiffs have not pleaded any facts that Clare Bronfman was even aware of any coercive sexual conduct. As such, the FAC fails to allege that Clare Bronfman participated in any purported coercive sex enterprise, and a RICO claim operating under this theory fails as to her. Nor have Plaintiffs adequately pleaded an enterprise based on consumer-fraud claims because the FAC does not allege that Defendants shared a common goal of defrauding Plaintiffs through a particular course of conduct….
“Plaintiffs do not state any times or dates when the allegedly fraudulent statements were made…. Plaintiffs do not specify any allegedly fraudulent statements, stating only that emails, text messages, and court papers contained ‘false and misleading statements.’…
“Nor do Plaintiffs ‘provide some minimal factual basis for conclusory allegations of scienter that give rise to a strong inference of fraudulent intent’ as to Clare Bronfman.
“Plaintiffs must ‘either (1) alleg[e] a motive for committing fraud and a clear opportunity for doing so’ (although allegations that a defendant was motivated by economic gain are insufficient) ‘or (2) identify circumstances indicating conscious behavior by the defendant.’
She Stands By Her Man
The motion to dismiss continues, “Plaintiffs have not provided a factual basis for conclusory allegations that Clare Bronfman acted with any fraudulent intent. In fact, as Plaintiffs note, Clare Bronfman continues to stand by Raniere…. Clare Bronfman’s sincere belief in NXIVM illustrates that she did not and could not have had any fraudulent intent. Further, Plaintiffs’ allegations that Clare Bronfman donated millions to NXIVM and NXIVM-related entities, further belies any suggestion of an intent to defraud.
“Moreover, Plaintiffs do not ‘identify any statements made by [Clare Bronfman] that were fraudulent, much less the dates and the times those statements were made or the identities of the recipients.’”
And it concludes: “CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint should be dismissed as to Clare Bronfman pursuant to Rules 8, 9(b), 12(b)(1), and 12(b)(6).”
Perhaps the most interesting parts of the motion are the charts.
I would guess this motion cost a minimum of $150,000.
Let us see how well it fares.