Scientology Church Appeals AntiSLAPP Ruling in Leah Remini Civil Suit

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Attorneys for the Church of Scientology Friday filed a notice of appeal regarding a judge's mixed ruling earlier this month on the church's anti-SLAPP motion in Leah Remini's lawsuit.

Friday's filing comes 17 days after Judge Randolph M. Hammock ruled that portions of Remini's case against the church will proceed for now, but eliminated enough other parts of it to prompt the issuance of a church statement proclaiming the ruling a "resounding victory" and stating that its lawyers will seek attorneys' fees.

The 40-page court filing includes a copy of Hammock's March 12 final order, but does not indicate where the church attorneys believe the ruling is incorrect.

The actress' original suit was brought Aug. 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court and included allegations of civil harassment, stalking, intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation. Scientology Church leader David Miscavige is also a defendant in both the first suit and an updated complaint brought Aug. 29. On Tuesday, his attorneys filed court papers seeking to remove Hammock from the case.

After leaving the church in 2013, Remini became a high-profile critic. She published a memoir in 2015, "Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology," and later hosted three seasons of the docuseries, "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath," on A&E.

An anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion is rooted in a law intended to prevent people from using courts, and potential threats of a lawsuit, to intimidate those who are exercising their First Amendment rights.

The suit from the 53-year-old "The King of Queens" star alleges that Scientologists "have undertaken a campaign to ruin and destroy the life and livelihood of Leah Remini, a former Scientologist of nearly 40 years, a two- time Emmy-award winning producer, actress and New York Times best-selling author, after she was deemed a suppressive person and declared fair game by Scientology in 2013, when she publicly departed Scientology."

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