Tom Cruise's $50 million lawsuit against Bauer Publishing Company, the publishers behind In Touch and Life & Style, will touch on the publishing company's alleged pattern of religious discrimination, according to court papers filed Thursday.
A Joint Rule 26(f) Report, filed by Cruise and Bauer in U.S. District Court in Central California on Thursday, lays out the parameters of the discovery process for the trial, offering hints at what tactics both sides might employ.
In the report, Cruise's legal team says that it believes discovery will need to be taken regarding "Bauer's history of bigotry and hatred toward minority religious groups and their members."
On Thursday, an investigative report by TheWrap uncovered Bauer Media Group's deep connections to Neo-Nazi magazines and pornography, with titles such as "Inglorious Bitches" and "Band of Bastards."
The report's reference to minority religious groups presumably would pertain to Cruise's standing as a Scientologist. It also says that Cruise's side expects that discovery will need to be taken regarding "Bauer's policies and practices with respect to publishing stories about Tom Cruise, Suri Cruise and Scientology or other minority religious groups."
The report also says that discovery will probably be sought regarding the "identity of Defendants' sources, and communications with those sources," though that will most likely be met with resistance by Bauer.
"Based upon the discovery that Plaintiff has propounded, Defendants anticipate asserting the applicable shield law(s) and other privileges that protect the identification of confidential sources," the report reads.
Bauer also brings up the subject of Scientology in the report. The company's legal team says that it believes discovery will be necessary for the "role, if any, that Plaintiff's membership in the Church of Scientology played in his decisions regarding his visitation and communications with Suri Cruise after his separation and divorce."
Lawyers for Bauer also say it will probably be necessary to explore his daughter "Suri Cruise's mental and emotional state following her parents' separation and divorce."
Cruise filed his defamation suit in October, claiming that Life & Style and In Touch falsely claimed that he had abandoned his daughter, Suri, following his split from wife Katie Holmes.
The actor's attorney, Bert Fields, called the tabloids' reports "a disgusting, vicious lie" and has characterized Bauer as "serial defamers."
The report says the trial is expected to last five days, if it makes it to court.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.