Summary Judgement on Plaintiff's False Imprisonment Claim

Pinellas County, Florida, 20 June 2001


        IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
            IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY, STATE OF FLORIDA
                        GENERAL CIVIL DIVISION

DELL LIEBREICH, as personal
Representative, of the ESTATE OF LISA
McPHERSON,
  Plaintiff; Case No. 00-5682-CI-11
    Division 11
VS.
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY FLAG
SERVICE ORGANIZATION, JANIS
JOHNSON, ALAIN KARTUZINSKI and
DAVID HOUGHTON, D.D.S.,

Defendants.

AND RELATED COUNTERCLAIM./

ORDER OF SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON PLAINTIFFS' FALSE
IMPRISONMENT CLAIM.

The Defendants Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization ("the 
Church") and Alain Kartuzinski ("Kartuzinski") (collectively "the 
defendants") moved this Court pursuant to Rule 1.510, Florida Rules of 
Civil Procedure, for an entry of summary judgment against plaintiff on 
Count III of the Fifth Amended Complaint, the False Imprisonment count. 
Having heard argument of counsel and being otherwise fully advised in the 
premises, the Court finds as follows:

I.        FINDINGS OF FACT

        1.    Lisa McPherson "joined Scientology at the age of 18" in 
1982. "Thereafter

she became a Sea Org member.., then quit and later became a public 
participant." (Fifth Amended Complaint,  13.)
2. . Lisa McPherson's continuing commit/nent to Scientology is shown by 
letters she wrote to fi/ends several weeks or even days before her 
automobile accident on November 18, 1995. (Ex. 5, 11/12/95 Letter to Robin 
Rhyne; Ex. 6, 11/9/95 Letter to Laura Betterly); (Ex. 7, 11/4/95 Letter to 
Robin Rhyne; Ex. 22, 10/21/95 Letter to D. Cook; Ex. 23, 9/2/95 Letter to 
Robin Rhyne).
3.    Lisa "was a dedicated Scientologist." She participated in a "wide 
variety" of Scientology religious courses and services, initially at a 
local church in Dallas, and then later at the Flag Service Organization 
after she moved to Clearwater in 1993 with her employer, the AMC Publishing 
Company. (Ex. 8, Bennetta Slaughter Afl., at  6 and 8.)
4.    Throughout her life as a Scientologist, Lisa McPherson contributed 
her time and energy to charitable and community projects sponsored by the
Scientology church organizations with which she was affiliated in Dallas 
and Clearwater. (Id. at  8.)
5.    Plaintiff Dell Liebreich, Lisa's aunt, conceded that Lisa 
was "devoted to

Scientology," that Lisa "loved Scientology," and that Lisa was "happy with 
Scientology."
i
(Ex. 9, Dell Liebreich Depo., May 16, 1997 at p. 112:14-25; Ex. 10, Dell 
Liebreich

Depo., May 24, 1999 at pp. 227:23-25; 228:1-2.)

2
 
6.    Another of Lisa's aunts, Ann Carlson, testified that Lisa 
was "devoted to her religion" (Ex. 11, Ann Carlson Depo., May 24-25, 1999 
at pp. 10:21-24;129:22-24; 130:9-11.)
7.    Lisa's uncle, Sam Davis, testified that Lisa was a Scientologist her 
entire adult life. (Ex. 12, Sam Davis Depo., May 25, 1999 at pp.12:23-25;
13:1-3.)
8.    It is a fundamental belief of the Scientology religion that matters 
concerning the mind, including mental states, conditions, and problems, are 
exclusively of a spiritual nature, and that modem psychology and psychiatry 
improperly intrude upon the purview of religion. Indeed, Scientology 
scripture contains an absolute prohibition upon all forms of psychological 
and psychiatric treatment, based upon the bedrock belief that such 
treatments cause substantial spiritual damage, and that mental problems 
should be addressed only by Scientology religious practices. (Ex. 13, Reiss 
Afl., at  44 and 51.)
9.    Specific Scientology religious practices exist to provide spiritual 
assistance to those experiencing mental problems or conditions. (Ex. 13, 
Reiss Afl., at  44 and
51.)

10. Scientology uses its own terminology to define various mental 
conditions. One purpose of this terminology is to avoid any confusion with 
other fields that may be describing similar behavior, but attributing it to 
other than spiritual causes. One such term is "PTS Type III." (Id. at  47 
and 51.)
11. Scientology scripture states that a person experiencing a PTS Type III

3
 
condition is considered to be "psychotic." According to Scientology 
scripture, a Type III may carry on absurd conversations with himself, 
become violent toward others and become self-destructive. He may believe he 
is surrounded by demons, or that he is somewhere else (or many other places 
all at once), or that he is somebody else (or many other persons all at 
once) (Id. at  51.)
12. Scientology scripture describes the specific steps to be used to bring 
spiritual relief to an individual experiencing this spiritual condition. It 
calls for, inter alia, isolation, rest, quiet, sleep, food and water, 
vitamins and minerals. Once these steps create a calm atmosphere in which 
spiritual counseling may take place, specific religious counseling 
procedures are set forth. (Id at  52.)
13. The principal religious practice set forth in Scientology practice for 
the PTS Type III condition, as described above in paragraph 11, is known as 
the Introspection Rundown. (Id. at  53-55.)
14. Scientologists believe that going to a mental hospital or getting
psychiatric treatment is a "crime" and that being committed to a mental 
institution is even worse. (Ex. 14, Plaintiff's Response to David
Houghton's Request for Admissions, No. 15.)

						
  15. Plaintiff's witness, Jesse Prince, testified as follows:
Q:        You believed that when one had a mental problem or a psychological problem, as a Scientologist you believed in spiritual treatment as opposed to psychiatric treatment, you believed that, didn't you? A: Yes, I did. 4
     Q: Okay. And you - and you accepted that as a
    fundamental belief of Scientology when you
    were a Scientologist, right?
A: Yes, I did. (Ex. 15, Jesse Prince Depo., Nov. 17-18, 1999 at p. 495:5-14.) 16. Another of Plaintiff's witnesses, Vauglm Young, testified that Scientologists do not believe in psychiatric treatment and that the worst thing that could happen to a Scientologist would be to be conunitted to a mental hospital. Specifically:
       Q: The fact of the matter is - is that Scientologists
    do believe that going to a mental hospital or
    getting psychiatric treatment is a bad thing,
    don't they? Scientologists believe that?
A:        Worst than bad, a crime. :g :g :g Q:        For someone that believes in Scientology and the technology of Scientology, there is probably nothing that would be worse that that person could do .than to go to a psychiatrist, correct?
  A: I'll give you one more notch down. That would
    be committed to a mental institution.
(Ex. 16, Vaughn Young Depo., Dec. 21-22, 1999 at pp. 64:6-10; 483:6-12) (emphasis supplied). 17. Lisa McPherson's personal antipathy to psychiatrists and psychiatric treatment was consistent with that of her fellow Scientologists (Ex. 8, Slaughter Afl., at 8; Ex. 17, Brenda Spencer Depo., March 16, 2000 at pp. 279:8-25; 280:1-8.) 18. On numerous occasions Lisa expressed to her close friend and confidante, Bennetta Slaughter, her repugnance that she would ever be treated by a psychiatrist. (Ex. 8, Slaughter Afl., at ~ 8.) 19. Lisa also stated to Brenda Spencer her view that spiritual distress that was manifesting itself as mental illness should be dealt with through the Scientology religion. (Ex. 17, Spencer Depo., March 16, 2000 at pp. 283:11-25, 284:1-10.) 20. Lisa volunteered substantial time with the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights ("CCHR"), an organization established by Scientologists to expose what they perceived to be the abuses of psychiatry. (Ex. 8, Slaughter Afl., at 8; Ex. 17, Spencer Depo., March 16, 2000 at pp. 280:12- 25; 281:1-25.) 21. Lisa McPherson received several awards and recognitions for her work on behalf of CCHR. For example, in 1993 she received a formal Commendation "for her activities in supporting the Citizens Commission On Human Rights in their ongoing efforts to eradicate psychiatric abuse of human rights." (Ex. 18.) 22. During the summer of 1995, Lisa McPherson participated in Scientology religious services at the Fort Harrison retreat to help her when she suffered fxom a mental condition. (Ex. 19, Bennetta Slaughter Depo., March 15, 2000 at pp. 134:24-25, 135:1-6, 186:5-9, 186:24-25, 187:1-19; Ex. 17, Brenda Spencer Depo., March 16, 2000 at pp. 284:13-22; Ex. 20, Supplemental Reiss Afl., at 3.) 23. Lisa McPherson told Katie Chamberlain that when she stayed at the Fort Harrison during the summer of 1995, she "was taken care of very well and that the end 6 result was very exciting for her and she loved it." (Ex. 21, Katie Chamberlain Depo., March 17, 2000 at p. 99:7-16.) 24. On October 21, 1995, Lisa wrote a letter to Debbie Cook, a senior Church official, stating: I have a stack of"thank you" letters that have been growing on my desk to people (your staff) who I have wanted to acknowledge for their help over this past year during my journey through the "black hole". I'm sure you have seen many people straggle as they move up the bridge. What I experienced was the worst struggle I have ever encountered this lifetime (and I grew up in a pretty rambunctious neighborhood). THANK GOODNESS I WAS NOT ALONE IN THIS STRUGGLE AT FLAG. I was surrounded by your incredible staff .... THANK YOU ALL FOR HELPING TO SAVE MY LIFE! ...I know one thing from all of this that will protect me and keep me from the black hole again: if we only do JUST EXACTLY what LRH [L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology] has written and NOTHING ELSE it will all come out all right. Being a professional Scientologist carries a huge responsibility as all staffposts do. I intend to do all I can to help clear this planet. Thank you for contributing to me and for pushing me through to a done. I will do this with others now I promise you! I LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU VERY VERY MUCH~ (Ex. 22, emphasis in original.)
  25. Lisa wrote a letter dated September 2, 1995 to a friend,
stating:         You will never believe the level of care and service I've         received at Flag. I'm ready to go on tour and tell the world         how anything CAN BE HANDLED! Although the last         several months are still sort of blank for me ! can tell you the         days ahead will be much brighter and I'll keep you posted on 7         my progress. The Deputy Sr C/S [Alain Kartuzinski] is         auditing me - can you believe it?!? I barely can - these guys         are something else. Who do you know that should come to         Flag? I'1I help get them here. (Ex. 23, emphasis in original.) 26. On October 17, 1995, Lisa wrote a letter to a friend in Dallas in which she stated: "Aside fxom the few remains of a soon to be gone nuisance, psyches [psychiatrists], the world is very bright fxom where I sit." (Ex. 24.)
  27. On November 4, 1995, Lisa reiterated her views to her
friend:         We are taking the psyches [psychiatrists] down fast and it's         great to watch. Of course the next thing though is handling         all the mess they've created. What dev-t Ia distraction], we         should have been busier (me included) so this is what         happens when we don't all put our shoulders together like         LRH said we could to handle this. (Ex. 7.) 28. Plaintiffhas belatedly submitted an affidavit of Jesse Prince, dated April 4, 2000, which purports to be a summary and analysis of Lisa McPherson's so-called "auditing" files, which purportedly contain records of her confidential communications to her Scientology ministers at the Church, during the period February - August, 1995, as well as of "ethics" interviews with representatives of her employer, AMC, during the same period. This Court has concluded that the Prince affidavit is inadmissible. Even if the Court were to have considered the Prince affidavit, however, it fails to create a triable issue of controverted fact on any issue relevant or material to the instant motion, for the following reasons: 8 a. The summaries of Lisa McPherson's alleged communications reveal only that Lisa McPherson on several occasions may have questioned the value of her religious experiences; may have had suicidal thoughts; may have been unhappy with aspects of her life; and may have been unhappy and dissatisfied with her employer and her job. b. Such expressions are typical of many religious experiences, as set forth in the affidavit of Frank Flinn, a noted religious scholar. As Professor Flinn notes, the essence of religious experience often includes doubt and questioning as to the basis of one's faith, and the meaning and value of life and existence. (Ex. 90, Affidavit of Professor Frank Flinn of May 6, 2001.) Even if Lisa McPherson expressed the thoughts that Prince attributes to her, that would provide no basis to conclude that Lisa McPherson had chosen to abandon her commitment to Scientology. c. This is particularly tree because the expressions that Prince attributes to Lisa McPherson were made prior to Lisa McPherson's unambiguous expression of continuing commitment to the Scientology religion, during the months of September, October, and November, 1995, as set forth in paragraphs 2, 23-27, ante; of her continuing participation in Scientology practices and activities up to the date of her accident, as set forth in paragraphs 2-4, ante; and of plaintiff's concessions in her deposition, as set forth in paragraph 5, ante.
  d. Prince's statements that Lisa McPherson wanted to leave or
abandon
      9
her religious commitment to Scientology are merely Prince's own argumentative conclusions; they are not supported by even his own summaries of the communications reflected in her auditing and ethics files. Accordingly, they are not evidence, and they certainly do not create a controverted question of material fact. 29. On November 18, 1995, Lisa McPherson spent "a good part of the day" with her employer, Bennetta Slaughter, distant fxom the Fort Harrison preparing props for a Church charity project, Winter Wonderland. (Ex. 8, Bennetta Slaughter Afl., at 9.) 30. At about 1:00 p.m. that afternoon, Lisa left the place where she was working on the props, accompanied by her friend, Katie Chamberlain, to go "driving down to Dunedin ... to pick up some things for Winter Wonderland inexpensively ..." (Ex. 21, Katie Chamberlain Depo., March 17, 2000 at p. 133:9-15.) Katie and Lisa then picked up some food and vitamins at a grocery store and went to Lisa's apartment for lunch. (Id., p. 134.) Afterwards, Katie left Lisa at Lisa's apartment, where Lisa was going to take a nap. (Id., p. 134:17-21.) Katie left Lisa at about 3:30 p.m. (Id., p. 135:10-11.) 31. Later in the afternoon, Bennetta Slaughter, Lisa's friend and employer, picked Lisa up at her apartment and drove Lisa to the AMC office so Lisa could pick up her Jeep. Lisa was driving the Jeep to Bennetta's home to borrow a book when she had her traffic accident. (Ex. 19, Bennetta Slaughter Depo., March 15, 2000 at pp. 234:20-25, 235:1-25, 236:1-2.) 10 32. Lisa had not been staying at the Fort Harrison retreat at all that day prior to her traffic accident. (Ex. 25, Arthur Baxter Afl., at 5 and 7; Ex. 26, Glen Stilo Afl., at 3 and 4.) Arthur Baxter was the Security Chief at the Fort Harrison. It was he who arranged for Lisa's accommodations at the Fort Harrison after she was released from Morton Plant Hospital on November 18th. A "caretaker log" that purportedly shows that Lisa was at the Fort Harrison on November 18th as early as 2:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. was prepared by Susanne Sclmurrenberger Greene on November 19th. Susanne Schnurrenberger Greene mistakenly wrote the date of November 18 on the report. (Ex. 27, Susanne Schnurrenberger Greene Afl., at 2.) As previously noted, the uncontroverted evidence is that Lisa McPherson was with Katie Chamberlain between 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on November 18, 1995. ( 30, ante.) 33. Plaintiff objected to this Court's consideration of the Greene affidavit (Ex. 27), on the ground that plaintiff was surprised by the affidavit when defendants fled it in support of this motion on April 12, 2001, claiming that plaintiff had no opportunity to take the deposition of Susanne Schnurrenberger Greene. In fact, Ex. 27 was first filed in this Court, in unsigned form, on April 4, 2000, and was filed in connection with the instant motion on April 12, 2001. Plaintiff has never attempted to depose Greene, and never made a motion under Rule 1.510(f) to continue consideration of this motion so that he could take her deposition. Indeed, plaintiff still has not sought to take the deposition } of Ms. Greene. At the heating on this motion on May 9, 2001, plaintiff apparently withdrew any objection to the admissibility of the affidavit. (Transcript at 159-60.) 11 34. The Court finds that it is uncontroverted that Lisa McPherson was not at the Fort Harrison retreat until after her accident and after her release from Morton Plant Hospital on November 18, 1995. 35. At the scene of the accident, Lisa removed her clothing and began walking naked in the street. (Ex. 28, Emergency Medical Report; Ex. 14, Plaintiff's Response to Houghton's Request for Admissions, No. 26.) 36. Emergency Medical Service personnel who had responded to the accident transported Lisa by ambulance to the emergency room at Morton Plant Hospital (Ex. 28, Emergency Medical Report; Ex. 14, Plaintiff's Response to Houghton's Request for Admissions, No. 27.) 37. Contrary to the argument made by plaintiff's counsel at the hearing on this matter (Transcript at 165), Lisa did not ask to go with the paramedics to Morton Plant Hospital. Rather, it took the paramedic about a half hour to persuade her. Lisa "didn't want to go... [she said] No. No. No." (Deposition of B. Portolano, filed by plaintiff on April 6, 2000, p. 61:17- 25.) 38. One of the first medical professionals to attend to Lisa McPherson at Morton Plant Hospital was Registered Nurse Kimberly Brennan. Nurse Breunan had three years experience. (Ex. 29, Brennan Depo., June 22, 2000 at p. 6.) 39. Brennan first saw Lisa when Lisa was being transferred from an EMS i stretcher onto one of the emergency room beds at Morton Plant Hospital. (Id. at p. 7:18- 25.) 12 40. Brennan met with Lisa alone and asked Lisa questions to evaluate her condition. She determined that Lisa was "alert and orient[ed] to time, place and position." (Id. at 13:2-25.) Lisa was "coherent," "cognizant," knew "where she was," and "what day it was." (Id.) Brennan felt that Lisa was "competent to make a decision as to whether to stay or not." (Id. at pp. 18:23-19:3.) 41. Dr. Flyma A. Lovett, an experienced physician who was board certified in emergency medicine, was on duty when Lisa McPherson wasbrought to the Morton Plant Hospital emergency room. (Ex. 30, Lovett Depo., November 18, 1997 at pp. 5:10-12, 20-21; 7:20-23; Ex. 14, Plaintiff's Response to Houghton's Request for Admissions, Nos. 28 and 29.) 42. When Dr. Lovett first introduced himself to Lisa, she said, "I just didn't want to come to the hospital but they've made me come to the hospital." (Ex. 30, Lovett Depo., November 18, 1997 at pp. 10:25; 11:1-5; Ex. 14, Plaintiff's Response to Houghton's Request for Admissions, No. 30.) 43. Each lime Dr. Lovett spoke with Lisa, she told him "IT]his is my problem, not your problem." (Ex. 30, Lovett Depo., November 18, 1997 at p. 17:23-25.) 44. Dr. Lovett conducted a physical examination of Lisa McPherson and found "nothing wrong." (Id. at p. 11:17-21); (Ex. 14, Plaintiff's Response to Houghton's Request for Admissions, No. 31.) 45. During the physical examination, Nurse Brennan received word that Lisa had visitors. (Ex. 29, Brennan Depo., June 22, 2000 at p. 16:8-13.) Nurse Brennan asked 13 Lisa "would she like a visitor and she said yes." (Id. at p. 16:13- 15.) "They introduced themselves as being her friends from the Church of Scientology ... [a]nd [Lisa] told [Brennan] that as well." (Id. at p. 16:19- 23.) Lisa "recognize[d]" her visitors, she seemed "comfortable with them" and "happy to see them." (Id. at p, 44:12-19.) "She didn't seem upset with them at all." (Id. atp. 44:20-21.) She did not "appear to be afraid at all." (Id. atp. 21:15-16.) 46. Joe Price, a certified psychiatric nurse working in psychiatry for approximately 30 years (Ex. 31, Price Depo., June 12, 2000, at pp. 6:13-16 and 7:4-10), was also on duty at the Morton Plant Hospital on November 18, 1995. (Id. at p. 14:23-25; Ex. 14, Plaintiff's Response to Houghton's Request for Admissions, No. 32.) 47. Price was called to the emergency room and found Lisa there with visitors whom "[s]he described.., as friends from the congregation." (Ex. 31, Price Depo., June 12, 2000, atp. 18:15-17.) 48. Price performed a psychiatric consultation with Lisa consisting of a standard mental status exam. (Id. at pp. 23:10-25:13.) Price had performed hundreds of mental evaluations prior to performing Lisa's mental evaluation in 1995. (Id. at p. 42:21-25.) 49. After his evaluation, Price consulted with Dr. Lovett and Dr. Nabil Dajani, the psychiatrist who was on call. (Id. at pp. 22:14-23:9); (Ex. 14, Plaintiff's Response to Houghton's Request for Admissions, No. 35.) Price indicated to them that Lisa was neither suicidal nor homicidal. (Ex. 30, Lovett Depo., November 18, 1997 at p. 25:14- 14 22; Ex. 31, Price Depo., June 12, 2000, at pp. 22:20-23:9; Ex. 14, Plaintiff's Response to Houghton's Request for Admissions, No. 34.) 50. Lisa told Price that her fellow Scientologists at the hospital were "my friends from the congregation" and stated to him: "I want to go home [with] my friends from the congregation." (Ex. 32, Morton Plant Hospital report by Joseph Price.) Nurse Price testified "[s]he didn't want to be there. She didn't want to be in the hospital." (Ex. 31, Price Depo., June 12, 2000, at p. 24:5-6.) 51. Dr. Lovett asked Price to go back to Lisa's room and speak to Lisa out of the presence of her friends "to make sure that what Lisa McPherson wanted was to leave the hospital with her friends ... from the congregation." (Id. at pp.27:25-28:8.) Price asked Lisa "specifically Was she feeling like she was being forced or was she frightened by the fact that these people were there with her, and she said no." (Id at p. 26:18- 25.) "[I]n a roundabout way'' Price inquired whether Lisa wanted to leave the Church. She said, "No, I don't want to leave [the Church.] I want to be with my friends from the congregation." (Id. at p. 27:1-11.) According to Price, "[s]he wanted to leave the hospital. She didn't want to leave her friends." (Id. at p. 27:12-15.) 52. When Price initially spoke with Lisa she informed him that she had no objection to speaking in the presence of her "friends from the congregation." Lisa McPherson did not express a desire to go with any one person, rather it was "just the group." (Id. at p. 33:7-9). During Nurse Price's private meeting with Lisa, he determined that leaving with her friends from the Church was "precisely what she wanted." (Id. at pp. 15 27:25-28:8.) At the time that Lisa made this decision she was "aware of her surroundings" and "competent." (Id. at p. 28:13-20.) He concluded in his report that Lisa McPherson had positive "ability to abstract thinking" [sic] and that Lisa's "cognition [was] intact." (Ex. 32.) According to Price, "[b]ottom line ... Lisa McPherson le[fi] the hospital willingly that evening." (Ex. 31, Joe Price Depo., June 12, 2000, at p. 32:22-24, emphasis supplied.) 53. Dr. Lovett reported to Dr. Dajani, thathe had spoken with Scientologists present at the hospital who "will watch her on a regular basis and totally assume her care." (Ex. 30, Lovett Depo., November 18, 1997 at pp. 26:18-25; 27:1; Ex. 14, Plaintiff's Response to Houghton's Request for Admissions, No. 37.) 54. Dr. Lovett told Joe Price that Scientologists would "assume [Lisa's] total care," and that two Scientologists said "there would be multiple people watching her and they would watch her 24 hours a day." (Ex. 30, Lovett Depo., November 18, 1997 at p. 27:16-25.) 55. Dr. Lovett saw Lisa "many times" that night. As he described it, 'Td go back in, go out, see how she was doing, talk to the people that were there with her, talked to Joe [Price]. My nurse [Breunan] was present." (Ex. 30, Lovett Depo., November 18, 1997 at p. 23:4-9.) While Dr. Lovett would have preferred to keep Lisa in the Hospital overnight for observation, he declined to commit her involuntarily under the Baker Act because she was not a threat to herself or others and she would be cared for by her fellow Scientologists. (Id. at pp. 26:18-27:14.) He spoke to Lisa in the presence of Nurse Price, 16 and told her "that because of what just happened, that he felt it was in her best interest to stay in the hospital overnight for observation and then go from there." (Ex. 31, Joe Price Depo., June 12, 2000, at pp. 31:22- 32:5.) Lisa, however, "didn't want to stay." (Id.)
  56. Dr. Lovett wrote in his report:
The patient does not want to stay in the hospital. Her friends at scientology will watch her twenty-four hours a day and be sure that she gets the care that they want her to have and the patient wants to have. I told them that I felt this was okay. The patient does not want to stay in the hospital, and we will not Baker Act her to do this. I spoke to Dr. Dajani on the phone. He feels the patient is not a harm to herself or to others. She cannot be Baker Acted. I will have the patient sign out against medical advice. I tom her I couM not be responsible for [her] actions, and l felt that she was able to make a rationale decision at this time. Again, the scientology group will observe her very closely and will give her whatever care that they want to do for this problem she is having. (Ex. 33, emphasis supplied.) 57. Plaintiff argues that Dr. Lovett found that Lisa was able to make a rational decision only to "go home," as opposed to a rational decision to go, for example, to a friend's or relative's home or to go to the Fort Harrison. There is no basis to attribute such an illogical opinion to Dr. Lovett; dearly, ff Lisa was able to rationally decide to go "home," she also could rationally decide to go to a home substitute. Dr. Lovett's deposition testimony that Lisa could rationally decide to go "home" can only be interpreted to mean to leave the hospital with her friends who would care for her. This is specifically the conclusion Dr. Lovett wrote in his hospital report, and that he 17 communicated to Lisa and her Scientology friends, and it is uncontroverted. 58. Nurse Brennan asked Lisa herself"do you understand you're signing out against medical advice and that you're doing this on your own free will, and she had no objection andshe signed her name." (Ex. 29, Brennan Depo., June 22, 2000 at pp. 20:19-21:5, emphasis supplied.) As Nurse Brennan testified, Lisa McPherson "willfully le[fi] the hospital," and stated that she "wanted to go... with her friends from the congregation ... the people that were at her bedside." (Iai at p. 21:3-14, emphasis supplied.) Nurse Brennan also observed that Lisa "did nor' appear to be afraid at all. (Id. at 21:15-16.) 59. The Patient's Self Release Form, executed by Lisa McPherson at Morton Plant Hospital on November 18, 1995, states: "I have been informed that it is not in my best medical interest to leave the hospital at this time and that I do so against medical advice." (Ex. 34.) The Form includes the statement: "I am leaving the hospital of my own volition." (Id.) 60. Judy Goldsberry-Webber ("JGW") was a staff member of the Church who worked in the Church's Medical Liaison Office. (Ex. 91, JGW Affidavit, 4.) As such, her job was to liaise with outside doctors, hospitals, and medical personnel on behalf of Church members and staff. 61. On November 18, 1995, JGW received a message to go tO Morton Plant Hospital because someone had been in an accident. When she arrived at the hospital, she learned that the person was Lisa McPherson. (Ex. 91, JGW Affidavit, 6.) 62. Lisa told JGW that she "wanted to leave the hospital." (Id., 8.) Lisa told 18 JGW that she "wanted to be somewhere where she could see her auditor, Alain Karmzinsh, and have peace and quiet. She wanted to see him because she had confidence in him. She also mentioned that she wanted to have some auditing..." (Id. See also Ex. 93, JGW Depo. at p. 449.) 63. JGW spoke several times with Dr. Lovett. Dr. Lovett told JGW he wanted to keep Lisa under psychiatric observation, but that there was nothing physically wrong with Lisa which would justify keeping her under medical observation. (Id., 10.) 64. Dr. Lovett told JGW he wanted to speak with Lisa alone to find out what Lisa wanted to do. (Id., 11.) After speaking with Lisa, Dr. Lovett agreed to release Lisa again~qt medical advice. He explained this to Lisa in JGW's presence. Lisa "said that she understood what Dr. Lovett was saying, but that she did want to leave the hospital and that she wanted to be with her friends from the Church." (Id., 12.) 65. Plaintiff claims that JGW testified to the State Attorney's Office that Lisa wanted to go "home," and that therefore when the Church's ministers and staff brought Lisa to the Fort Harrison it was against Lisa's will. But JGW actually told the State Attorney that JGW "assumed" that Lisa wanted to go home (JGW SAO interview filed by plaintiff on January 18, 2000, at p. 47). JGW also testified that, in any event, JGW never understood Lisa to mean that she only wanted to go "home," as opposed to some other place where she would be cared for by her friends from the Church and where she could see her minister. Thus, JGW stated, "she just wanted out of a hospital ... just get
  me home, away fxom the noise and everything When I asked her,
she said she wanted         19 to go home, meaning a generic - wanted to leave that building. She wanted rest, quiet, be able to recover from whatever it was, and to meet with her minister. And that was it. It was her desire to use Scientology ..." (Ex. 93, JGW Depo. pp. 317, 448-49.) 66. The Court therefore finds that the testimony of JGW strongly supports defendants' position that Lisa expressed her wish to leave the hospital, to go with and be cared for by her Scientology friends, to see her minister, and to receive Scientology religious services. The references to going "home" do not create a controverted issue of fact that Lisa was brought to the Fort Harrison against her will, especially given the strong and uncontroverted additional evidence that Lisa went there without objection and willingly. (See 67-71, post.) 67. As the Court has noted, Dr. Lovett specifically "told" Lisa's Scientology friends at Morton Plant Hospital that he "felt [it] was okay" for Lisa to leave the hospital so that "her friends at Scientology will watch her twenty-four hours a day and be sure that she gets the care that they want her to have and the patient wants to have." (Ex. 33, Report). 68. Plaintiff's expert, Dr. Conrad Weller, conceded that when the Church members present at Morton Plant Hospital were "told by the doctors that they were releasing her to them," these lay people had "a reasonable right to rely on what these professionals told [them]." (Ex. 35, at pp. 233-234, 175-177.) Dr. Weller testified that it would be "clear" to anyone reading the medical records that Dr. Lovett "believed that [Lisa] should go back with.., her friends" to "get the care they wanted to give her and the 20 care that the patient want[ed] to have" (Id. at pp. 170-171), and that "a layperson who is told by a doctor that a patient doesn't want to stay in the hospital [would] reasonably believe that the doctor has determined that the patient doesn't want to stay in the hospital." (Id. at pp. 172, 175 and 194.) Plaintiff's other expert, Dr. Mills, made a similar concession. (Ex. 95, Mills Depo., pp. 197-98.) 69. Upon Lisa's release, Alain Kartuzinski, Lisa's minister, asked Lisa "if it was okay with her" to go "to the Fort Harrison. She said yes." (Ex. 36, Alain Karl~!Tinski' Depo., April 26, 2000 at pp. 66:20-67:1.) Rev. Kartnzinski asked Lisa if he should drive her there or if she had her own car. Lisa said that she wanted to come with Rev. Kartuzinski so they took his car and left. (Id. at p. 75:11-75:25.)~ As plaintiff conceded in a previously filed pleading, "Lisa... agreed to go to the Fort Harrison in Kartuzinski's car." (Plaintiff's Response to Flag's Motion that Scientology is a Religion and that the Introspection Rundown is a Religious Practice (fled January 18, 2000 at p. 57)). 70. Emma Schamehorn, a Church staff member, met Lisa when she came out of the emergency room. Emma testified that Lisa was "chatting" and "glad to see us." Lisa "seemed quite pleased." (Ex. 37, Emma Schamehom Depo., November 15, 2000 at Plaintiff has challenged the admissibility of these statements under section 90.602, Florida Statutes. The Court has concluded that the statements are admissible. Moreover, plaintiff herself has submitted Mr. Kartuzinski's testimony before the State Attorney's Office where Mr. Kartuzinski said the same thing. (SAO Transcript filed by plaintiff on January 18, 2000, at p. 65:18-25.) In addition, they not only are uncontroverted, but they are completely consistent with the uncontroverted testimony of 21 pp. 18:22-19:10.) When Emma, Rev. Kmski and Lisa got in the car, Lisa said, "I'm glad you came to get me." (Id. at p. 22:9-14.) According to Schamehorn's uncontroverted deposition testimony, Lisa did not "object at all" about going to the Fort Harrison, and never expressed any reluctance about leaving the hospital, getting in Rev. Kart~zinski's car or going to the Fort Harrison. (Ex. 38, Emma Schamehorn Depo., December 7, 2000 at pp. 50:23-51:9, 51:17-25.) Schamehom testified that Lisa volUntarily went to the Fort Harrison and expressed no reluctance about going to a hotel room. (Id., atpp. 51:20-25, 53:2-19; Ex. 86, Jeanne Decuypere Afl., at 8-9.) She appeared "happy" and "coherent." (Ex. 38, Emma Schamehorn Depo., December 7, 2000 at pp. 52:23-53:1.) 71. After they arrived at the Fort Harrison, Rev. Kam~zinski saw Lisa in her room and had another conversation with Lisa. He said, "Okay. So you're here now. We are going to do some auditing, but your role right now is to eat and sleep and take vitamins and become physically able to get auditing. That's What you do." Lisa responded, "'absolutely' or 'of course' or some word that indicated she definitely agreed to that." (Ex. 36, Alain KartuT. inski Depo., April 26, 2000 at pp. 80:24-81:6.) 72. Based upon all the evidence before it, the Court therefore finds that it is Uncontroverted that Lisa McPherson did not leave Morton Plant Hospital or go to the Fort Harrison against her will. 73. Rev. Karmzinski was the person in charge of insuring that Lisa received the Emma Schamehorn, set forth in Findings of Fact No. 70. 22 proper care and service at the Fort Harrison. (Ex. 39, Kartn—inski Afl., at 4.) 74. Rev. Kartnzinski directed that Lisa be encouraged to sleep, rest, eat, drink, and receive vitamins and minerals, so that she could receive auditing. (Id. at 12.) He arranged for a Church staff member to be with Lisa at all times. (Ex. 36, Kartuzinski Depo., April 26, 2000 at p. 108:17- 20, 22-23.) 75. A few days after Lisa arrived, Karmzinski heard that Lisa was acting violently. He visited her and determined that she had "lost contact with reality" and was "babbling on and on." When he arrived she said, "Ah, Mr. Kartuzinski, you're here. Get that green psychiatrist off my back." (Ex. 36, Kaxmzinski Depo., at pp. 110:14-111:7.) He directed that two or three religious workers stay with and watch Lisa continuously, to insure that she did not hurt herself. (Id. at p. 113:6-17.) He received reports fi'om the religious workers who stayed with her, but he never received a report that Lisa wanted to leave or that she had made any effort to leave. (Ex. 39, Karmzinski Aft]. at 14, 16.) 76. Over the 17 days she was at the Fort Harrison, there were about 20 people who stayed with, watched, and/or protected Lisa at the Fort Harrison. (Ex. 39, Kam~zinski Afl., at 14.) 77. During this time period, Lisa acted in a psychotic manner and was divorced fi'om reality. (See affidavits of Kartuzinski and religious workers, Exhibits 39-56; Ex. 57, Defendant Alain Kam~zinski's 3/1/00 Request for Admissions to Plaintiff; and Ex. 58, Plaintiff's Response to.Request for Admissions, Nos. 7-20, 26-39, 45, 46, 47, 56, 57, 109, 112.) 23 78. Plaintiff concedes that during the entire time period while she was at the Fort Harrison, Lisa was "psychotic," "irrational," "unable to communicate rationally with anyone," "incapable of making rational decisions," and "unable to care for herself," and that defendants had a duty to take care of her and prevent her from harming herself. (Ex. 57, Defendant Alain Kam~zinski's 3/1/00 Request for Admissions to Plaintiff; and Ex. 58, Plaintiff's Response to Request for Admissions, Nos. 45, 46, 47, 56, 57, 109, 112, 113.) 79. According to the uncontroverted affidavits of the Church staff members who stayed with Lisa, at no point after Lisa arrived at the Fort Harrison did she state or indicate that she wished to leave the Fort Harrison. (See affidavits of religions workers, exhibits 39 to 56; Ex. 59, Report of Assistant State Attorney at p. 4.) 80. Plaintiff's expert concedes that while at the Fort Harrison, Lisa McPherson "was not competent to withdraw consent." (Ex. 35, Conrad Weller Depo., April 28, 2000, at pp. 40:25-41:7.) 81. Emma Schamehorn was the first of the religious workers who stayed with Lisa at the Fort Harrison on November 18, 1995. (Ex. 37, Schamehorn Depo., November 15, 2000, at pp. 22:24-23:4, 23:12-25, 24:23-25:5.) Jeanne Decuypere, Lisa's Chiropractor, was also there. Dr. Decuypere "chatted" with Lisa "for a while" and at first Lisa seemed "coherent" and "normal.,, (Id. at p. 23:17-25 and Ex. 38, Schamehorn Depo., December 7, 2000, at p. 52:19-24.) According to Emma, Lisa did not "express to [Emma] any reluctance or objection to going to the hotel room." (Id. at p. 53:12-14.) 24 Emma stayed with Lisa until 1:00 a.m., and returned on November 19th. By then, Lisa seemed "agitated." (Ex. 37, Schamehorn Depo., November 15, 2000 at pp. 25:3-5, 29:17-20, 30:17-19.) Lisa never said anything or acted in any way that indicated to Emma that she "wanted to go home or go see her mother, or be anywhere else other than where she was." (Ex. 51, Schamehorn Afl., at 9 10.) 82. Valerie Demange was another of the religious workers who stayed with Lisa McPherson at the Fort Harrison. (Ex. 45, Demange Afl., at 99 3, 4.) While Demange was with Lisa, Lisa never tried to "go out the door" and never asked Valerie "to take her somewhere." (Ex. 65, Demange Depo., July 21, 2000 at p. 63:8-11; Ex. 45, Demange Afl., at 9 5.) 83. Laura Ammada was with Lisa on November 25th and 26th and again on December 2na through December 5th. (Ex. 40, Ammada Afl., at 9 5.) While Ammada was present, Lisa never expressed a desire to leave the room or the Fort Harrison. (Id., at 9 6.) Lisa "never did or said anything to make [Arnmada] think [Lisa] did not want to be in the room at the Fort Harrison or want me or any of the other Church staff to assist her." (Id., at 9 9.) 84. Alice Van Grondelle was with Lisa for 16 hours beginning on November 22nd after which she wrote a report indicating that Lisa was "blabbering, incoherent non stop" and only slept for four hours. "She talked incoherently hour after hour." (Plaintiff's Response to Flag's Motion that Scientology is a Religion and that the Introspection Rundown is a Religious Practice, pp. 40-41, filed on January 18, 2000.) During the time 25 Ms. Van Grondelle was with Lisa, Lisa was talking "[g]ibberish ... nothing made any sense." (Ex. 67,Van Grondelle Depo., July 19, 2000 at p. 24:22- 24.) At no time was Lisa coherent. (Id., at p. 79:15-17.) Lisa never made a request to leave the Fort Harrison. (Ex. 54, Van Grondelle Afl., at 5.) If she had made a rational and coherent request, Van Grondelle would not have stopped her. (Id., at 5.) 85. Alfonso Barcenas was in training to become a security staff member in November 1995. (Ex. 68, Barcenas Depo., October 4, 2000, at p. 7:19-21.) He was directed by Paul Kellerhals, who was in charge of the Church's security staff (Ex. 49, Kellerhals Afl., at 2), to insure that the area around Lisa's room remained quiet. (Id., at p. 13:10-16.) No one told him that Lisa could not leave her room, and he would not have stopped Lisa f~om leaving if he believed she would not hurt herself. (Id., at pp. 15:12-16:6; Ex. 41, Barcenas Afl., at 5). He never did stop Lisa from leaving, because she never attempted to leave or asked to leave in his presence or to his knowledge. (Id., at 5, 12.) 86. Leslie Woodcraft stayed with Lisa for several hours on November 23rd, together with Janis Johnson. (Ex. 69, Woodcraft Depo., August 31, 2000, at p. 30:19-24.) Lisa never tried or asked to leave the room while Leslie was there. (Id., at p. 48:9- 11.) 87. Heather Petzold Hofwas with Lisa on the night of November 22nd, then briefly on November 24th, and then "daily" after the 25th or 26th. (Ex. 47, Hof Afl., at 4.) During that time, Lisa never expressed or manifested a desire to leave the Fort 26 Harrison retreat. On one occasion while Heather was there, Lisa attempted to walk through the door of her room into a public area of the Fort Harrison. At the time, Lisa "had no clothes on." Heather "put her back" in the room so that she could get "her dressed"; Lisa did not try to leave again. (Id., at 5, 7, 8.) While Heather was with Lisa, Lisa was "screaming" things like "I'm having a bad hair day," "alphabet soup," and "I love Michael Jackson." (Ex. 70, Hof Depo. at pp. 32:10-11, 32:17-24, 33:5-7.) 88. Joan Stevens was with Lisa for about 12 hours, from about 11:00 p.m. on November 23rd until the late morning 0fNovember 24th. (Ex. 52, Stevens Afl., at 4.) During that time, Lisa was "constantly moving, constantly talking, none of it sequitur." (Ex. 71, Stevens Depo., November 2, 2000, at pp. 37:22-38:31) Lisa's actions were "unpredictable." (Id., at p. 42:15-24; Ex. 52, at 5.) At one point, Lisa was standing in front of the window, "partially undressed." She then walked towards the door and the public areas of the Fort Harrison. Stevens held her back because she "was completely naked from the waist up," and because she was obviously "not in her right state of mind." (Ex. 71, Stevens Depo., November 2, 2000, at pp. 55:6-13, 55:22-56:3.) "I used my own judgment when doing this. I had never heard anyone say that Lisa was not allowed to leave the room. It was just obvious that it would be wrong and dangerous to her to let her wander around on her own in the incoherent state she was in." (Ex. 52, at 8.) 89. Paul Kellerhals saw Lisa at the Fort Harrison on November 18th and on November 19th or 20th. He saw her again the following day, and then on November 24th and December 3ra. (Id., at 5-7, 9-10.) To his knowledge, Lisa "never ... express[ed] 27 any desire to leave the Fort Harrison." (Id., at 4.) 90. Janis Johnson was the Staff Medical Liaison Officer for the Church. (Ex. 48, Johnson Afl., at 3.) Johnson looked in on Lisa several times between November 21st and December 5th, and checked with those who were caring for Lisa. (Id., at 5.) Johnson was with Lisa for about six and a half hours during the early morning hours of the 24th. Johnson "never heard Lisa say that she wanted to leave and also never saw her try to leave." (Id., at 5.) During the time she spent with Lisa on the 24th, Lisa "opened the door and she stuck her head out," but did not actually go out the door. She then "went back in" the room. (Ex. 72, Johnson Depo., April 25, 2000, at pp. 168:22-169:10.) 91. Sam Ghiora was a trainee member of the Church's security staff. (Ex. 46, Ghiora Afl., at 2.) On November 22, 1995, his supervisor, Arthur Baxter, directed him to stay outside Lisa's room to keep the area quiet, to bring necessities, and if necessary to make sure Lisa did not hurt herself. (Ex. 73, Ghiora Depo., September 27, 2000, at p. 10:11-20.) While he was there, Lisa never asked to leave her room or the Fort Harrison. (Ex. 46, Ghiora Afl., at 7.) 92. Rita Boykin first arrived to stay with Lisa on the 24th or 25th of November. She was then with Lisa on a daily basis, excepting a couple of days around November 27th and 28th. Throughout this time, Lisa never tried to walk out the door or said she wanted to leave or did not want to take part in the religious practice. (Ex. 74, Boykin Depo., at p. 177:20-23.) In fact, one of the few coherent comments Lisa made was to Rita Boykin. Lisa extended her hand to Rita and said, "You're being so good to me and I 28 don't even know your names." (Id., at p. 154:19-25.) 93. Silvia de la Vega stayed with Lisa on November 23fa, and then each day from November 25th to December 2nd. (Ex. 44, de la Vega Afl., at 3, 4.) During the times she stayed with or saw Lisa, Lisa never tried to leave her room or the Fort Harrison, and never requested to do so. (Id, at 5.) 94. Susanne Reich visited Lisa on the evening of November 19th, returned later that night and stayed with her until 9:00 a.m. the next morning. (Ex. 75, Reich Depo., December 5, 2000, at p. 53:6-20.) During that time, Lisa never "walk[ed] towards the door." (Id., at pp. 56:13-57:4.) She also made no requests or verbal statements that "she did not want to be there or did not want us to help her." (Ex. 50, Reich Afl., at 5.) 95. Patfizia Stracener stayed with Lisa the night of November 24th. While Lisa was talking constantly, sucking her thumb, sin~ng, and licking the wall, Lisa "never" tried "to leave the cabana" or the Fort Harrison and never requested to do so. (Ex. 76, Stracener Depo,, September 5, 2000, at pp. 48:9-49:3, 59:12-13; Ex. 53, Stracener Afl., at 5-6). 96. Barbro Wennberg stayed with Lisa on two occasions, on or about November 20th and November 24th. During that time, Lisa never asked or attempted to leave the room or the Fort Harrison. (Ex. 77, Wennberg Depo., atp. 82:11- 13; Ex. 55, Wennberg Afl., at 4-5). 97. Written reports (sometimes referred to as "logs") were also prepared by the various religious workers who stayed with Lisa McPherson at the Fort Harrison from 29 November 18 - December 5, 1995. (Ex. 39, Affidavit ofAlain Kartuzinski, at 14 and attached exhibits.) 98. No report contains an entry stating or suggesting that Lisa McPherson asked or expressed a desire to leave her room or the Fort Harrison. (Id, at 16 and exhibits.) 99. No report contains an entry stating or suggesting that Lisa McPherson tried to leave the Fort Harrison, and, with the exception noted in paragraphs 101-103 below, no report contains an entry that Lisa McPherson attempted to leave her room. 100. Susanne Schnurrenberger Greene was a church staff member in November - December 1995. She stayed with Lisa from late in the evening of November 18 through November 20, 1995. (Ex. 27, Susanne Schnurrenberger Greene Afl., at 1.) 101. On November 19th, Greene wrote a Report, which as the Court previously found ( 32, ante) she misdated November 18, which contained entries for 2:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. of November 19. (Id., at Exhibit 1.) The entry for 3:15 p.m. states, "[s]he is still talking, non stop. She tried to go out of the door." (Id.) The same report describes Lisa's non-stop talk, including statements that, "I created time 3 Billion years ago... I am LRH..." She also stated, "I need my auditor, Mr. Kartuzinski." (Id.) 102. Also on November 19, 1995, Greene wrote a report which contained an entry for 6:45 p.m., as follows: While I was writing this outside she came outside. When I brought her in, she took my ann and put it on her tummy and went with her tongue over my face. I brought her back to 30 bed. She jumped up again and while I am writing this she is standing next to me, talking non sequitur things. This same report also indicates that Lisa "walked like a robote [sic] ... she talks and talks, then she stares at a spot... She also tries to push buttons on me... She says I am her and she is controlling my body... She kissed me on my mouth.., talking non sequimr things." Ms. Greene listed some of the "non sequitur" things Lisa was saying: -        She wanted to call her Minister. He has No 10. -        She called me Mom when she awoke this afternoon. -        She wants to go to a party. She has a date with her mother at the pool. (Ex. 39, Kartuzinski Afl., at Exhibit A.) 103. Plaintiff relies on the November 19 reports of Greene as evidence that Lisa tried to leave the Fort Harrison and was held there against her will. To the contrary, the reports indicate her willingness to be there, as evidenced by her requests to "call her Minister" and her statement "I need my auditor, Mr. Kartuzinski.' While the reports indicate that she left her room to go into the public areas of the Fort Harrison, they show that, at those times, she was acting in a disoriented state, and that Ms. Greene quite properly and appropriately brought her back into her room, without resistance. II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW 1. Rule 1.510(c), Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, provides that summary judgment shall be "rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file together with the affidavits, if any, show that there 31 is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." In construing Rule 1.510(c), Florida Courts have held the following: [O]ne moving for summary final judgment must demonstrate that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact. A material fact is one essential to the result that is placed in controversy by the pleadings and affidavits. Thus, to preclude the entry of summary judgment there must be some fact essential to a resolution of the legal questions raised by the ease which is genuinely controverted. Wells v. Wilkerson, 391 So. 2d 266, 267 (Fla. 4th DCA 1980), citing, Hollv. Talcott, 191 So. 2d 40 (Fla. 1966); see also, McGooJ v. Metcalf, 665 So. 2d 254, 258 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995) ("A dispute about a material fact is genuine only ff the evidence is such that a jury could remm a verdict for the nonmoving party"). 2. Once a party moving for summary judgment makes a prima facie ease and demonstrates the absence of genuine issues of material fact, the opposing party bears the burden of producing admissible evidence sufficient to demonstrate the existence of a genuine issue of material fact requiring trial. Connell v. Sledge, 306 So. 2d 194, 196 (Fla. 1st DCA 1975). The party opposing the summary judgment must adduce evidence to prove the existence of such an issue, and cannot merely assert that one exists. Landers v. Milton, 370 So. 2d 368, 370 (Fla. 1979); Harvey Bldg., Inc., v. Haley, 175 So. 2d 780 (Fla. 1965); Farrey v. Bettenclorf, 96 So. 2d 889 (Fla. 1957). 3. If the party opposing summary judgment fails or is unable to come forward with admissible evidence demonstrating the existence of a genuine issue of material fact, 32 the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. Pelz v. City of Clearwater, 568 So. 2d 949, 951 (Fla. 2d DCA 1990), citing DeMesme v. Stephenson, 498 So. 2d 673 (Fla. 1 st DCA 1986); McMillan v. Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, 741 So. 2d 542 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999) (Aff~g the trial court's summary judgment because the party opposing summary judgment "failed to show any issue of fact, by affidavit or other evidence, to counter [the Appellee's] motion"). In fact, "where the material facts are not in dispute and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law, it is the court's duty to enter summary judgment." Castellano v. Raynor, 725 So. 2d 1197, 1199 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999). 4. It is well established in Florida that "[t]he tort of false imprisonment" is "'the unlawful restraint of a person against his will, the gist of which action is the unlawful detention of the plaintiff and the deprivation of his liberty.,' Escambia County School Boardv. Bragg, 680 So. 2d 571, 572 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996) (citing Johnson v. Weiner, 155 Fla. 169, 171 (Fla. 1944); see also, 24A Fla. Jur. 2d, False Imprisonment § 1 (1995) and cases cited therein). Thus, in order to prevail on a false imprisonment claim, a plaintiff must affirmatively show that he was restrained against his will; the burden is not on the defendant to show "consent." 5. Further, the unlawful restraint must be unreasonable and unwarranted under the circumstances. See 24A Fla. Jur. 2d, False Imprisonment § 1 (1995); Kanner v. First Nat 'l Bank of South Miami, 287 So.2d 715, 717 (3d DCA 1974). Plaintiff's argument that Kanner is the only case so holding is manifestly incorrect. The cases are legion 33 holding that it is the plaintiff's burden to show that the restraint was unreasonable and unwarranted under the circumstances. See, e.g. Winn & Lovett Grocery Co. v. Archer, 126 Fl. 308, 317, 171 So. 214, 218 (1936) ("it must be shown that the restraint was unreasonable and such as was not warranted by the circumstances");2 Harris v. Lewis State Bank, 436 So.2d 338, 341 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983) (a "plaintiff alleging false imprisonment must show.., that the restraint was 'unreasonable and unwarranted under the circumstances'"); tffvers v. Dillard Dept. Store, Inc., 698 So.2d 1328, 1331 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997) (same, citing Harris); Jennings v. City of Winter Park, 250 So.2d 900, 903 (Fla. 4th DCA 1971) ("Civil liability for false imprisonment ... depends on a showing that the detention was unreasonable and unwarranted by the circumstances"); City of Miami v. Albro, 120 So.2d 23, 27 (Fla. 3d DCA 1960) (same); Blumel v. Mylander, 919 F. Supp. 423, 427 (M.D. Fla. 1996) (Kovachevich, C.J.) (applying Florida law of false imprisonment: "The detention must be 'unreasonable and unwarranted under the circumstances,'" quoting Harris and Kanner); Everett v. Florida Institute of Technology, 503 So,2d 1382, 1383 and n. 4 (Fla. 5th DCA 1987) (citingKanner: Hospital's proper compliance with Baker Act provisions would make an involuntary commitment reasonable and justified under the circumstances, but failure to follow Baker Act would subject hospital and its personnel to false imprisonment claim). 2 While Winn was a false arrest case, it is recognized that false arrest and false imprisonment are different labels for the same cause of action. Weissman v. K-Mart Corp., 396 So.2d 1164 (Fla. 3d DCA 1981); 14 Fla. Jur., False Imprisonment (2nd Ed. 2000), § 1. 34 6. Based on the undisputed facts of this case, plaintiff has not made and cannot make a showing that Lisa McPherson was unlawfully restrained "against [her] will" by the defendants. In fact, all of the evidence indicates the opposite. Lisa McPherson refused psychiatric observation or admission at the hospital; she expressly stated her desire to receive the religious care and assistance fxom her fellow congregants that she and they wanted her to have. The hospital's trained doctors and nurses determined that she made such a decision. The defendants were entitled to rely on the determination made by the trained medical staff at Morton Plant Hospital. Moreover, it is irrelevant and immaterial whether Lisa's choice to go to the Fort Harrison was a "competent" decision, since plaintiff must show that she was brought there "against her will." There is absolutely no evidence to support that essential element of plaintiff's cause of action. 7. Indeed, not only is there no evidence that Lisa was brought to the Fort Harrison against her will, but the evidence is uncontroverted that, by every objective measure, Lisa agreed, consented and wished to go there. At the least, the Church and its religious workers were entitled to rely upon such apparent consent. As the Restatement makes clear: "If the words or conduct are reasonably understood by another to be intended as consent, they constitute apparent consent and are as effective as consent itself." Restatement of the Law (Second), Torts § 892 (2000). The Restatement further explains: Even when the person concerned does not in fact agree to the 35 conduct of the other, his words or acts or even his inaction may manifest a consent that will justify the other in acting in reliance upon them. This is tree when the words or acts or silence and inaction, would be understood by a reasonable person as intended to indicate consent and they are in fact so understood by the other. This conduct is not merely evidence that consent in fact exists, to be weighed against a denial. It is a manifestation of apparent consent, which justifies the other in acting on the assumption that consent is given and is as effective to prevent liability in tort as ff there were consent in fact. Jcl., Comment c. 8. Plaintiff argues, however, that in order to defeat plaintiff's false imprisonment claim, defendants must show not only that Lisa McPherson was not compelled to go to the Fort Harrison against her will, and not only that she "consented" to go by her words or her actions, but that her consent was "informed consent" within the meaning of Section 765.101, Florida Statutes. 9. Plaintiff's argument is incorrect. First, Florida Statute § 765.101 is inapplicable in this context. That statute was enacted as a method for a competent adult to provide, in advance, a written declaration directing the withholding designation for a health care surrogate. § 765.102(2), Fla. Stat. (1995) (''the Legislature intends that a procedure be established to allow a person to plan for incapacity by designating another person to direct the course of his medical treatment upon his incapacity."); § 765.102 (3) Fla. Stat. (1995) ("the Legislature declares that the laws of this state recognize the right of a competent adult to make an advance directive instructing his physician to provide, withhold, or withdraw life-prolonging procedures, or to designate another to make the 36 treatment decision for him in the event that such person should be found to be incompetent and suffering from a terminal condition.") As held by the Second District Court of Appeal in Corbett v. D ~lessandro, 487 So.2d 368, 370 (Fla.2d DCA 1986), "chapter 765 appears to have been enacted to apply in certain specified situations and was not intended to encompass the entire specmun of instances in which these privacy rights may be exercised." Section 765.15 (now renumbered 765.106), evidences that intent. Corbett, 487 So.2d 370. It provides: The provisions of this chapter are cumulative to the existing law regarding an individual's right to consent, or refuse to consent, to medical treatment and do not impair any existing rights or responsibilities which a health care provider, a patient, including a minor, competent or incompetent person, or a patient's family may have under the common law, Federal Constitution, State Constitution, or statutes of this state. § 765.106 Fla. Stat. (1995). As stated by the Second DCA in Corbett, "[w]e must construe section 765.15 to protect all constitutional rights a patient might have or else the statute would be unconstitutional." Corbett, 487 So.2d at 370. Thus, Chapter 765 is not applicable to this case because this case does not involve the advanced written designation of a health care surrogate or an advanced directive to withhold life-prolonging procedures. 10. Second,"'informed consent" as used in Chapter 765 means consent voluntarily given to a medical "procedure." § 765.101(9). Informed consent under Chapter 765 is contrasted with the decision applicable to this case - the decision to refuse 37 psychiatric treatment. This case does not involve informed consent of Lisa to go with her friends to the Fort Harrison; rather it involves "refusal of consent" to be kept in the psychiatric ward of the hospital. 11. The complete answer to plaintiff's misplaced "informed consent" argument is found in the Baker Act, Chapter 394, Florida Statutes? The Baker Act establishes the criteria by which a person may be admitted, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to a mental hospital for either psychiatric examination or placement, as well as the requirements and circumstances which compel release of such a person. Under the B~er Act, "informed consent" is relevant only in the sense that a person cannot voluntarily agree to a psychiatric admission without informed consent; if the person is incapable of informed consent, he must be treated as an "involuntary" admission even if he agrees. See 1999 Annual Report Prepared for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration by the University of South Florida, The Florida Mental Health Act (The Baker AcO, pp. 37-38. 12. Under the Baker Act, a person, such as Lisa McPherson, who refuses to be admitted to a mental hospital, can be admitted involuntarily for examination only under 3 Plaintiff's argument that the Court should not consider the Baker Act because defendants only raised it at oral argument must be rejected. Defendants fully put plaintiff on notice of their legal position that Morton Plant Hospital was required to release Lisa to the care of her friends from Scientology, and emphasized in their moving papers that Morton Plant medical personnel explicitly found that she could not be committed under the Baker Act. Moreover, the Baker Act was specifically raised by defendants at oral argument in response to plaintiff's attempt to argue, in plaintiff's opposition to the defendants' motion, that Lisa had to exercise "informed consent" to reject psychiatric 38 severely restricted circumstances:
  a. The person must be "mentally ill" within the meaning
of § 394.455(3), Fl. Stat., which includes incapacity "to perceive reality or to understand," and resulting inability "to meet the ordinary demands of living," and
  b. i. There is a substantial likelihood that the person
will cause serious bodily harm to himself or others in the near future, as evidenced by recent behavior; or ii. the person is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself, posing a real and present threat of substantial harm to his well being; and there are no family or friends available to avoid such harm. § 394.463, Fla. Stat. 13. The requirements for involuntary placement, i.e. for treatment, are similar but even more strict, requiring that the person is "incapable of surviving alone or with the help of willing and responsible family or friends," that the person is "likely" to suffer from neglect, and that such neglect poses "a real and present threat of substantial harm." § 394.467, Fla. Stat. 14. Indeed, if a hospital or its medical staff involuntarily commit a person for commitment to Morton Plant and to agree t{~o to the Fort Harrison. involuntary examination or treatment in violation of the Baker Act, they will be subject to a tort action for false imprisonment. Liles v. P.I.A. MedfieMInc., 681 So.2d 711, 712 (Fla.2d DCA 1995) ("A claim for the tort of false imprisonment can be asserted based on allegations that a person was involuntarily held without compliance with the Baker Act"); Everett v. Florida Institute of Technology, 503 So.2d 1382, 1383 (Fla. 5th DCA 1987) ("Everett's allegations that he was involuntarily held for eight days [by a mental hospital] without compliance with the Baker Act provisions, adequately allege the tort of false imprisonment"). 15. The Baker Act thus contemplates that a "mentally ill" incompetent person who cannot exercise "informed consent" to anything nevertheless must be released to family or friends if the family or friends can take care of the person and prevent him or her fxom neglecting or abusing himself. Such friends or family thus are authorized by law, as well as by release to their care by a hospital, to watch over such persons and prevent them from harming or abusing themselves. (See, e.g., In re Smith, 342 So.2d 491 (1977), where the Florida Supreme Court reversed an involuntary commitment order, despite the clear and convincing evidence of mental illness and indeed, as the court noted, incapacity to make a responsible application or decision. The Court stated, "This case should be returned to the trial court for the purpose of determining whether appellant is capable of surviving safely in fxeedom with the help of willing and responsible family members and fi-iends.") 16. In this case, the doctors at Morton Plant Hospital found that there was no 4O imminent threat that Lisa would inflict serious harm on herself or others. And they found that the availability of friends from the congregation to watch Lisa McPherson on a 24-hour basis made commitment both unnecessary and improper. As a matter of law, therefore, Morton Plant Hospital was required to release Lisa McPherson to the care of her friends from the congregation; failure to do so would have constituted false imprisonment. 17. It therefore follows that such friends cannot be subject to a lawsuit for false imprisonment on the ground that the person released to them was too ill or incompetent to give informed consent to such care, especially where the person readily agreed to it at the time. To be sure, the friends may have a certain minimal duty of care, which, if breached, might support a claim for negligence - an issue which the court does not address here. As to false imprisonment, plaintiff's argument is completely contradicted by the Baker Act itself- if accepted, it would render the Act unenforceable and nugatory with respect to those key provisions relating to release to friends or family. 18. In addition, the medical personnel at Morton Plant Hospital found that Lisa McPherson was competent to make a rational decision to leave Morton Plant Hospital, reject psychiatric evaluation or treatment, and go with her friends from the congregation for the care they wanted to give her and that she wanted to receive. The hospital then explicitly communicated these £mdings to Lisa and to the Scientologists who were at the i Morton Plant Hospital. Under the Restatement sections quoted above (Rest. 2d Torts § 892 and Comment c), these laymen, in the medical sense, certainly were entitled to rely 41 upon the fmdings of the medical personnel at Morton Plant Hospital, as both plaintiff's experts, Dr. Weller and Mr. Mills, concede. The church members and the Church cannot then be subjected to a tort claim for false imprisonment based upon later expert testimony that Lisa was not competent to give the consent she unquestionably gave and which the hospital doctors found to be rationally given. This is particularly true because, as the Court has held, under the Baker Act, it would not have mattered if the hospital had found that Lisa McPherson was not competent. Under the Baker Act, Morton Plant Hospital would still have had to release her to her friends to take care of her, rather than involuntarily commit her for future evaluation or treatment. 19. The defendants thus are entitled to sunun~ judgment on plaintiff's false imprisonment claim because the evidence is undisputed that Lisa's stay at the Fort Harrison was not compelled against her will. 20. Moreover, after coming to the Fort Harrison, while Lisa McPherson exhibited bizarre and psychotic behavior, there is no competent evidence that Lisa McPherson demanded to be released and was unlawfully restrained from leaving. As the uncontroverted facts made clear, she never made a coherent request to leave the hotel. In fact, plaintiff's own expert witness has testified that from November 18 to December 5, 1995, Lisa McPherson was "not competent to withdraw consent." (Ex. 35, Weller Depo., April 28, 2000, at pp. 40-41.) Thus, there are no facts to support the plaintiff's conclusory allegation that Lisa McPherson was unlawfully held against her will by the 42 defendants from November 18, 1995 to December 5, 1995. Rather, the clear undisputed evidence indicates that she never demanded to leave the Fort Harrison and was not held against her will. 21. Florida law governing the tort of false imprisonment completely complements the clear meaning of the Baker Act in this context. To constitute false imprisonment, a confinement "must be unreasonable and unwarranted under the circumstances." 14 Fla. Jur. False Imprisonment § 3 (1957); Kanner v. First Nat'l Bank of South Miami, 287 So.2d 715, 717 (3d DCA 1974). Here, whatever efforts were undertaken to stop Lisa McPherson from injuring herself or from wandering around the public areas of the Fort Harrison while she was undressed and in a psychotic state were clearly exercised to insure that she not inflict substantial harm to her own well- being. As such, they were reasonable and warranted under the circumstances, especially because Lisa McPherson had been released to her Scientology "friends" precisely so that they could take reasonable steps to "avoid" "substantial harm to her well-being," pursuant to the mandate of the Baker Act. See Section 394.463, Fla. Stat. Indeed, plaintiff has conceded that defendants had a duty to protect Lisa McPherson in such circumstances. See Findings of Fact, 78, ante. 22. Defendants were not required to return Lisa McPherson to Morton Plant Hospital for further psychiatric evaluation, examination, or placement because of her 43 ongoing psychoticn behavior for several independent dispositive reasons:
  a. As noted, the substantial possibility that Lisa would
engage in precisely such behavior was contemplated by the hospital when it released Lisa to the care of her "friends" under the Baker Act. Clearly, if the doctors and nurses at Morton Plant Hospital were not concerned that Lisa would engage in disoriented or psychotic behavior after her release, they would not have insisted that she be released into the care of fi-iends who would agree to watch her on a 24 hours per day basis. Her friends were supposed to insure that if Lisa did act in such a fashion, she would not inflict substantial harm to her well-being; this was a substitute for commitment to Morton Plant, as mandated by the Baker Act. b. Thus, if Lisa had been brought back to Morton Plant Hospitall the same result would have been required under the Baker Act, i.e., Lisa, even if incompetent under § 394.455, Fla. Stat., could not have been involuntarily committed to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation or placement so long as her friends were still available and willing to protect her "well-being." Indeed, 4 While defendants may have had a duty to bring Lisa McPherson to a doctor or hospital if and when Lisa exhibited obvious signs of physical - as opposed m mental - medical distress, and while breach of such a duty may support a claim of negligence, depending on the circumstances, those issues are not before the court on this motion. Nor is the question whether imposition of such a duty on religious workers engaged in religious activities violates the First Amendment religion clauses and Florida RFRA. See e.g., Baumgartner v. First Church of Christ, Scientist, 141 Ill. App.3d 898, 490 N.E.2d 1319, 1325 (affirming dismissal of negligence claims against Christian Science Church for death of man undergoing faith healing: "For the court to determine whether defendants breached any duty owed to decedent.., is precluded by the first amendment"). 44 commitment of Lisa McPherson for psychiatric examination or placement under such circumstances would have been actionable as false imprisonment. Liles v. P.I.A. Medfield, Inc., 681 So.2d 711, 712 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995) ("A claim for the tort of false imprisonment can be asserted based on allegations that a person was involuntarily held [for psychiatric evaluation or placement] without compliance with the Baker Act"); Everett v. Florida Institute of Technology, 503 So.2d 1382, 1383 (Fla. 5th DCA 1987) (''Everett's allegations that he was involuntarily held [by a mental hospital] for eight days without compliance with the Baker Act provisions, adequately allege the tort of false imprisonmenf'). c. Lisa clearly and unmistakably was religiously opposed to psychiatric treatment of any kind, and had expressed that opposition by her words and deeds for years, including on the very day of her accident. It would have violated Lisa's privacy and religious freedom rights to force her to return to Morton Plant Hospital for psychiatric commitment, and it would violate the religious free exercise rights of her co-religionists to hold them liable for not bringing her there. The court further addresses these issues in the following paragraphs. 23. Under Article I, section 23 of the Florida Constitution, a person has the constitutional privacy right to choose or refuse medical treatment. In re Dubreuil, 629 So.2d 819, 822 (Fla. 1993) (citing Guardianship of Browning, 568 So.2d 4, 11 (Fla. 1990)); see also Public Health Trust of Dade County v. Worts, 541 So.2d 96, 97 (Fla. 1989). "IT]he privacy right overlaps with the right to freely exercise one's religion." 45 Dubreuil, 629 So. 2d at 822. Moreover, "[i]n cases where these rights are litigated ... '[t]he state has a duty to assure that a person's wishes regarding medical treatment are respected.., unless the state has a compelling interest great enough to override this constitutional right. The means to carry out any such compelling state interest must be narrowly tailored in the least inlmsive manner possible to safeguard the rights of the individual.'" Id. (quoting Browning, 568 So. 2d at 13-14.) 24. In In re Guardianship of Browning, the Supreme Court made clear that where the person involved is not competent, this right "may be exercised by proxies or surrogates such as close family members or friends." Id. at 13. In fact, as a matter of law, failing to provide the refused medical treatment cannot give rise to civil liability. John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital v. Bludworth, 452 So. 2d 921, 926 (Fla. 1984) (For family members, guardians, physicians, hospitals or their administrators to "be relieved of potential civil and criminal liability" for following the wishes of a patient to refuse medical treatment, they "need only act in good faith"). 25. A person's "constitutionally protected right to choose or reject medical treatment" is not "lost or diminished" by virtue of subsequent "physical or mental incapacity or incompetence." Browning, 568 So.2d at 12. Rather, as emphasized in Bludworth, the friends or family of the person are authorized to carry out the previously expressed or presumed intention of the person who becomes incompetent. Such friends or family, moreover, are explicitly protected from liability unless they act in bad faith, which the Bludworth court defined as with an "inten[tion] to harm" her. Bludworth, 452 46 So. 2d at 926. 26. Once Lisa McPherson's decision had been made, through many years as a Scientologist and again at the hospital, the Church members had a right, even a duty, to honor it. The uncontroverted evidence shows that they did so in absolute good faith, with no intention to harm her. They had every reason to believe and understand, and no reason to disbelieve, that their actions were entirely consistent with the beliefs, intentions and wishes of Lisa McPherson, as clearly expressed throughout her life and, in particular, on November 18, 1995. They had every reason to believe and rely upon the decision of the medical personnel at Morton Plant Hospital that Lisa McPherson was entitled and able to exercise her choice. Any later changes in mental condition did not negate that choice? Id. 27. The Florida Supreme Court's holding that the right recognized in Dubreuil and similar cases is rooted in both Florida's constitutional right to privacy and "the right to freely exercise one's religion," Dubreuil 629 So.2d 8 at 822, has been dramatically buttressed by Florida's enactment of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, ("RFRA"), Section 761.01-.05, Florida Statutes. RFRA was enacted to enhance the protections of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and of section 3, Article I of the Florida Constitution. It applies to all civil and criminal litigation, and even applies retroactively. It provides that the State, including state courts, may not impose burdens s In Corbett v. D Mlessandro, 487 So. 2d 368, 370 (Fla. 2d DCA 1986), the Court of Appeal for this jurisdiction noted that the right of privacy found in Article I, Section 23 47 upon a person's (including a church's) exercise of religion except in furtherance of a compelling state interest, and even then only by the least restrictive means necessary to protect that state interest. This test, known as "strict scrutiny" protection is the highest level of constitutional protection for a constitutional right? Under RFRA, an act is protected as the "[e]xercise of religion" if it is "substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the religious exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief." Fla. Stat. § 761.02(3). 28. Thus, the religiously motivated acts of the Church's religious workers and ministers in providing religious services to Lisa McPherson, consistent with her own beliefs and expressed wishes, is entitled to strict scrutiny protection under RFRA. The state may not "burden" that religious practice by imposing civil liability upon them or the Church for doing so, precisely because there exists no compelling state interest in doing SO. 29. Applying these Settled legal principles to the facts of this case compels the granting of the instant motion. On November 18, 1995, Lisa McPherson exercised her constitutional right of privacy to refuse medical treatment at Morton Plant Hospital and to go instead with her co- religioniSts to the Church's facilities to receive the Scientology of the Florida Constitution "extends to incompetent persons." Under "strict scrutiny" protection, the State may burden a person's constitutional right -in this instance, to the free exercise of religion - only to further a compelling, rather than a merely permissible or rational government interest, and then only by the least restrictive means necessary to further that interest. See Dubreuil, supra. It is application of that "strict scrutiny" test to free exercise rights that RFRA was intended to insure. 48 care they wanted to give her and that she wanted to receive. The Church religious workers were not only entitled, but legally bound, to respect Lisa McPherson's constitutionally protected choice. Plaintiff accuses the defendants of "imprisoning" Lisa McPherson "against her will" because the religious workers did exactly what the hospital expected them to do and what Lisa wanted - i.e., watch her 24 hours a day to prevent her from harming herself or others and give her the religious assistance that the Church wanted her to have and that she wanted to have. Plaintiff seeks to hold the defendants accountable for the intentional tort of false imprisonment for taking measures to prevent Lisa from committing acts which would have caused her injury or to wind up precisely where she refused to go - a psychiatric ward. The defendants thus are entitled to summary judgment of plaintiffs' False Imprisonment claim. It is therefore ORDERED AND ADJUDGED as follows: Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to Count HI of the Fifth Amended Complaint, the False Imprisonment count, is granted. DONE AND ORDERED at St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida, on this 20 day of June 2001. FRANK QUESADA CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE          ORIGINAL SIGNED          JUN 20 2001 cc: Counsel of record                  49


Mike Gormez' comment:
This smoke screen was already blown away in the criminal case.

Additionally, the defendant's reliance on Baumgartner v. First Church of Christ Scientist 141 I11.App. 898, 490 N.E.2d 1319, (1986) and Nally v. Grace Community Church 47 Cal.3d 278, 253 Cal.Rptr 97 (1988) is legally and factually misplaced. Baumgartner ruled that there is no cause of action for malpractice committed by religious counselors where the treatment is voluntarily sought by a competent person who is not in the custody of the party being sued.
The state has not based its prosecution on whether the corporation incompetently applied its own religious technology.[107] Under Florida law the corporation and its employees assumed responsibility for Lisa's condition under a specific statute dealing with disabled adults. They assumed a duty the breach of which subjects them to criminal liability. Moreover, since the defendant was in fact practicing medicine, though unlicensed, the appropriate standard of care is that of a physician not an ordinary person or a pastoral counselor. State v. Heines, 144 Fla. 272, 197 So. 787 (Fla. 1940).


Commment by Stacy Brooks:

Jesse and I attended the hearing yesterday. Judge Quesada signed Scientology's proposed ruling on their motion for summary judgment regarding false imprisonment exactly as they submitted it. He added nothing.
Regarding Scientology's motion to exclude Jesse Prince as an expert or fact witness, Judge Quesada declined to rule at all, despite vigorous argument by Kendrick Moxon, aided by Lee Fugate.
Yesterday's hearing was the last action Judge Quesada will take in the Lisa McPherson case.
A note of clarification: the Lisa McPherson Trust is not a party in this or any other lawsuit.

Stacy Brooks


Commment by SP Times June 22, 2001

The Church of Scientology won a partial victory Thursday when a judge dismissed one of four counts in a 4-year-old wrongful death lawsuit filed by the estate of Lisa McPherson.

In one of his final acts overseeing the case, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Frank Quesada dismissed the count alleging that McPherson was falsely imprisoned.


Commment by Judge Susan F. Schaeffer May 28, 2002

13       I'm denying the request to reconsider Judge
14  Quesada's order, but I'm making it clear that in the
15  event I was anything but the succeeding judge in the
16  division where Judge Quesada was, then I would have
17  reconsidered the order.  What that means is as far
18  as I'm concerned, if this case goes to another
19  judge -- and God knows it might.  It could go on for
20  years and years -- and it's any judge other than the
21  judge of this division, I think that judge ought to
22  reconsider it.


Commment by Judge Susan F. Schaeffer January 12, 2003

Judge Quesada's Order does not say Count III was a sham pleading. And while this court has entered an Order Denying Plaintiffs Motion to Rescind Order of Summary Judgment on Count III, False Imprisonment Claim, dated June 3, 2002, refusing to reconsider Judge Quesadas order, it should be obvious to anyone reading this court's order that she would probably not have ruled the same as Judge Quesada, but would allow the jury to decide Count III, the False Imprisonment claim.


Life and Death of Lisa McPherson