Frank Report is covering the federal lawsuit, Sarah Edmondson et al., against Keith Raniere et al.
It has been called the NXIVM lawsuit; some call it the Glazer lawsuit after attorney Neil Glazer, who orchestrated it before the criminal case against Keith Raniere began.
The matter is before US District Court Judge Eric Komitee. It is going through the motions, the principal two being motions to dismiss by some of the defendants and a motion by the plaintiffs to keep the identities of nine plaintiffs shielded from the public.
There are 70 plaintiffs.
The Substance of the Matter
The lawsuit, Sarah Edmondson et al., against Keith Raniere et al., might be more accurately titled: Camila, Daniela, and Nicole et al., against Clare and Sara Bronfman, et NON al.
I write “et non al” because of the 15 defendants; four are corporations without assets, nine defendants have little to no assets, and two have about $500 million.
Therefore, this lawsuit is about holding two sisters, Clare and Sara Bronfman, liable for the damages alleged by all 70 plaintiffs.
If the Bronfman sisters, or at least one of them, cannot be held liable, there is no lawsuit since the object of it is to collect money.
Efforts at Anonymity Has Shifted
In trying to preserve the anonymity of nine plaintiffs, the identities of the other plaintiffs have been released.
A few weeks ago, the NXIVM case had only ten fully identified plaintiffs. The other 60 were identified by first names only or by numbered Jane and John Does.
It became a matter of strategy for the lawyers for the plaintiffs, led by Glazer, to pick and choose which plaintiffs should fight to keep anonymity. In civil lawsuits, plaintiffs do not usually enjoy the same level of anonymity that victims of certain crimes do in criminal cases.
Most of the plaintiffs would not get anonymity in a criminal case. The majority of plaintiffs, some 44 of 70, are claiming that they took NXIVM courses as their primary claim. By the nature of the company’s alleged bad faith and fraudulent practices, they were damaged financially and psychologically. Of the 44, all but nine are also claiming that they worked as volunteers, for which they should have been compensated. The lawsuit does not specify what their free labor was. However, unlike some other plaintiffs, these 35 are not claiming it was forced labor.
As Judge Komitee pointed out, there appear to be two separate lawsuits. The plaintiffs felt they were deceived into taking classes distinct from a smaller group with various claims.
The larger group’s claims, Judge Komitee said, seem to resemble a consumer fraud lawsuit. In contrast, the allegations made by women who claimed abuses such as sex trafficking, forced labor, and rape, primarily associated with the secret sorority of DOS, form a separate lawsuit.
Perhaps a third group might fall in the middle, who were not exploited sexually but have more complicated claims than merely taking a class or two and being consequently damaged.
Attorney Glazer understood that not everyone who wished to remain anonymous could expect to remain anonymous and that the consumer fraud plaintiffs should not have that expectation.
The argument that the paying for and attending classes, alleging it was sold with fraudulent intent and brazen deception, is not so prejudicial to plaintiffs’ reputations that it trumps the public’s right to know.
It was, at first, the strategy of the legal team that all plaintiffs who wanted anonymity should have it. But cases evolve as they proceed. A sober analysis of the remarks of the judge, particularly his comment about there being two cases, may have led to a change in strategy.
Rather than a motion for the judge to rule that all who wish for anonymity should get it, which might result in the judge either accepting the argument or rejecting the argument resulting in everyone being named, or conceivably, deciding to parse which plaintiffs should have anonymity, and which should not, Glazer chose to determine which plaintiffs should seek anonymity.
He chose to limit the motion for anonymity, and the majority of plaintiffs who had been anonymous were given a choice to drop out of the lawsuit or stay in and be named.
Several dropped out but most chose to remain and be named.
This changed the number of plaintiffs seeking anonymity from 60 to nine.
However, these nine, which include the sisters, Camila and Daniela, plus Nicole, the woman the jury in the Raniere criminal case found had been sex trafficked by Raniere, plus five other DOS women, have claims that, if they prevail, will likely result in an award larger than the other plaintiffs added together.
However, the challenge of the case is to be able to tie the Bronfman sisters to claims that relate to the conduct of the penniless and incarcerated Raniere.
Of the nine plaintiffs seeking anonymity, in addition to Camila, Daniela and Nicole, are two women identified as Jane Does and six by first names only. The sole man in this group is Adrian. He is anonymous because he is the brother of Camila and Daniela and to reveal his last name is to reveal theirs.
From the start, there were ten who never sought anonymity. Sarah Edmondson, Anthony Ames, Mark Vicente, Bonnie Piesse, Jessica Joan Salazar, Tabitha Chapman, Toni Natalie, Ashley McLean, and Ana Ceclia.
Ceclia has dropped out of the lawsuit.
Judge Komitee has yet to decide whether the nine will have anonymity throughout the case. He made a temporary order that until the arguments are heard, the parties are not to disclose the names of the nine plaintiffs.
The defendants, of course, are all named.
Dr. Danielle Roberts,
And four corporations:
- NXIVM Corporation,
- Executive Success Programs, Inc,
- Ethical Science Foundation,
- First Principles.
.The names of 70 plaintiffs are Second Amended Complaint:
- Sarah Edmondson,
- Toni Natalie
- Jane Doe 8
- Jane Doe 9,
- Mark Vicente,
- Jessica Joan Salazar,
- India Oxenberg,
- Bonnie Piesse,
- Tabitha Chapman,
- Ashley McLean,
- Anthony Ames,
- Maja Miljkovic,
- Allison Rood,
- Lindsay MacInnis,
- Owen Giroux,
- Elham Menhaji,
- Ariella Menashy,
- Warne Livesey,
- Katie Shaw,
- Tanya Hubbard,
- Soukiana Mehdaoui,
- Nils MacQuarrie,
- Philip Akka,
- Yan Huang,
- Veronica Jaspeado,
- Susan Pratt,
- Sarah Wall,
- Chad Williams,
- Rod Christiansen,
- Anthony Madani,
- Ken Kozak,
- Shayna Holmes,
- Isabella Constantino,
- Margot Leviton,
- Susan Wysocki,
- Jennifer Kobelt,
- Caryssa Cottrell,
- Andrea Hammond,
- Jeffrey Goldman,
- Rosalyn Cua,
- Madeline Carrier,
- Deanne Brunelle,
- Sara Lim,
- Stephanie Fair-Layman,
- Scott Star,
- Brieanna Fiander,
- Alejandro Balassa,
- Kayla Grosse,
- Michelle Neal,
- Gabrielle Gendron,
- Ashley Harvey,
- Palema Cooley,
- Susan Patricia Vieta,
- Polly Green,
- Karla Diaz Cano,
- Paloma Pena,
- Christopher Black,
- Robert Gray,
- Rees Alan Haynes,
- Adrienne Stiles,
- Hannah Vanderheyden,
- Juliana Vicente.
The plaintiffs are asserting various claims, and these include:
- sex trafficking
- human trafficking,
- forced labor,
- malicious abuse of legal process,
- “unauthorized human research,”
- intentional infliction of emotional distress,
- negligence per se,
- gross negligence,
- failure to report rape or other sexual assaults,
- claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act