Cult Reporter Be Scofield Defeats Frivolous SLAPP Lawsuit filed by Minc Law and Aaravindha Himadra

Cult Reporter Be Scofield Defeats Frivolous SLAPP Lawsuit filed by Minc Law and Aaravindha Himadra



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Janis Briedis also known as Aaravindha Himadra and his lawyer Nadeen Hayden of Minc Law in Clevland Ohio were handed a defeat today when they were compelled to dismiss their defamation lawsuit against prominent cult reporter Be Scofield.

In February, Aaravindha hired Nadeen Hayden of Minc Law to bring a $250,000 lawsuit against Scofield for her investigation into Aaravindha’s Orcas Island cult and the suspicious death of his student. Two attorneys, Tim Cunningham and Ambika Doran from Davis Wright Tremaine represented Scofield pro bono. Once the lawsuit was filed it garnered local media attention with both the San Juan Islander covering it and the Islander Sounder as well.

No specific defamatory statements were ever listed in Minc Law’s lawsuit, however, a classic sign that it was a frivolous lawsuit also known as a SLAPP. Rather, they argued that the article in its entirety was defamatory. These types of lawsuits are designed to harass and intimidate journalists, often causing stress and financial strain.

After several months of motions and legal moves, Aaravindha and his attorneys were forced by Washington state law to list the specific statements which were defamatory in the article. It was at that crucial juncture that they chose to withdraw the lawsuit, proving that they had no actual grounds to file in the first place.

Aaravindha and Minc Law was previously dealt a loss in the case when Aaravidha was ordered by the court to pay Scofield’s legal team $2,500 for failing to abide by proper legal procedures. Cunningham and Doran sought to move the lawsuit from state court to federal court. In order to do so two criteria had to be met: Scofield had to not live in the state of Washington and the lawsuit must be for more than $75,000. While the initial letter to Scofield stated $250,000 Aaravindha’s legal team wouldn’t officially declare the amount they were seeking, a move Scofield’s lawyers argued was designed to frustrate their efforts moving to federal court. The judge agreed and ruled Minc Law’s effort was in “bad faith,” penalizing Aaravindha $2,500. The case was successfully moved to federal court.

Nadeen Hayden also filed a bogus claim that because Aaravindha had brief email contact with an attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine that there was a conflict in other attorneys from that firm representing Scofield. There is no relationship established however from simply replying to an email, otherwise, this would be a very easy tactic to get lawyers dismissed from cases. Hayden’s attempt was a disingenuous effort to remove legal support from Scofield’s case.

Aaron Minc (founder of Minc Law) and Nadeen Hayden

This victory for free speech will hopefully deter future SLAPP lawsuits against journalists and help make reporters aware that there are legal firms willing to represent them at no cost.

View original lawsuit here:

The court filing indicating that the case against Scofield has been dismissed.