FFR is reviewing the February 1 hearing in the civil lawsuit, Sarah Edmondson et al., vs. Keith Raniere et al. This is part #6.
The first three focused on the financial targets of the suit, Clare and Sara Bronfman. The fourth dealt with Nicki Clyne, a defendant used to tie in Bronfman’s conduct with the NXIVM/DOS enterprise.
The 5th part dealt with how the complaint, which spans more than 200 pages and involves more than 70 Plaintiffs alleging 14 causes of action, is a shotgun complaint, where all plaintiffs accuse all defendants of all harms without distinguishing who did what to whom.
Judge Eric Komitee pointed out this is legal grounds for dismissal and discussed whether he would dismiss the complaint, but allow the plaintiffs to correct their complaint or dismiss with prejudice, and the case is over.
It seems he concluded he would offer the plaintiffs a chance to write a proposal on how they would revise their complaint to veer from shotgun.
The other defendants are Keith Raniere, Kathy Russell, Allison Mack, Danielle Roberts, and Brandon Porter. Raniere, Mack, and Russell are not mounting a defense. Clyne, Porter, and Roberts represent themselves pro se.
PT #1 Hearing: Motions to Dismiss in Edmondson v Raniere: Clare Bronfman RICO
Part # 2 Motion to Dismiss: Plaintiffs Allege Clare Bronfman Responsible for Raniere’s False Claims About Himself, Teachings
Part #3 Motion to Dismiss: Judge Tests Whether Complaint Has Enough to Keep Sara Bronfman in Lawsuit
Part #4: Judge Considers Dismissing Trafficking Claim Against Clyne; Compares Herself to Edmondson & Camila
Dismissal #5: Judge Says ‘Shotgun’ Complaint Unfair to NXIVM Defendants; May Dismiss Lawsuit
Judge Komitee read an 11th Circuit case dismissed because it was a shotgun.
“The amended complaint is an incomprehensible shotgun pleading. It employs a multitude of claims and incorporates by reference all of its factual allegations into each claim, making it nearly impossible for Defendants and the Court to determine with certainty which factual allegations give rise to which claims for relief. At 28 pages long… and having incorporated all 123 paragraphs of allegations into 16 counts, it is neither short nor plain.”
Judge Komitee pointed out that the 11th circuit case’s dismissed complaint at 28 pages was about one 10th the length of the NXIVM complaint.
THE COURT They [11th Circuit] conclude by saying “this is why we have condemned shotgun pleadings time and time again. And this is why we have repeatedly held that a district court retains authority to dismiss a shotgun pleading on that basis alone.”…
Maybe that the right thing is for me [is to] dismiss without prejudice…. but we would have to be solving problems like the shotgun pleading problem… this complaint is so long and the changes [needed] are so substantial… which we would seek…in an amended complaint…
The judge then veered to the forced labor complaint….
William E. Hoese, Esq. of Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C. of Philadelphia spoke to this issue, which requires serious harm forcing the individual to perform labor.
HOESE:… the threat of serious harm is… the threat of release of collateral. And the complaint alleges that before people are induced… to become members of DOS, they were asked to give collateral, which was financial credit card authorizations… naked photographs, videos, letters.
THE COURT:… I understand there’s a threat to release the collateral…. that is a threat of serious harm. The 2nd Circuit said so in Raniere. I think that’s the law of the case. I don’t think… anybody’s disputing that. I think the question… is the Defendants threatened to release the collateral if what? And where is that in the complaint?… I’m not sure they said ‘if you don’t keep working for us for free, or below minimum wage… then we’re going to release the collateral,’ or maybe they did. But my question is the threat to release the collateral is predicated on what condition?
HOESE: My understanding was that –
THE COURT: I don’t want to hear your understanding, I’m sorry. I want the paragraph in the complaint.
HOESE: No, that’s fair, Your Honor. In the complaint… it says that the collateral is given… as a sign of loyalty to DOS and that the threat was that if you were disloyal or disavowed your vow, that you would have committed some kind of breach under NXIVM rules.
THE COURT: If you disavowed your vow?
HOESE: Yes, well, it was also called a vow, Your Honor.
THE COURT: But what’s the vow? The vow is to provide free labor?
HOESE: The vow was… to submit to a position as a slave to another woman in this organization, and essentially to be at their beck and call to do what they said, whenever they said it, and not to disobey.
And if you disobeyed, then… the stick was that “we would release this collateral.” Because if you think about it, Your Honor, why else would you have someone write a letter saying… true or false, ‘I was abused by someone in my family,’ and give that to somebody? It’s not the world I live in. But the threat was that again, if you were disloyal that this could be released. And that’s the serious harm.
THE COURT:… So you’re saying that the collateral becomes both a source of the coercion for the commercial sex act at the heart of Count 3(a) [sex trafficking] and it is also the threat of serious harm that is used to procure the labor or services that are the heart of Count 3(b)? [forced labor]
HOESE: I agree with that, Your Honor….
THE COURT: Okay, but so the collateral is serving two purposes at least there?
THE COURT:… But where [in the complaint] does it say that this collateral was used specifically to extract labor and specifically to coerce people into commercial sex acts? …Because you’ve got two paragraphs in here where people [Jane Doe 7 and Jane Doe 8.] actually say “I’m leaving”…. do you allege as to both that the collateral is in fact released for that violation of the vow?
HOESE: We don’t, Your Honor.
THE COURT: As to neither?
HOESE: As to neither.
THE COURT: Okay.
HOESE: However, I’d hasten to add that there was the threat of the release of the collateral, not the actual release of the collateral after the fact.
THE COURT: Okay, so then where is the threat described in those specific terms as a threat designed to coerce free labor or commercial sex acts….
HOESE: Paragraph 781. And I think this applies to more than just Ms. Clyne. “NXVIM used a concept known as collateral to enforce with the creators of DOS some sort of ethical conduct. Under Raniere’s teachings, a person who is honorable and they were trying it uphold his word should be happy to collateralize his word in a demonstration of good faith.”…
THE COURT: There’s a step in the logic that I think you need to make, which is you’re collateralizing your word and part of your word was ‘I’ll work for free. I’ll engage in commercial sex act.’… Where is the allegation that that is part of what we mean when we say quote unquote his word?
HOESE: Well, let me draw the Court’s attention to paragraph 787. “Most importantly, collateral was the key to get admission into DOS. Recruits were required to provide deeds to property and confidential information about themselves, family members, or employers, who were encouraged to lie if the information provided was not scandalous enough to merit Raniere’s approval.” That’s more towards the serious harm….
THE COURT: Is there anywhere in here [the complaint] where somebody’s threatened, “hey, if you stop working for free, providing this ‘slave labor,’ we will release your collateral’ such that we know that the collateral is serving that purpose in the forced labor context?… That ‘you’ll either provide labor or engage in the commercial sex acts, [or] the collateral will be released.’
MR. HOESE: … with respect to Ms. Clare Bronfman … certain Plaintiffs and others wrote to her and others explicitly describing the collateral and beseeching her and others for its return.
THE COURT:… I’m not questioning that this is extraordinarily sensitive and painful for anybody who finds themselves in that position…. I just want to understand the extent to which the linkage is made explicit or whether it remains implicit that… the reason people provided the labor… and the commercial sex acts alleged is that that was caused…by the collateral.
HOESE:… I think it’s inferential… why would I write to one of the inner circle, and beseech them to return this material if I wasn’t operating under the belief that it was going to be released?…
THE COURT: I’m not questioning that they had a legitimate concern that the collateral would be released, but… those [forced labor] services have to be obtained by means of the use of the threat of serious harm… I’m just trying to understand if it’s sort of an inference…. or if it says here somewhere explicitly… Victim X only did this work that was referred to as slave labor because she had provided collateral and was concerned about its release or Victim Y, who engaged in what we’re calling commercial sex acts in this case did so only because or in part because she was concerned about the release of the collateral….
Aarthi Manohar Esq. of Kohn Swift & Graf, answered the question.
MANOHAR:… paragraph 802… states “recruits have expressed interest in joining DOS were again required to submit collateral to become members. Once they became members the ‘slaves’ were routinely required to provide more collateral with the understanding that if they ever attempted to leave… or failed to comply with the expectations of them as slaves including the demands for more collateral, the collateral already provided would be released.” The expectation of the slaves would be that they would be performing labor.
THE COURT: Yes, and doing everything their masters told them, correct.
MS. MANOHAR: Correct.
THE COURT:… I think that’s what was what I was looking for. Okay. All right, Ms. Clyne, do you want to be heard on the forced labor predicate act?
CLYNE: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Just briefly.
CLYNE: Just quickly, [paragraph] 171 says “as a result of” capital D “Defendants criminal acts, misrepresentations and omissions, Jane Doe 8 was emotionally and financially harmed” and then same thing, [paragraph] 172, “performed uncompensated labor working for many hours without compensation for the benefit of the Defendants.” Again, I’m not clear if that’s supposed to be for me, or if the implication is that because she’s in DOS, now she’s performing labor for Sarah Edmondson at the Vancouver Center…. Because I was never involved in, you know, her life in Vancouver. So I’m not clear as to if that’s a general allegation or if I’m included.
THE COURT: Okay.
CLYNE: Or if it’s specific to me.
THE COURT: Yeah, well, the [Plaintiffs] are going to put in a letter that tells me whether or not they wish to amend the complaint to add additional specifics. And that would be something they’ll tell us they do or do not want to clarify.
Stay tuned for Part #6, where we hear from Danielle Roberts and Brandon Porter.
Is it common that they get to amend their complaint when there’s clearly holes in their complaint to begin with? Why do they get this opportunity instead of just tossing it out?
There is case law both ways. When you have a shotgun complaint, the judge can dismiss and kill the lawsuit period, and they can appeal it.
On the other side, you have the right to have your day in court. The complaint may be fixable, so that every defendant knows exactly what they are defending against – this will be difficult for the plaintiffs since the only ones with money are Bronfmans. And many plaintiffs have a thin tie to Bronfmans.
The key to the case is tying Bronfman’s financing of the whole thing to the harm the whole thing created. This is different than a shotgun. The judge was also clear – the complaint must be shorter than its present 200-plus pages.
Civil suits are not always about money. Please see Taylor Swift being awarded $1. 00
Or many other similar cases.
Would love to see any civil case money that is awarded donated to appropriately helping others. This case may very well only be about the money.
And many of these defendants absolutely deserve to be compensated. But again civil suits are not always about money.
Oftentimes they’re just about holding people accountable. In the case of this cult many people walked away held unaccountable.
And before Kevin shows up to argue who did what to whom in a worse way…Every defendant in the civil case has the right to file their own civil case if they truly feel that they were victimized by the plaintiffs in this civil case.
And if they do feel victimization then they should do just that. And file their own civil complaint.
But they won’t. Because the dead-enders know that this case is not about money.
Claire could settle. She has the money. In the end it could cost less than lawyers
It’s about trying to prove that the civil case getting thrown out means Keith is innocent. Which it won’t prove. It won’t prove that about any of the convicted dead-enders either.
And if the current civil suit defendants filed their own civil suit – what they’re really afraid of will happen. And that is a lot more court discovery and a lot of having to swear to things that they know they do not want drug into the light.
Because after all that has been repeatedly stated most of the civil defendants have no real assets.
If I were an innocent person and nobody had anything they could really take from me and I wasn’t paying for lawyers I would welcome my day in court and Iwoukd desperately want every piece of information that I felt was relevant and important and unknown brought into a courtroom and properly combed through.
But that’s not how you behave when you have a lot to hide. And that is what trying to get the civil case thrown out is really about. And trying to bolster claims that Keith is innocent.
Please see Susan Dones for an example of how an innocent person behaves in a courtroom while defending themselves. And though she would rather have not been dragged through litigation, now she is so stoked that she proved them wrong and defended herself in a court of law. That is how an innocent person would approach a case where they had nothing to lose. And in Susan’s case she did lose a lot through begatious litigation of the Nxivm cult.
I agree with you about Susan. But the nxivm civil lawsuit is about money and the dozen lawyers working on it are not doing this on principle.
That does not mean I condemn them for seeking money. It only means that the lawyers are not in it for social Justice.
That’s OK. NXIVM was never about principle or helping people either. It was about making money and was just an MLM scam that ripped people off.
Thank you for your response. I would never presume to know what anyone in the civil case is being motivated by but the lawyers I would assume are just doing the job they were hired to do. In terms of the plaintiffs who knows what all of their motives are because there are so many of them. Maybe some of them legitimately feel that dragging the remaining loyalists into court will make them face reality? Again who really knows? But it is very insincere for people who are on the defending side of the civil suit to clean that they are the ones victimized if they truly believe that they could file their own civil suit. People do it all the time.
Going back some way I found this in FR:
Part 1: Branded Slaves and Master Raniere; Sources: Human branding part of Raniere-inspired women’s group
June 5, 2017
“Several women close to Mr. Raniere have defected from his group [DOS] revealing some of his hidden teachings and secrets of his personal life. This has caused egregious financial harm to Mr. Raniere, according to court documents filed in lawsuits Mr. Raniere has brought against former followers.”
I’m just wondering whether the Bromfmans knowingly financed these lawsuits, and if this could be proven, a direct link between the Bromfmans and DOS might be established?
That was my story that broke DOS to the world for the first time. I think that story informed Clare and Sara about the existence of DOS. I don’t think the link was established before I exposed DOS but during the next four months until the New York Times came out the bronfmans especially Clare tried to intimidate my sources Including Sarah Edmondson
Frank, did your source steal money from the company, as Clare alleged in her police report?
Is it common for criminal racketeering enterprises to take their gripes with their enemies to the local police station?
Many thanks, Frank – just seen this now. I think it’s telling that Clare would try to intimidate Sarah under the circumstances, and though not dispositive, is perhaps probative at least.
In answer to Kevin, I would point out that it was Keith’s and Sarah’s MO to involve the authorities in legal action against former employees over a number of years. I believe the countless boxes of cash found in Nancy’s quarters, as well as the illegal residency status of countless immigrants, certainly suggests a degree of criminal racketeering to my mind.
They should have had the judge wrote their complaint. THE COURT:…” So you’re saying that the collateral becomes both a source of the coercion for the commercial sex act at the heart of Count 3(a) [sex trafficking] and it is also the threat of serious harm that is used to procure the labor or services that are the heart of Count 3(b)? [forced labor]”
It’s like a teacher giving the student the answers.
Twilight of the Idols: Philosophizing with a Hammer meets Lawyering with a Shotgun.
Vanguard is dead, and we have killed him.
I must say that Nicki played her hand beautifully with the zing of Sarah and Jane 8 working for her in Vancouver – very clever and highlighted the hypocrisy of the whole suit.
Yes. Raniere is proud of his inner circle slave who has managed to evade all responsibility and consequences as others are in prison.
She learned well from her master.
A “Grandmaster” using blackmail to control slaves?
We’ve heard of that schtick before somewhere.
Grandmasters and blackmail don’t rule the future of our world wherever good and great judges have a say.
“… MANOHAR:… paragraph 802… states “recruits have expressed interest in joining DOS were again required to submit collateral to become members. Once they became members the ‘slaves’ were routinely required to provide more collateral with the understanding that if they ever attempted to leave… or failed to comply with the expectations of them as slaves including the demands for more collateral, the collateral already provided would be released.” The expectation of the slaves would be that they would be performing labor.
THE COURT: Yes, and doing everything their masters told them, correct. …”
Reading this series, its clear that the court has zeroed in on the same problems as us couch faux-legal eagles pinpointed – not all the defendants should be charged with everything. There is at least three separate grouping (if not more) that should have been engaged with some being in one or all three – fraud related to the NXIVM courses, all things related to DOS (and this area could even be broken down further, and the sisters. This is compounded by multiple plaintiffs also deserving to be defendants in the case as currently established such as Sarah and other leaders.
There was a definite shotgun approach as its clear the plaintiffs lawyers were not expecting to be contested on that and unintentionally backed themselves against a wall in their ability to defend the shotgun. While unlikely to happen, they would have been better off trying to get Clyne and other defendants on board so this was Rainiere/Bronfmans vs everyone else.
Don’t get me wrong, Clyne’s infatuation with Raniere is such that is she was asked to rape, kill, abuse, fraud, etc. by her god, I have no doubt she would have done it. But Keith’s obvious indifference beyond her role as basically his secretary and available hole when horny oddly protected her from much of what the lawsuits are about.
Its clear the FBI, the lawyers, NXIVM participants, its leaders and even all the DOS documentaries participants consider her an afterthought. Only reason she is still a part of all this is because she insists on defending her hero and his BS. I suspect Clyne on the stand would just be an absolute gift to the plaintiffs when the lawyers successfully bait her to go all in on defending Keith and DOS. Only reason she is doing well here is because she isn’t actually being asked to defend anything, just being asked to respond with “nope, don’t get why I am part of this aspect of the case” and she isn’t really wrong on this.
Having said all that, still don’t see an outright dismissal. The judge might strongly suggest they remove some defendants from the case or narrow their focus, otherwise certain aspects of attack would not be allowed. A revision of the lawsuit is probably in the future which will likely kick the civil case another six months to a year down the line.
“Clyne’s infatuation with Raniere is such that if she was asked to rape, kill, abuse, fraud, etc. by her god, I have no doubt she would have done it.”
I’m not so sure. She was definitely under his thrall, but I believe she had her own ‘ethical’ code and deep down was not comfortable with some of the worst practices, particularly the ‘seduce Keith’ assignments. I do agree though that she would crack under cross examination, and end up delivering for the plaintiffs, assuming the claims against her are not dismissed with prejudice, which I think is distinctly possible.
Didn’t Clare finance a house in Nicki’s name to use for DOS? The one for which the cages and dog collars and paddles were ordered (then canceled) for the proposed DOS dungeon?
Seems like a pretty straight line
Actually, I think it was Rosa Laura Junco, one of the first line, who bought the house for them to use as a sorority house.
Grandmaster Vanguard was a fan of Scientology.
L. Ron Hubbard was a fan of Aleister Crowley’s “O.T.O.”
Aleister Crowley was a British spy and a Freemason.
Was the NXIVM sorority house in which mind control, abuse, hazing and secret oaths an “Executive Success” project in the same way Masonic Temples help “brothers” achieve success in business and industry around the world?
Of course not.
Read what Emily Tomko wrote in her article, “Christians and Greek Life: Should I Pledge a Fraternity or Sorority?”:
“… Greek Letter Organizations (GLO) are often affiliated with pagan gods (idolatry), and their practices often bear a relationship to Freemasonry, Illuminati, or witchcraft, all of which have occult origins. Elements frequently found in some of these secret societies are:
Mind control – manipulation through rules and tactics which are meant to strip individuality and rebuild with loyalty to brotherhood or sisterhood
Abuse – demeaning things said (word curses) as well as physical or sexual abuse
Hazing – initiation rituals that shame, incriminate, and even endanger the lives of those pledging
Pledges/Oaths – Vowing physical harm over one’s self if secrets are ever disclosed (self-proclaimed curse); some pledges invoke pagan gods/goddesses …”
Wasn’t the “Master Over Slave Women” secret sorority designed to advance success of DOS members?
The Neurolinguistic Programming was mind control.
The sleep and food deprivation was abuse.
The brand on the pelvis was hazing.
The monthly collateral for blackmail were to silence and oppress.
The torture chamber was for what, exactly?
On February 4, 2018, about a month before the police found Vanguard the Grandmaster hiding in a closet in a Mexican villa, this showed up in an article in the Guardian:
“… Then on New Year’s Eve, the outgoing chair of the Police Federation, Steve White, tossed a hand grenade into this carefully crafted reputation management operation, with an allegation that Freemasons were blocking reforms in policing and thwarting the progress of women and officers from black and minority ethnic communities.
‘The people who blocked progress at the Police Federation were all masons,’ he said. ‘And they were all a pain in the arse’ …”
Quotes from Vanguard Raniere, the Grandmaster:
“We’re in a war here, and we’re fighting for justice.”
“But really we want our government back, and this is the war.”
“And I’m so sorry, but we’re in the war now. … No holds barred.”
February 2018 was five years ago and this Sunday, we’re going to gather in Washington, DC to peacefully fight against the kinds of wars Grandmaster Vanguard and Grandmaster Freemasons have waged for the past 2,023 years. Our Rage Against The War Machine is a non-violent organization.
We don’t condone blackmail, threats, branding, secret rituals, torture or war.
Here’s the list of our demands so far:
“Not One More Penny for War in Ukraine
The Democrats and Republicans have armed Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars in weapons and military aid. The war has killed tens of thousands, displaced millions, and is pushing us toward a nuclear WW3. Stop funding the war.
The US instigated the war in Ukraine with a coup on its democratically-elected government in 2014, and then sabotaged a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine in March. Pursue an immediate ceasefire and diplomacy to end the war.
Stop the War Inflation
The war is accelerating inflation and increasing food, gas, and energy prices. The US blew up Russian gas pipelines to Europe, starving them of energy and deindustrializing their countries. End the war and stop increasing prices.
NATO expansion to Russia’s border provoked the war in Ukraine. NATO is a warmongering relic of the Cold War. Disband it like the Warsaw Pact.
Global Nuclear De-Escalation
The war in Ukraine has brought us to the edge of WW3 and nuclear war with Russia. US intelligence agencies estimate a one in four chance of nuclear war, which would plunge the world into nuclear winter and kill almost all life on Earth. Adopt a no-first-strike nuclear policy. Drawdown nuclear weapons worldwide.
Slash the Pentagon Budget
Half of the federal discretionary budget goes to Pentagon. The military budget is $857 billion per year, and the Pentagon just failed its fifth straight audit. The Pentagon can only account for 39 percent of its $3.5 trillion in assets. Cut the military budget in half and return those funds to the American people.
Abolish the CIA and Military-Industrial Deep State
The CIA and deep state are an unelected permanent government of intelligence agencies that run our country outside of constitutional and democratic control. They surveille Americans, manipulate the media, curtail free speech, blackmail politicians, infiltrate activist organizations, torture people, overthrow governments, and assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Abolish the CIA and deep state and restore a government of, by, and for the people.
Abolish War and Empire
War and empire subjugate billions of people around the world to enrich a small group of elites. In just the past two decades, the US has waged and backed wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Ukraine, and other countries. End all US wars and regime change. Stop all military aid to other countries. End drone strikes. Close all US military bases abroad. Bring all US troops home. Build a world that guarantees every person freedom from war and empire in place of the collapsing US hegemonic world order.
Restore Civil Liberties
Restore the constitutional liberties taken from us in the name of war and empire, including freedom of speech, the press, and assembly. End mass surveillance, repeal the Patriot Act, and restore the right to privacy and habeas corpus.
Free Julian Assange
The US is charging Julian Assange with espionage and criminalizing our right to publish information that challenges the military-industrial deep state. He is imprisoned in the UK and being extradited to the US. The CIA plotted to assassinate him for exposing US war crimes. Free Julian Assange and all political prisoners.”
It’s time for peace and love … not wars of mind control, torture, bombs and blackmail with “no holds barred”.
Thank you Frank. But the DOS slave house was in Nicki’s name? What is your theory on that decision? Please answer honestly. Why wouldn’t a person just buy a house in their own name as Rosa Laura had done previously? And let’s remind everybody that this is Rosa Laura who promised her teenage daughter to Keith.
Was it in Nicki’s name ? Testimony I recall was that Rosa Laura’s money paid for it.
Not Bronfman money.
A house was purchased (and later forfeited to the government) in Nicki Clyne’s name and it was not Nicki’s money that paid for it
And who is NOT part of criminal or civil suit.
Disgusting set up of good people as scapegoats !