A new database section devoted exclusively to Landmark Education’s litigation efforts is up and running. This includes Landmark’s humiliating defeat by lawyers representing CultNews and its sponsor the Ross Institute of New Jersey.
The new subsection contains interesting material obtained through various court files that sheds considerable light upon the legal wrangling, inner workings and business dealings of the controversial for-profit company that sells seminar training courses.
The mass maarathon training that Landmark promotes and markets to individuals and companies alike has been described as “cultish,” “cult-like” and compared to both “brainwashing” and “hypnosis.”
Landmark, which has a history of bad press, complaints and lawsuits filed against it by past participants claiming serious personal injuries linked to its programs, has historically sued its critics in an apparent effort to silence them.
This strategy relied upon defendants either unable or unwilling to pay substantial legal fees and costs. This type of litigation is often simply called a “harassment lawsuit.”
However, Landmark was thwarted in its effort to harass the Ross Institute through the kind assistance of pro bono legal counsel and so it instead suffered a humiliating public defeat.
Now everyone can read how that defeat was accomplished and take a guided tour through Landmark’s litigation written by the very attorneys that caused the company for the first time to file for the dismissal of its own lawsuit.
Peter L. Skolnik and Michael A. Norwick of the prestigious New Jersey law firm Lowenstein Sandler have written an excellent overview making it easy for the reader to follow the often twisted path of Landmark’s litigation, see the filings complete with attached exhibits.
Erhard reportedly sold control of his company to a group of employees more in 1991, but it has been run by his brother Harry Rosenberg and legally represented by Erhard crony Art Schreiber ever since. Some have speculated that Erhard never really completely relinquished control of the company and still remains a power behind-the-scenes.
The papers formalizing the sale of EST are now accessible on-line through the Internet in the new subsection, complete with payment records. Erhard, who is now an old man, lives reclusively with his girlfriend in the Cayman Islands at Georgetown.
Confidential manual excerpts reflect the seemingly sinister side of Landmark’s inner workings. Its training manual states, “a Landmark Forum Supervisor’ needs to be an s.o.b. for impeccability. You need to give up a concern for being liked. . . . Be a destroyer. . . . ” and “Don’t ever let people move or stand up or talk before you have declared the start of the break. Don’t ever let stuff like that go by. Ever, ever, ever.”
Landmark’s various apparent harassment lawsuits are detailed within the new subsection. This includes documents and related exhibits from Landmark’s litigation against Erhard biographer Steven Pressman, Elle Magazine, Self Magazine, Now Magazine, the Cult Awareness Network and its director Cynthia Kisser, psychologist and author Margaret Singer, cult deprogrammer Kevin Garvey and author Janja Lalich.
Also included is material from lawsuits filed against Landmark Education, notably Been V. Weed regarding a wrongful death claim and the Neff case, which involved a woman beaten and raped by David Grill when he was the Executive Director of Landmark Education in Dallas, Texas.
Other lawsuits filed against Landmark that are also noted reflect a repeated of personal injury claims. Landmark appeared to address this by insisting potential participants in its programs sign away their right to a trial by jury if an injury occurred and instead submit to binding arbitration.
All of this material has now been carefully organized into a virtual electronic library, which provides those interested with a historical inventory regarding Landmark’s legal history.
Hopefully, anyone legally threatened by Landmark in the future will use this resource for any needed research or due dilligence.
CultNews hopes that this information may reduce the unreasonable fear some journalists and critics may have regarding reporting about and/or criticizing Landmark Education and its course curriculum.
It should be apparent to anyone reviewing this material that Landmark has lost lawsuits repeatedly. And that any future lawsuit, which fits within this historical pattern of frivolous filings, should be viewed within that context by those concerned such as potential targets, concerned lawyers and the courts.
Perhaps as a result of its most recent defeat and the subsequent public revelations, Landmark’s operators will reconsider filing frivolous lawsuits in the future. If not because this type of activity lacks integrity and is an abuse of the legal system, then because with so much historical information readily available, those harassed may subsequently successfully seek costs, fees and sanctions.
Perhaps Lowenstein Sandler and its able attorneys Peter Skolnik and Michael Norwick have educated Landmark and caused the company to reconsider running what can be seen as a legal “racket.” And just maybe Landmark will learn a lesson from its recent defeat and take responsibility for its actions. Now that would really be a “breakthrough,” wouldn’t it?