Geanacopulos Vs Narconon: Complaint

Harry, Lauren, and Peter Geanacopulos file suit (with the help of Ryan Hamilton) against Narconon Fresh Start in Nevada
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Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 1 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Ryan A. Hamilton NV BAR NO. 11587 HAMILTON LAW 5125 S. Durango Dr., Ste. C Las Vegas, NV 89113 (702) 818-1818 (702) 974-1139 (fax) [email protected] Attorney for the plaintiffs, Harry, Lauren, and Peter Geanacopulos UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEVADA HARRY GEANACOPULOS, a Massachusetts Citizen; LAUREN GEANACOPULOS, a Massachusetts Citizen; and PETER GEANACOPULOS, a Massachusetts Citizen, Plaintiffs, COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND vs. NARCONON FRESH START d/b/a Rainbow Canyon Retreat; and DOES 1-100, ROE Corporations I – X, inclusive, Defendants. Case No. Plaintiffs Harry, Lauren, and Peter Geanacopulos (“Plaintiffs”) allege on information and belief against Defendant, and DOES 1-100, ROE Corporations I – X, inclusive, the following: I. PARTIES 1. 2. Plaintiffs were, and at all relevant times to this Complaint are, citizens of Massachusetts. Defendant Narconon Fresh Start (hereafter “Narconon”), is, and at all times relevant to this Complaint was, a corporation incorporated under the laws of, and with its principal place of 1 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 2 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 business in, the State of California. Defendant has been at all relevant times transacting business in Caliente, Lincoln County, Nevada. Narconon Fresh Start may served with process through its registered agent, Mark Kirwin, 4480 Market St., Ste. 804, Ventura, CA 93003. 3. Plaintiff is unaware of the true names and capacities, whether individual, corporate, associate, or otherwise, of Defendant DOES 1-100, inclusive, and, therefore, sues these Defendants by fictitious names. Plaintiffs will seek leave of this Court to amend this Complaint when the identities of these Defendants are ascertained. II. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 4. This Court has subject jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00, and there is complete diversity between the parties. 5. Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a) because a substantial portion of the events and omissions giving rise to this lawsuit occurred in this District, and the Court has personal jurisdiction over each of the parties as alleged throughout this Complaint. III. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS A. 6. Peter’s Entry Into The Narconon Program On or about November 27, 2013, Harry and Lauren Geanacopulos spoke on the telephone with Narconon representative Dan Carmichael about finding drug and addiction counseling for their son, Peter Geanacopulos. Carmichael recommended that Peter enter Defendant’s program for treatment. 7. 8. Carmichael referred to the program only as “Fresh Start” and never called it “Narconon.” Carmichael represented that the “Fresh Start” program has more than a 76 % success rate. 2 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 3 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 9. Carmichael also represented that at “Fresh Start” there would be a licensed physician on the premises at all times. Carmichael further represented that Peter would receive extensive counseling for substance abuse in a state-of-the art facility. 10. Carmichael referred Plaintiffs to the Rainbow Canyon Retreat website, The website repeated the representations Carmichael made about the program. 11. 12. The website also represented that religion is not a part of the program. Further, the website represented that the program’s detoxification and purification program, the “New Life Detoxification Program,” “removes all drug residue in the body, which are the major causes of cravings and relapse.” 13. The website further explained how the sauna program works: [t]hrough research done since the early 1960s it has been found that drugs, once taken, leave residues in the body’s fat tissues. These residues remain in the body for years after taking a drug. This is the reason for the occurrence of “acid flashbacks” among LSD users. These drug residues also play a large in addict’s physical craving for a particular drug. Through vitamins, oils, exercise, and sweating, our sauna program cleans out a users [sic] system, leaving them free of physical drug cravings and healthier than they have felt in years. 14. Based on these representations, Plaintiffs agreed to send Peter to the “Fresh Start” program in Nevada and paid $30,000 upfront for the program. 15. 16. Plaintiffs also executed the contract attached hereto as Exhibit A. The contract describes the founding of the Narconon program as follows: The Narconon Program was founded in 1966 by William Benitez, where it was first used in the Arizona State Prison, after being inspired by the practical betterment philosophy of author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard in the book, The Fundamentals of Thought. After reforming himself through the use of this new and innovative rehabilitation technology and establishing the Narconon program, Mr. Benitez found a new purpose in life by helping people 3 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 4 of 18 not only rehabilitate themselves from drug addiction, but more importantly, restore their personal values, integrity, and responsibility. The Narconon Program is secular [NONRELIGIOUS] in nature and the program does not include participation in any religious studies of any kind. 17. 4 5 1 2 3 The actual title of the L. Ron Hubbard Book to which the contract refers is “Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought, The Basic Book of the Theory and Practice of Scientology for Beginners,” (hereafter “Scientology: Fundamentals of Thought”). 6 18. 7 8 The Church of Scientology, on its website, describes Scientology: Fundamentals of Thought as being “designated by L. Ron Hubbard as The Book One of Scientology.” (emphasis in original). 9 19. 10 11 Carmichael also gave Plaintiffs’ telephone number to an interventionist named Frank Riedl from New Life Interventions. 20. 12 13 Plaintiffs paid an additional $3,000 to New Life Interventions for the use of an interventionist. 21. 14 15 On arriving at the Caliente facility, Narconon had Peter sign documents purporting to take away his legal rights while he was still under the influence of drugs. Peter objected, but Narconon threatened that he would receive no treatment unless he signed the documents. 16 22. 17 18 Narconon never sent Plaintiffs copies of the papers Peter was forced to sign on arriving at the Narconon facility. 23. 19 20 Narconon staff also had Peter stop taking prescription medication that he had taken for several years. Narconon had Peter stop taking this medication “cold turkey.” 24. 21 22 Peter then went through withdrawal in area facility known as the “Treehouse.” There were no medical personnel overseeing his withdrawal. After completing withdrawal, Peter began the Narconon treatment program. 23 24 25 4 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 5 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 B. 25. Peter’s Treatment In The Narconon Program The Narconon “Treatment” Program consists of two components: (1) course materials consisting of eight books by L. Ron Hubbard; and (2) a sauna and vitamin program known as the “New Life Detoxification Program.” i. 26. Course Materials Narconon courses are self-taught by the patients and overseen by counselors. Narconon students and Scientology practitioners perform these TRs in pairs known as twins. The counselors have little-to-no training beyond the training they received from Narconon and/or the Church of Scientology. 27. Narconon had Peter study books written by or based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard. The books or “technology” require patients to undergo numerous Training Routines (TRs) that Narconon asserts teach patients valuable lessons. Peter was required to spend several hours each day performing TRs with his twin. 28. L. Ron Hubbard created TRs to teach Scientologists communication skills. Narconon claims that the courses were designed to rehabilitate persons from drug addiction. 29. The TRs that Narconon patients perform for hours on end have no apparent connection to treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. For example, TR 3 from Book 1 of the Narconon program, is used to teach students about the “Cycle of Communication.” The “Cycle of Communication” is a concept found early on in “Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought,” the book Narconon credits as being the inspiration for its program. 30. To execute TR 3, one student or “twin” asks the other twin either: (a) “Do birds fly?” or (b) “Do Fish Swim?” The other twin must answer the question. The supervisor or coach attempts to disrupt the communication between the twins. TR 3, like other TRs, goes on for hours. 31. In TR 8 of Book 1 of the Narconon program, titled “Intention Without Reservation,” a student and a coach sit in chairs facing another chair. The chair the student and coach are facing 5 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 6 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 has an ashtray on the seat. The coach is then, according to the book, supposed to instruct the student as follows: “First, locate the space which includes himself and the ashtray but not more than that much. Second, have him locate the object in that space. Third, have him [the student] command the object [the ashtray] in the loudest possible voice he can muster. This is called shouting.” 32. The Narconon study technology teaches students about many foundational concepts or doctrines of Scientology. For example, the study technology teaches students in detail about Operating Thetans, the Eight Dynamics, the Conditions of Existence, Overts and Withholds, the Cycle of Action, the importance of “clearing” words, the use of “conditions formulas,” and Potential Trouble Sources. In addition, Narconon has students undergoing a form of auditing. 33. 34. “L. Ron Hubbard” is prominently displayed in large type on the front of each book. Book 6 of the study technology teaches students about the Eight Dynamics of Existence or the “Eight Dynamics.” Book 6 defines the Eight Dynamics as the “eight urges (drives, impulses) in life.” “Scientology: Fundamentals of Thought” explains at page 40 that “[t]he eight dynamics are used in Scientology communication and should be perfectly learned as part of the language of Scientology.” 35. The Narconon program has students demonstrate their understanding of each of the Eight Dynamics of Existence by instructing the students to create clay sculptures depicting each Dynamic. 36. In Book 7 of the study technology, the Narconon program further teaches Scientology’s philosophy of how life and people operate through its explanation of the “Conditions of Existence.” Page 78 of Book 7 explains that the conditions, from highest to lowest, are: power, power change, affluence, normal operation, emergency, danger, non-existence, liability, doubt, enemy, treason, and confusion. 6 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 7 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 37. Narconon students are taught that by applying the correct formulas they will improve on each of the Conditions of Existence. 38. Narconon has students create clay sculptures and “demo kits” to demonstrate their understanding of the Conditions of Existence and applying formulas to those conditions. 39. Narconon teaches about, and has students employ, the Scientology concepts of “Overts and Withholds.” Scientology and Narconon teach that an “overt” is a harmful act against the mores of the group. An overt does the least good for the least number of the Eight Dynamics, or does the most harm to the greatest number of the Eight Dynamics. A “withhold” occurs where someone commits an “overt” and then does not talk about that overt with the group. Scientology and Narconon teach that where a person commits an overt against the group and then withholds, that person begins to withdraw from the group. 40. To protect against the supposed harm caused by withholds, Narconon has students write out all the bad things they have done as “overts and withholds.” Narconon has students write out their transgressions in great detail according to an “Overt/Withhold Write-Up Format.” Narconon directs students to provide a detailed narrative of the event including the exact time and place it occurred and the names of individuals affected. Narconon then has students provide the write-ups to Narconon staff. 41. The Overt/Withhold Write-Up Procedure serves as a type of auditing. Auditing is one of the most common rituals of a practicing Scientologist. In these write-ups, Narconon students provide confidential details of the worst moments of their lives. 42. Narconon and Scientology teach that “misunderstood words” are the root of all confusion when studying a subject. To that end, Narconon and Scientology require students to spend hours “clearing” or looking up words, often in Scientology or L. Ron Hubbard dictionaries. Many of these “misunderstood” words students must clear are words invented by, or given special meaning within, Scientology. Examples of such words include “doingness,” “enturbulate,” “thinkingness,” 7 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 8 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 “dope-off,” “misemotion,” “divertive,” “reelingness,” “not-know,” “randomities,” “livingness,” “creatingness,” “as-ising,” and “actingness.” 43. Narconon staff members use this Scientology-specific language both when instructing Narconon students, and in everyday conversation with students. 44. Each book in the Narconon program contains a 3-page “About the Author” section. This section provides, in pertinent part: L. Ron Hubbard’s discoveries make it possible for drug users to recover fully from their addiction. Narconon drug education and rehabilitation centers around the world use his techniques exclusively. For over thirty-five years, Narconon has been setting the pace in the field of drug rehabilitation, with (per independent studies) a 70 to 80 percent success rate in helping people to come off drugs - and stay off them. L. Ron Hubbard departed his body on 24 January 1986. His breakthroughs in the field of drugs and their effects have given the planet its first truly workable and successful method of drug rehabilitation; and through his efforts, mankind has been provided with real solutions to the problems of today’s society. (emphases in original). ii. 45. Sauna Program/New Life Detoxification Program Peter, like all patients at Narconon, was required to undergo the sauna program. Narconon calls this program the “New Life Detoxication” program. 46. Narconon’s “New Life Detoxification” program is identical to the Scientology ritual known as “Purification Rundown,” or the “Purif.” The Purification Rundown is a required component of Scientology training and is part of Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom.” The Bridge to Total Freedom is the path a practicing Scientologist moves up to attain the state of “Clear.” Attaining the state of Clear is often regarded as the highest goal for a Scientologist. 47. Narconon’s rationale for the sauna program is that residue of many different types of drugs remain the body’s fatty tissue long after use. The drug residue is released from the fatty tissue from time-to-time into the bloodstream causing the individual to crave the drug, and, ultimately, 8 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 9 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 relapse. Narconon and Scientology assert that the sauna program flushes these residual drug toxins out of the addict’s system thereby reducing the cravings the residue causes. 48. Under the New Life Detoxification program, students first exercise vigorously before entering the sauna each day. On entering the sauna, Narconon requires each student to ingest increasing doses of Niacin and a “vitamin bomb.” Narconon increased Peter’s dosages of Niacin well beyond the recommended daily allowance. 49. Narconon requires students to spend six hours per day for five weeks in a sauna at temperatures between 160 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. 50. There are no medical personnel overseeing Narconon students undergoing the sauna program. There is only a “sauna supervisor” who sits outside the sauna while the students are inside. The sauna supervisor does not have any special training to deal with medical issues, but serves primarily to police the students for compliance with the sauna regimen. 51. Narconon’s claims about the benefits of its sauna program, i.e., Scientology’s Purification Rundown, are false and do not withstand scientific scrutiny. Contrary to Narconon’s claims, there is no scientific evidence that its sauna program flushes residual drug toxins out of students’ fatty tissue. Nor is there any scientific evidence for Narconon’s premise underlying the sauna program: That residual drug toxins stored in fatty tissue leak into the bloodstream and cause drug cravings. 52. Not only does Narconon’s New Life Detoxification fail to live up to Narconon’s claims about its benefits, the sauna program is dangerous. By having students ingest extreme doses of Niacin and other vitamins while sitting in extreme temperatures for hours, the sauna program unnecessarily exposes students to serious health risks including severe dehydration. 53. In a prior lawsuit, Dr. Louis A. Casal, an expert retained by Narconon International and Narconon of Northern Georgia in a wrongful death suit filed against those entities, testified at a deposition. A true and complete copy of Dr. Casal’s deposition testimony is attached hereto as Exhibit B. When asked under oath about Narconon’s sauna program, he testified that there is no 9 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 10 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 scientific basis for the notion that sweating in a sauna detoxifies a person’s body or treats addiction: Q. Have you looked at the Narconon literature on what Narconon contends the benefits from the sauna are? A. [Dr. Casal] Yes, I have. Q. And the sauna program, what Narconon contends is that in – it in fact detoxifies your body. True? A. Q. there, sir? A. Q. You’re correct. So when Narconon states that the sauna program detoxifies its students, you’re not True. But there’s no scientific basis that you can point to to support that contention, is aware, as a medical doctor, of any scientific basis for that contention? A. I agree. Exhibit B, Deposition of Dr. Louis Casal, 136:21 – 137:9. 54. There is scientific consensus that, contrary to the premise of the New Life Detoxification Program, recreational drugs are not stored in fatty tissues for years but leave the body within a few days to a few weeks. Experts in medicine and toxicology have repeatedly concluded that sweating does not expel drugs from the body. 55. Despite their own expert’s admission that there is no scientific basis for the idea that patients sweating in the New Life Detoxification Program treats addiction, Narconon continues to represent to prospective patients, as they did to Plaintiffs, that research has shown the New Life Detoxification program to be effective. 56. Furthermore, there is scientific consensus that niacin actually inhibits – rather than promotes – fat breakdown. High dosages of niacin are associated with side effects such as 10 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 11 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 hyperglycemia, cardiac arrhythmia, flushing, rashes, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, and liver failure. 57. Narconon is aware that students routinely become ill during the New Life Detoxification program. Despite this awareness, Narconon failed to provide any on-site medical supervision of Peter or other patients who were undergoing the New Life Detoxification Program. C. 58. Narconon’s Fraudulent Business Practices As part of their scheme, Narconon makes a host of false and misleading claims in their advertising, marketing materials, and on their websites. Narconon also makes these same false and misleading claims when speaking with prospective patients and their families. When speaking with the families of prospective patients, a common tactic Narconon uses is to emphasize that if the family does not send their loved one to a Narconon program immediately, the loved one will die. 59. Narconon claims a success rate of 76% for all Narconon centers, including Narconon Fresh Start d/b/a Rainbow Canyon Retreat. Narconon has published no studies or other verifiable evidence to support their claimed success rates. 60. Independent studies have shown that the Narconon program has very little success in treating addiction, sometimes with a success rate below 7%. Dr. Casal, the medical expert retained by Narconon International in another lawsuit, testified at his deposition that he was not convinced Narconon’s claimed success rate was true: Q. Okay. What are you relying on – well, let me ask you this; do you believe that 76 percent success ratio is accurate? A. [Dr. Casal]. Mr. Harris, I’ll be honest with you, that’s a big number. Q. A. Q. Yeah, it’s – it’s a real big number. It’s a big number. And it’s completely inconsistent – 11 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 12 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 A. I – I hope it’s true, but, I mean, I would need some convincing. … Q. A. Okay. Do you have any idea where Narconon is getting the numbers that it’s using? You know, in the interest of time – I just didn’t have enough time to delve deeper into those studies, Mr. Harris. And I – I would be happy to, but, no, I don’t have a clear understanding of where that 70 – 70-something number came from, no, sir. Exhibit B, Deposition of Dr. Louis Casal, 124:21 – 125:5; 126:1 – 7. 61. Narconon is well aware that there is no support for Narconon’s claimed success rate, but nonetheless advertised a 76% success rate to Plaintiffs despite that awareness. For example, an internal email from a Narconon employee regarding a response to a complaint specifically admits that Defendants “do not have scientific evidence” for their claimed success rate. The email is attached hereto as Exhibit C. 62. Narconon claims that the New Life Detoxification Program has scientifically shown to reduce cravings for drugs. As set forth above, there is no scientific support that the New Life Detoxification system works as Narconon claims. 63. Narconon’s written course materials and the New Life Detoxification Program are courses and rituals in which members of the Church of Scientology are required to participate. 64. Narconon represents that staff members at Narconon centers are certified and/or trained in drug and alcohol addiction counseling. This is false. Narconon staff members receive training only in Narconon course materials. 65. When speaking with prospective patients and their family members, Narconon staff falsely claim that patients at Narconon receive extensive counseling and even extensive one-on-one counseling for their addiction and its root causes. Patients at Narconon do not receive any counseling or treatment for addiction, they only receive instruction in completing the L. Ron Hubbard course materials. 12 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 13 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 66. Indeed, individual Narconon centers do not have any on-site medical professionals, such as doctors or nurses. Most, if not all, Narconon staff members are “graduates” of the Narconon program. Some of the staff members have only completed the Narconon program as patients within the last few months. These staff members are now responsible for the care and supervision of patients with serious substance abuse problems. 67. Most, if not all, Narconon staff members have no other qualification for working with persons with substance abuse problems other than the fact that they completed the Narconon program. Narconon staff members have no formal training in healthcare, such as nursing, or in counseling. 68. Narconon documents indicate that the Narconon program is used to recruit patients into the Church of Scientology. For example, a Narconon document titled the “Narconon Technical LineUp” provides a flow chart of a patient’s experience into and through the Narconon program. The document shows that when a patient finishes the Narconon program, the patient is to be “route[d] to the nearest Org for further services if the individual so desires.” “Org” is Scientology jargon for an individual church providing services for the Church of Scientology. A copy of the “Narconon Technical Line-Up” is attached hereto as Exhibit D. 69. Further, Narconon considers its program to be the “Bridge to the Bridge.” That is, Narconon considers its program to be an initial step into getting on Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom,” the key spiritual journey that practitioners of the Scientology religion undertake. See, e.g., “Narconon News, 1974, Volume 6, Issue 3: Narconon Is The Bridge to The Bridge,” attached hereto as Exhibit E. 70. Since the early days of Narconon, Scientologists have considered Narconon to be an example of Scientology in action. Scientologists claim that Narconon’s “tech” is the world’s only solution to cure drug and alcohol addiction. Scientologists cite Narconon as a program based only on the practices, philosophy, and tenets of Scientology. 13 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 14 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 71. Narconon proponents believe that strict adherence to the L. Ron Hubbard technology alone will address the rehabilitation needs of persons suffering from addiction. Consequently, patients at Narconon centers receive no counseling or drug education in drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Instead, discussion of drugs and their effects, or the specifics of a patient’s drug use, is actively discouraged. 72. Narconon centers are forbidden from deviating from the L. Ron Hubbard “technology” in their treatment of patients in the Narconon program. D. 73. Harm to Plaintiffs Narconon never provided Peter any education about substance abuse, its causes and effects, or methods to deal with his addiction. Narconon provided him instruction only in Scientology. 74. Narconon had Peter unwittingly studying and practicing Scientology under the guise of providing him treatment. 75. While undergoing the sauna program, Peter began to experience strange heart palpitations. He reported the palpitations to Narconon staff who took him to see a doctor in Caliente, Nevada. 76. The doctor told Peter, in the presence of a Narconon staff member, that the doctor believed the high doses of Niacin Peter was receiving were causing his palpitations. The doctor recommended drastically reducing the Niacin or stopping it altogether. 77. Despite the doctor’s recommendation regarding Niacin, Narconon had Peter continue ingesting high doses of Niacin in accordance with its sauna program. 78. 79. Peter continues to have heart palpitations and remains under the care of a cardiologist. Plaintiff Lauren Geanacopulos visited her son shortly after he completed the sauna program. When she learned what was actually happening at the program – as opposed to what she was being told by Narconon – she took Peter out of the program. 14 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 15 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION BREACH OF CONTRACT 80. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference, as if fully set forth herein, each and every allegation set forth in the preceding paragraphs and further allege as follows: 81. Narconon contracted with Plaintiffs to provide, in exchange for consideration, secular, residential drug and alcohol treatment. 82. Narconon breached this contract by, inter alia: (i) failing to provide services constituting drug and alcohol treatment; and (ii) providing Scientology in lieu of drug and alcohol treatment. 83. Narconon’s breaches have caused Plaintiff to suffer damages in excess of $75,000.00. SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION FRAUD 84. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference, as if fully set forth herein, each and every allegation set forth in the preceding paragraphs and further alleges as follows: 85. The following is a non-exhaustive list of false representations Narconon knowingly made to the Plaintiffs: (i) that the Narconon Fresh Start program has a 76% success rate; (ii) that the Narconon program is secular and does not involve the study or practice of any religion; (iii) that Peter would receive counseling related to substance abuse; (iv) that Narconon’s sauna program, i.e, the Purification Rundown, is safe and has been scientifically shown to be effective; and (v) that Peter would be under the supervision of doctors or nurses at all during times during the program. 86. Dan Carmichael, a Narconon employee, made these statements to Plaintiffs on or about November 27, 2013, to induce Plaintiffs to admit Peter to Narconon. Narconon also made these statements on their website,, and Carmichael directed Plaintiffs to the site. Narconon staff made these same false representations to Plaintiffs throughout Peter’s stay at Narconon. 15 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 16 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 87. Had Plaintiffs known that any of the above representations Narconon made were false, they would not have admitted Peter to Narconon. 88. As a proximate result of Narconon’s fraudulent conduct, Plaintiffs have suffered mental anguish, physical injuries, and pecuniary damages in excess of $75,000.00. THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION NEGLIGENCE 89. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference, as if fully set forth herein, each and every allegation set forth in the preceding paragraphs and further allege as follows: 90. Narconon owed Plaintiffs a duty to render substance abuse treatment to Peter in a manner that did not subject him to an unreasonable risk of harm. 91. Narconon breached this duty by: (i) instructing Peter to sit in a sauna for 6 hours per day for five weeks while ingesting extreme dosages of Niacin and other vitamins; (ii) failing to staff the Narconon treatment facility, and particularly the sauna, with any qualified medical personnel; (iii) failing to provide duly qualified counselors to administer treatment; and (iv) providing Scientology in lieu of substance abuse treatment. 92. As a proximate result of Defendant’s breaches of the above duties, Peter suffered physical injuries, mental anguish, and pecuniary injuries in excess of $75,000.00. FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS 93. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference, as if fully set forth herein, each and every allegation set forth in the preceding paragraphs and further allege as follows: 94. Narconon engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct with the intention of causing, or with reckless disregard of the probability of causing Plaintiffs severe or extreme emotional distress. Narconon’s extreme and outrageous conduct consisted of, inter alia: (i) providing Scientology in lieu drug treatment or substance abuse counseling; and (ii) preying on Plaintiffs’ 16 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 17 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 vulnerabilities and attempting to recruit Peter into Scientology under the guise of providing drug treatment. 95. As a proximate result of Narconon’s extreme and outrageous conduct, Plaintiffs have suffered severe and extreme emotional distress way beyond what any person in a civilized society should be expected to endure. FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION (IN THE ALTERNATIVE) 96. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference, as if fully set forth herein, each and every allegation set forth in the preceding paragraphs and further allege as follows: 97. Narconon made false representation of fact to Plaintiffs as set forth above in paragraphs 85 and 86 herein with the intent to induce reliance on Plaintiffs’ part. Plaintiffs justifiably relied on these false representations, causing Plaintiffs substantial harm. 98. Narconon made these representations without using reasonable care. SIXTH CAUSE OF ACTION NEGLIGENCE PER SE 99. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference, as if fully set forth herein, each and every allegation set forth in the preceding paragraphs and further allege as follows: 100. Narconon performed procedures on Peter for which a medical license was required under NRS Chapter 630. Such procedures included having Peter discontinue his prescription medication and having Peter continue to ingest extreme doses of Niacin after being told by a licensed physician to stop taking Niacin. 101. As a proximate result, Peter suffered physical injuries including injury to his heart. DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL Plaintiffs demand a jury trial on all issues triable. 17 Case 2:14-cv-00629 Document 1 Filed 04/23/14 Page 18 of 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 PRAYER FOR RELIEF WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for the following relief: A. Judgment in favor of Plaintifsf and against Defendant for damages in such amounts as may be proven at trial; B. Compensation for special and general damages; C. Reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of suit; D. Interest at the statutory rate; E. Punitive or exemplary damages against Defendant; F. All further relief, both legal and equitable, that the Court deems just and proper. DATED this April 23, 2014. Respectfully submitted, By:/s/ Ryan A. Hamilton 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 18 RYAN A. HAMILTON, ESQ. NV BAR NO. 11587 HAMILTON LAW 5125 S. Durango Dr., Ste. C Las Vegas, NV 89113 (702) 818-1818 (702) 974-1139 [email protected] Attorney for Plaintiffs