(9/4/01 4:33 pm)
The following concerns the way the Bertolucci lawsuit was handled by SRF. The judge had order Daya Mata to be deposed and SRF apparently avoided and dodged it for months and months. Then the following happened.
I am really interested to know if the above is true. Did SRF really claim they didn’t want to proceed with the lawsuit, but then change their mind? It appears that ALL the directors witnessed this agreement. Was Daya Mata being used? Was she afraid to testify? If any of you were at this meeting, or know any other facts, please enlighten us. On the surface it appears that the SRF board “made false witness” to avoid Daya Mata having to testify.
I don’t know if the lawsuit is legitimate or not. My concern is with SRF’s behavior.
(10/4/01 8:31 pm)
I'm new to this message board and quite overwhelmed by what I'm reading here.
On 9/4/01 "Legal" posted a quote from the YoganandaRediscovered website about the meeting between Daya Mata, SRF board, and people from Ananda. Here it is, in case you don't remember it.
From the YoganandaRediscovered.com website
At this point, Daya Mata accepted Kriyananda's suggestion that both sides sit down together and try to settle the case.
A meeting was set for June 12,1997, at the Doubletree Hotel in Pasadena. The whole SRF board of directors was there to meet with Swami Kriyananda and Ananda leaders.
Daya Mata appeared to have had a complete change of heart. "No more lawsuits!" Daya Mata emphatically declared. Kriyananda and the Ananda leaders were treated by SRF with unprecedented consideration and respect. All over the world, Ananda members cheered when they heard the news. A new era of harmony and cooperation had begun—or so we thought.
One of the first concessions Daya Mata asked was that Ananda not take her deposition. As a gesture of goodwill, we agreed.
A few months later, settlement broke down when once again it became clear that SRF and Ananda had radically different ideas of what settlement meant. SRF resumed it's former attitude toward Ananda. And the window of opportunity to take Daya Mata's deposition had passed and could not be opened again.
"Legal" then asked if anyone was there and knows if this is true.
Well, I was there. It is true. That is just how it happened. And here is a little more....
The whole meeting was a complete change from anything that had ever happened before. SRFers had been instructed to treat the people from Ananda like equals. When Daya and the other matas went off with Kriyananda, SRFers sat with Ananda folk and talked about all we have in common -- like love for Master, sharing his teachings, doing Kriya. What gurubhais would naturally say to each other if they weren't suing or being sued.
Daya said, when she was with Kriyananda and the matas, that Master had told her to settle the lawsuit with Ananda.
That explained what was going on. Daya had said: No more lawsuits! And the way SRF was treating Ananda could only be explained by guru's intervention.
SRF's idea of what it means to settle this lawsuit is that Ananda will recognize that SRF has a superior right to represent the guru and that Ananda may represent the guru only because SRF gives Ananda permission to do so.
It should be noted that, even though SRF says the lawsuit is about protecting their copyrights, in fact, the lawsuit has been about SRF trying to establish copyrights. Sure, they have copyrights on the books they have made from Master's writing. But as for what Master himself did -- the original books and writings, in other words -- SRF has never been able to persuade the court to recognize their ownership claims. They've spent millions of dollars and eleven years, but they just can't do it. Does that tell us something about Master's will?
Still, when it comes time to discuss settlement, SRF acts as if they are still the recognized owner of Master's writings and expects Ananda to agree to conditions that allow them to use those writings only with SRF permission. In other words, SRF asks Ananda to give back all the rights they have spent ten years in court defending.
Naturally, Ananda won't do it.
So, after Daya escaped from the court-ordered deposition, the treating as equals gave way to the usual expectation of subservience to SRF's superior position.
Of course, Ananda said no.
There you have it.
Was it all just a cunning plot by Daya to get out of the deposition? That is a terrible thought.
Another posting was also about the SRF vs. Ananda lawsuit. It had to do with Ananda Mata. Here is the quote.
The problem was, Ananda Mata's declaration about these four photographs was directly contradicted by her own testimony in an earlier deposition. Judge Garcia declared Ananda Mata untrustworthy as a witness, and for this, and other reasons, he ruled that SRF had no valid claim on the remaining four.
The question asked by "Reader" was , did Ananda Mata really do this.
Again, the answer is, yes.
Ananda Mata was not pleased to have her deposition taken. Deposition is what happens before a lawsuit comes to trial where a lawyer asks questions and the witness has to answer under oath -- those of you who have never been in a lawsuit might be blissfully ignorant of this process.
Anyway, Ananda Mata was Not Pleased to be forced to answer questions and dealt with many questions by saying "I don't know." "I don't remember." Or just refusing to answer in one way or another.
SRF has claimed Ananda has used photos that belong exclusively to them, but, as mentioned above, SRF does not have clearly established copyrights on anything.
Copyrights on photos are particularly hard to prove. Just owning them, even owning the negatives, is not proof of ownership, You have to know who took, them, when, why, etc. -- and have proof that they were given to you by the person who took them.
Ananda Mata was the Keeper of the Photos and seemed to be the only one who knew anything about them. But, really, who could remember who took what photos, when, and why. Also, as mentioned, she was miffed to be forced to answer.
So, when asked, under oath, she said she didn't know who took the pictures.
Well, that didn't work out as well as she hoped. Because, later in the case, SRF had to prove that an SRFer had taken those pictures. And Ananda Mata was the only one in a position to know, so she simply said, now, that she did know.
The judge -- who has been on this case since the beginning, is pretty savvy about what is going on. Ananda, naturally, pointed out that what Ananda Mata said now was exactly the opposite of what she said earlier. The judge said her declaration was so self-serving that he refused to consider it.
It was too obvious.
Alas, in that situation, only a jury has the right to decide who is telling the truth and who is not. So when SRF appealed, the fact that the judge had done that caused the case to be sent back to him.
The judge was not pleased, because he knew he was right.
So, that is that story in more detail.
Unfotunately, SRF early on got just about everything in their case against Ananda declared ultra secret. All the papers they file are "under seal" and no one can see them. How convenient.
(10/5/01 6:31 am)
Do you want to know what legal maneuver would send shock waves through SRF???
A Class Action Law Suit. Believe me, they live in fear of that happening. If everyone that has been mistreated by SRF,or even just a fraction of the souls that have, would ban together and file a suit, you would see a lot more gray hairs on the bad ladies.
(10/5/01 6:57 am)
Think through the possible outcome of a class action lawsuit. What are the possible things that might happen?
They could give us all some money or they could win and cost us all a bunch of money.
They might be publicly embarrassed and then the next generation would take over. But the next generation would be just as bad.
Is there anyway it could start them treating employees and monastics better, even respectfully?
Is there anyway they could quit focusing on themselves and finish publishing Master’s words, pictures, voice, and videos?
Would it just cause them to freak out more and more and fire everyone? Or hire more lawyers?
(10/5/01 8:43 am)
Are court proceedings on public record somewhere? Can one read court transcripts, depostions, etc. Don't understand what records can be "sealed" and why...Does anyone know?
(10/5/01 1:50 pm)
In answer to the question about whether court papers are in the public record:
Generally speaking, court documents are a matter of public record. However, either side in a lawsuit can petition the court for an order restricting access to certain materials. People do this to keep things out of the paper, to protect trade secrets and various other reasons.
For example, if it is a patent dispute, one side or another may not want to reveal the details of the product they are working on. In such cases, the depositions, and other papers in the case can be filed "under seal." That means only the lawyers, judges, and certain other designated parties can see the papers.
Early on in this case, SRF filed a request for a massive, far-reaching restriction on access to anything they deemed secret. For various reasons, they managed to obtain this order, which is about the only significant decision SRF has won in eleven years.
The result is, that SRF can -- and in fact does -- designate just about everything in this case as highly restricted. Beyond the lawyers, their assistants, and the judge and his assistants, only a handful of people -- even at SRF and Ananda -- can look at most of the papers, and depositions in this case. No member of the media or of the public can have access to them. No rank and file SRF member or rank and file Ananda member can see them.
At the time of trial -- if this thing actually goes all the way to that absurd conclusion -- alot of the restictions have to be lifted in order to have a trial. Then much will be made public. Until then, almost nothing is.
Of course, that makes it harder to prove things such as what is quoted above about certain actions by SRF. The Court of Appeals decisions are public, and court transcripts are public, but many of the documents filed by SRF are entirely inaccessible. You can get their original complaint against Ananda -- which is worth reading -- and a few things after, before the secrecy order was granted.
Many of Ananda's documents are available. But certain portions even of theirs are restricted because they include restricted portions of SRF's.
FYI it is United States District Court for the Eastern District of Califorina, Self-Realization Fellowship vs. Ananda Church of Self-Realization, Case # CIV-90-0846 EJG EM
SRF probably won't give you a copy of the complaint, although you might try. Ananda will give you a copy if you ask.
(10/5/01 4:06 pm)
Isn't SRF a non-profit? I posted somewhere else that you can order a copy of SRF's annual report Form 990. I wouldn't no if a restrictive order would quash access. Anyone else know?
P.S. A Class Action should be considered