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Scientology sued for Fraud! It's going DOWN like bird sh**! (The Garcia Suit)

Discussion in 'Media' started by BlackRob, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. TorontosRoot Member

    I wouldn't be too surprised if the judge sent quite a few scientoloonies to jail, once their behind the scenes interference is caught and sent to the courts. Now if out of those 500 selected scifags, a few decide to realise how much of a fraud the cult is, leave and side with the garcia's (it's a long-shot) then all hell could break loose. I have my doubts.
  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    Seeking to break legal logjam, judge asks for list of Scientologists to arbitrate church lawsuit

    By Dan Sullivan, Tampa Bay Times

    Quote:

    More than two years ago, a federal judge in a high profile lawsuit against the Church of Scientology told both sides to settle the matter outside court.

    Since then, the case has gone nowhere because neither party can agree on an arbitrator. So now the judge in Tampa plans to pick three random Scientologists in California and ask them to resolve the case.

    "Candidly, my sense is that you are not cooperating in the selection of an arbitrator," U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore told the parties in a court hearing this month. "This case will be arbitrated and I have explored avenues that I can follow, if you will, in forcing you to do this."

    He ordered the church to assemble a list of 500 Scientologists "in good standing" with the church who live in the greater Los Angeles area, where the plaintiffs reside. From that list, the judge will select three people at random to serve as arbitrators.

    "(The case has) been going on four years and I expect it will be going on for a long time," said Ted Babbitt, a West Palm Beach attorney representing the plaintiffs, Luis and Rocio Garcia.

    <snipped>

    Whittemore ordered the church to give him within 15 days a list of 500 Scientologists in good standing, selected at random in the greater Los Angeles area, where the arbitration is to be held. The list would include each person's contact information and notes indicating which work for the church.

    From that list, the judge will select three to serve as arbitrators. He also ordered that neither the church nor the Garcias interfere with his selection or contact any of the people selected to serve. He threatened sanctions.

    Joseph Varner, a civil trial lawyer in Tampa who is not involved in the case, said the move is a bit unusual, but so is the inability to arbitrate.

    "I can't speak for Judge Whittemore, but I would think any judge would be disappointed that he told the parties to pick an arbitrator two years ago and they haven't been able to arbitrate," Varner said. "I've never encountered anything like that."

    An attorney for the church did not return calls for comment.

    "We don't know what's going to happen," Babbitt said.

    More at http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts...ge-asks-for-list-of-scientologists-to/2321577
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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology submits names of 500 members to federal court as ordered, but there’s a catch

    By Tony Ortega, April 27, 2017

    Quote:

    Whoa, Nelly. We’re going to find out soon just how far the Church of Scientology can push an already amped-up federal judge.

    Two weeks ago, we told you the bizarre new twist in Luis and Rocio Garcia’s 2013 federal fraud lawsuit, which had Tampa Judge James Whittemore becoming so fed up he took matters into his own hands. In 2015, Whittemore ruled that the Garcias had signed contracts which required them to take any disputes to Scientology’s internal arbitration and he stayed the lawsuit. Since then, both sides have been unable to select arbitrators, with each accusing the other of operating in bad faith.

    Tired of the fighting, Whittemore asked Scientology’s attorneys to file a request that would enable the judge himself to intervene. He then ordered the church to submit to him in just 15 days the names and contact information of 500 Scientologists in good standing in the Los Angeles area. Whittemore said he would select three names at random to serve as arbitrators to get the two sides beyond the impasse, and if he found out that either side tried to interfere with the process or contacted any of the people he selected, he would impose sanctions, which could even result in jail time.

    We now have Scientology’s response, which indicates that the document was filed along with a sealed envelope for the judge containing the 500 names — but just names, with no contact information.

    Scientology says it believes that Whittemore contacting Scientologists directly would be diving too directly into the church’s internal matters. The church is asking Whittemore to choose one name at random, and then submit it to Scientology’s “International Justice Chief,” Mike Ellis, who will contact the chosen Scientologist to see if they are willing and able to serve as an arbitrator.

    Any other procedure would inevitably lead to chaos. A Scientologist in good standing is unlikely to agree to participate in an arbitration proceeding without assurances from the IJC that the proceeding is authorized under Church law. If the Court were to contact a person it has selected, that person undoubtedly immediately would contact a local Church official or the IJC for information and advice, and quite possibly a lawyer.

    Uh, yeah. We pointed out that exact problem two weeks ago.

    Anyway, the upshot is, Whittemore asked for phone numbers, and Scientology is telling him to go fish.
    Oh, and we did say that they are asking the judge to select just one name, not three.

    You see, Scientology attorney Robert Potter reminds the judge that according to the church’s internal rules, the Garcias were supposed to select one arbitrator, the church would then select the second, and then those two arbitrators would choose a third.

    The church has asked Whittemore to choose just one arbitrator from the list of 500 names as the Garcia’s choice, and then the church will reveal its choice for the second arbitrator, and so on.

    So after Judge Whittemore pretty angrily put his foot down and said he’d select the entire three-person panel, Scientology is telling him he can only select one. And not by telephone.

    We’ll be interested to see how the judge reacts to that.

    Continued at http://tonyortega.org/2017/04/27/sc...00-members-to-federal-court-but-with-a-catch/
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  4. TorontosRoot Member

    Bloody he'll. I bet he won't be too happy.
  5. Quentinanon Member

    I think this demonstrates the contempt the scientology crime syndicate has for "mere WOG law", judges and courts.
    Going through the so-called "international justice chief" who is a brainwashed sea ogre, creates the very situation that the judge warned each party about, interference, by means of dilatory tactics, Mike Ellis, "The party you chose said he was busy studying to be a minister of the church and had no time for an arbitration." and/or not answering the judge for as long as he could, and/or briefing the person about the case with insinuations that if the chosen person did not vote as the cult wants, he would be declared an SP.
    Judge Whittemore should hold scientology in contempt for defying his order and sanction them with daily fines until they comply.
    Jail time is pretty meaningless as the cult will portray that as "religious persecution", demonize the judge, and still not comply. The Ronbot will sit in jail for the cult thinking that he/she is saving the universe.
    The only thing that will get compliance from the scientology criminal enterprise are hefty daily fines. $10,000 per day will get their attention.
    In scientology, money talks.
  6. The Wrong Guy Member

    Garcias answer: Was Scientology not paying attention to an angry federal judge?

    By Tony Ortega, April 29, 2017

    Excerpt:

    Now, the Garcias have filed an answer with the help of their attorney Ted Babbitt, and you can probably predict the message: Scientology, were you not listening?

    Not only did Judge Whittemore make it very clear in an April 7 hearing that he would choose all three arbitrators, but Babbitt points out Scientology wants to choose its own arbitrator after the Garcias have lost the chance to choose their own, an unfair advantage.

    Babbitt also reminds the court that it had asked not only for 500 names of Scientologists, but also their addresses, occupations, and telephone numbers, as well as indicating which of them are employees of the church. But after Judge Whittemore made it very obvious that he wants the information so he can contact potential arbitrators himself, and he warned both sides with jail time if they interfered or contacted the people on the list themselves, Scientology’s attorneys are now telling the judge they do intend to contact potential arbitrators on the judge’s behalf.

    Well, that should tell Judge Whittemore all he needs to know about Scientology’s sincerity, Babbitt writes.

    The concern of the Defendants about a potential arbitrator participating in the proceedings demonstrates what both the Defendants and the Plaintiffs know about the arbitration process being nothing more than a sham. Defendants know that if the Court contacts Scientology members in good standing, none would consent to act as arbitrator unless the Defendants assure them that they would not be themselves declared or excommunicated if they serve as arbitrators. This is a very justified fear on the part of potential arbitrators who are in good standing. The Court knows from the testimony received by the Court in this case that if any Scientologist in good standing would dare to question the Church of Scientology in an arbitration proceeding, they would be automatically declared or excommunicated. Under the rules of Scientology, they are not even allowed to be in the same room with Mr. or Mrs. Garcia because the Garcias are declared. They are not allowed to speak to them and if they dared to find against Scientology they themselves would be excommunicated. The only way they could participate in an arbitration proceeding would be if they were assured by the Church that they could conspire with the Church to find in favor of Scientology. Anything less than that would lead to their own excommunication. As the Court knows from the testimony it received, that is no small matter. If a Scientologist is declared by the Church, their wives and husbands, in order to remain in the Church, would have to divorce them and never speak to them again. If their children were in the Church and they are declared, their children would never speak to them again. They couldn’t ever see their grandchildren because of the insular nature of Scientology they would lose all their friends, associates and business contacts. It would completely destroy their lives. These are people who are supposed to act as impartial and disinterested arbitrators.

    Babbitt writes that this will become plain to Whittemore as he tries to contact arbitrators, and will, the Garcias hope, finally convince the judge to declare Scientology’s internal arbitration unworkable and lift the stay on the lawsuit itself. For now, at least, they ask the judge to deny Scientology’s motion that’s in such defiance of his April 10 order.

    More at http://tonyortega.org/2017/04/29/ga...t-paying-attention-to-an-angry-federal-judge/
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  7. The Internet Member

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  8. TorontosRoot Member

    Let's hope it goes in the garcia's favour.
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  9. Ogsonofgroo Member

    Finally figuring it out they are, this is pretty awesome. Of course the cult's next move will be their usual bawwing "Oh noes oh noes persecution/prejudice/bigotry!".
    I hope they get their asses handed to them on a giant platter, all torn to shreds and ready to eat, Babbitt sounds like he's got some decent marbles knocking around in his brain-pan, good!
    Hats doffed to the Garcias for keeping up the good fight and seeking due justice, huge kudos man, takes truly brave hearts to continue this sort of battle, especially with CoS who are well heeled and lawyered-up with their usual gang of ass-kissing, sycophantic, over-paid shills. I venture that you gotta have a soul to sell it, did any of them?/do they... cult continues to circle the ever-flushing edge of the Big Commode in a shit soup of their own creation.

    My opinion, if ya don't like it, meh, go for a pizza.
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  10. TorontosRoot Member

    P133A is sooo g00d! Then again, teh cult wouldn't afford pizza, just far less than rice and beans, malnourishing goodies!
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  11. Ogsonofgroo Member

    Lolol, maybe one day they could add shredded ass to their beans? 'A spicey flavour combination of bitterness and despair, with a slight hint of aged whiskey and pain'

    Gah, time for bed, I go now lololololing :p
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  12. DeathHamster Member

    While they would hate a settlement, the one thing they would hate even more is anything that punches a hole in their 1st amendment religious protection and declares that their "arbitration" is a fraudulent sham. That would pave the way for lawsuits with juries setting the damages.
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  13. The Wrong Guy Member

    Judge Whittemore puts his foot down: Scientology, cough up those phone numbers!

    By Tony Ortega, May 2, 2017

    Quote:

    It didn’t take Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore very long to issue a new order after Scientology essentially thumbed its nose at his previous one, and wow, does he appear steamed.

    In the new order, which we have for you below, the judge has given the Church of Scientology just ten days to fork over the telephone numbers and occupations left off of a list of 500 names the church had previously submitted under seal, which supposedly represent 500 Los Angeles-area church members in good standing.

    <snipped>

    So the judge has now issued a very brief order reiterating that Scientology must turn over the contact information to go along with the 500 names so that he can select all three panelists.

    Former church officials have told us that an outsider like a federal judge cold-calling Scientologists has disaster written all over it, and they say the church will find it extremely difficult to comply with this order. We can hardly wait to see if they do.

    More at http://tonyortega.org/2017/05/02/ju...own-scientology-cough-up-those-phone-numbers/
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  14. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology forks over phone numbers to federal judge, who puts his foot down again

    By Tony Ortega, May 20, 2017

    Quote:

    On May 1, Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore gave the Church of Scientology just ten days to turn over the phone numbers and occupations of 500 Los Angeles-area Scientologists whose names the church had previously turned into the court under seal. It’s been more than a week since that deadline passed, and now we have evidence that the church did comply.

    We learned that the church met the deadline from a footnote in a new order that Judge Whittemore issued yesterday, in which he reinforced just how much he’s taken control of a case that has fascinated us since it was first filed as a federal fraud lawsuit by a California couple, Luis and Rocio Garcia, back in January 2013.

    The Garcias say they were lied to and defrauded by the church in order to convince them to turn over hundreds of thousands of dollars for a building project. But in 2015 Judge Whittemore ruled that membership contracts signed by the Garcias required them to submit their grievances to an internal Scientology arbitration process, and he stayed the lawsuit. Since then the Garcias and the church have been unable to agree on a set of three arbitrators to hear the matter, who according to Scientology must be church members in good standing. Whittemore became fed up with the two sides fighting over the process and decided to step in. He asked Scientology to submit an application that would give him the power to choose the arbitrators, and ordered the church to turn over the list of 500 Scientologists.

    In a hearing last month, Scientology’s attorney, Wally Pope, appeared to agree with the idea that Whittemore would choose all three arbitrators. But by the time the church came back with its list of church members in good standing, it argued in a new motion that the judge should only choose one arbitrator, for the Garcias, and the church would take care of the other two. The church also insisted that it should contact any church members on behalf of the court, and did not turn over any phone numbers.

    But as we reported earlier, that didn’t sit well with Whittemore, who gave the church ten days to turn over that contact information for the 500 Scientologists. And now, he’s reiterated his authority to choose all three arbitrators, even as he “granted” Scientology’s motion that he choose just one.

    It’s one of the more creative legal “fuck yous” we’ve seen in a while, frankly.

    WhittemoreSnip1-e1495274584411.jpg

    Did you get that? “Yes, I’m granting the church’s motion that I choose one person, and I’m choosing three. So suck it.”

    Now that’s a sick burn.

    And the situation is getting downright surreal. A federal judge in Tampa has a list of 500 names, with contact information, for Scientologists in good standing in the Los Angeles area, and he (or his clerks) are going to begin randomly choosing from that list to call up Scientologists to see if they would be willing to sit on an arbitration panel to decide a dispute brought by a couple of excommunicated top former church members, people the church has “declared suppressive” and instructed its members to have no contact with of any kind.

    Whittemore has already threatened to throw into jail the attorneys for either side if he finds evidence that any of them tries to interfere with this process by contacting those potential arbitrators independently.

    Which means that Whittemore thinks he’ll be able to convince three Scientologists to agree to become arbitrators without immediately running to the church or checking with its internal gestapo, the Office of Special Affairs.

    Truly, this has the potential to become one of Scientology’s greatest clusterfucks of all time.

    Or maybe we’re being too cynical and Judge Whittemore really will be able pull this off and will soon find three Scientologists to say, “sure, judge, I’ll be happy to serve” without running to the church in a panic first.

    Crazier things have happened.

    Here’s the judge’s order, one of the more passive-aggressive legal documents we’ve seen in a while. Let us know what you find in its depths.

    Continued at http://tonyortega.org/2017/05/20/sc...o-federal-judge-who-puts-his-foot-down-again/
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  15. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology to federal court: A judge calling our members directly? Are you nuts?

    By Tony Ortega, June 3, 2017

    Quote:

    The last time we checked in on the Garcia fraud lawsuit, Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore sounded like he’d lost all patience with the Church of Scientology. He restated, in no uncertain terms, that he was fed up with the bickering on both sides and was taking over the process of selecting a panel of arbitrators from a list of 500 Los Angeles-area Scientologists submitted by the church under seal.

    But once again, the church is risking the judge’s wrath. It filed a motion yesterday questioning the judge’s intentions, and we’re almost starting to feel sorry for church attorney Wally Pope, who no doubt must be submitting this stuff under the insistence of his diminutive client, Scientology leader David Miscavige.

    If you remember, California couple Luis and Rocio Garcia filed their fraud lawsuit in 2013, claiming that the church had lied in order to get large donations from them. In 2015, however, Judge Whittemore sided with Scientology, saying that the Garcias were required by contracts they signed as church members to submit their grievances to internal Scientology arbitration, and he stayed the lawsuit. But in the two years since then, the two sides have been unable to seat a panel of arbitrators, who must be church members in good standing. So Whittemore stepped in and decided he would select the panel, and ordered the church to turn over the list of 500 names and phone numbers.

    Scientology complied, but now it has filed a new motion asking the judge, essentially, to rethink what he’s already very forcefully indicated that he’s going to do.

    Just as we had, Scientology is anticipating that things aren’t going to go very smoothly if Judge Whittemore (or his clerks) begin randomly calling Los Angeles Scientologists and asking them to serve as arbitrators — and at the same time, instructing them not to go running to the church, which is under strict orders not to contact any of the people on the list.

    Can you imagine? You’re a paranoid, indoctrinated, and fully frightening Scientologist, already dreading the next visit or phone call from church vultures who want you to donate more, more, more, and out of the blue you get a phone call from Florida and it’s supposed to be some judge asking you to sit in judgment of the church and not tell anyone about it.

    Does that have Xenuriffic disaster written all over it or what?

    The church sure seems to think so.

    Defendants have expressed to the Court their concerns that direct contact to Scientology parishioners from a civil court about Scientology justice proceedings may cause alarm of such individuals, who did not assume their identities and contact information would be disclosed to a court without notice, as well as about the practical problems that may arise from this process. It also raises ecclesiastical questions, because parishioners may raise questions about such contacts with appropriate Church officials. Indeed, it is possible parishioners may decline to discuss the matter until contacting such persons.

    Ya think?

    Of course compliant Scientologists, already scared witless by a lifetime of security interrogations and other Scientology scare tactics, are going to freak out in this situation.

    In his last order, Whittemore had suggested that Scientology’s attorneys notify church officials of what’s going on so they aren’t caught blindsided. This assumes the quaint notion that David Miscavige isn’t already being kept informed of every minute detail of what’s been happening in this case. But Wally plays along and pretends that this isn’t the case:

    Defendants are under an injunction not to discuss this matter or the Court’s directives, even with Church officials, some of whom are on the list presented to the Court. Defendants are uncertain what it is they should or even are permitted to say to “Church officials,” let alone what the Court requests that the defendants instruct such officials to say to a parishioner who is contacted by the Court and then seeks advice from such a Church official.

    Did you catch that? Among the 500 names submitted to the court are church “officials,” which is interesting — you’d think with millions (*cough cough*) of Scientologists to choose from, they could have avoided submitting the name of executives, who clearly shouldn’t be on an arbitrating panel.

    Wally (or rather, his client) goes on to bring up “religious” complications whenever possible because, you know, this is a church and it’s all churchy and stuff. Like, how can a church member go on an arbitrating panel if they’re deep into the really religious activity of running around a pole? (That’s what you do in the very religious Scientology course called the “Cause Resurgence Rundown,” for you beginners.)

    A parishioner who is on a particular intense course of religious counseling or study may seek advice whether he may interrupt that activity to participate in religious arbitration. Such religious questions are far beyond the competence of this or any court to answer, and must be referred or left to the discretion of the religious authorities.

    Four uses of the word “religious” in two sentences! That’s gotta be a record.

    Even though the judge has already reacted angrily at the notion, Pope once again suggests that Judge Whittemore employ a prophylactic measure in order to protect the sanctity of Scientology from becoming infected. He’s written up a cute letter that the court could send out as if it were coming from Scientology’s International Justice Chief, Mike Ellis.

    “I am writing to inquire whether you would be willing and able to participate in a religious arbitration concerning a dispute between two former Scientologists and several Scientology churches concerning claims made by the former for refunds of donations made to such churches,” begins the letter, which we have for you in full below.

    Will the judge go for it? Well, he’s going to need to do something about nutty Scientologists freaking out when they get a call from a federal court. But it’s hard to see this judge submitting to Scientology’s suggestions after the heartburn he’s clearly already experienced in this case.

    Please give the motion and the letter a good look, and let us know how you think the judge is going to react.

    Continued at http://tonyortega.org/2017/06/03/sc...ge-calling-our-members-directly-are-you-nuts/
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  16. The Wrong Guy Member

    Federal judge urged to ignore Scientology whining and get on with arbitration disaster

    By Tony Ortega, June 8, 2017

    Quote:

    Luis and Rocio Garcia are more aware than anyone that when Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore begins calling Scientologists to ask for their participation in an arbitration, all hell is likely to break loose.

    But as they point out in a new court filing, they think it’s important for the judge to learn that on his own, and Scientology should stop complaining and get out of the way. Here’s how the Garcias’ attorney Ted Babbitt put it in their response to Scientology’s most recent whiny motion:

    If [it’s] true that Scientologists by their nature would hesitate to be involved in any proceeding directed by this Court shouldn’t the Court find that out? If Scientologists simply wouldn’t take part in a fair and unbiased proceeding isn’t that exactly what the Court should know? If it is true as Defendants’ state in Page 3 of their current motion, “that direct contact to Scientology parishioners from a civil court about Scientology procedure may cause alarm of such individuals” doesn’t that confirm what Plaintiffs have argued?

    What the Garcias have been arguing since they filed their fraud lawsuit in 2013 is that they were lied to by a church that has no scruples about manipulating its members in order to get donations from them. The church argued back that the Garcias had signed membership contracts requiring them to submit any grievances to internal arbitration, and in 2015 Judge Whittemore agreed, staying the lawsuit. But in the two years since then, the two sides have been unable to set up a panel of three arbitrators, who must be Scientologists in good standing. So Whittemore stepped in, ordering the church to give him the names and contact information for 500 Los Angeles-area Scientologists so he (or his clerks) could personally call people from the list and set up the three-member arbitration panel.

    Multiple times, Scientology has filed motions essentially telling the judge he can’t do that, and the Garcias, in this new filing, point out that the church’s complaints simply reflect what a sham the arbitration is. (Multiple former Scientology executives have testified that the contracts were fraudulently set up to keep members from getting refunds, and the church itself admitted in court that it has never, in its decades-long history, ever even attempted an internal arbitration in the past.)

    So now the Garcias have submitted their response, encouraging Judge Whittemore to ignore the church’s attempted roadblocks, and the real fun should begin. Start making phone calls, judge!

    Continued at http://tonyortega.org/2017/06/08/fe...whining-and-get-on-with-arbitration-disaster/
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  17. The Internet Member

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  18. The Wrong Guy Member

    Federal judge tells Scientology to cool its jets, says arbitration is ‘imminent’

    By Tony Ortega, June 28, 2017

    Quote:

    Well, there goes Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore again, telling off Scientology and leaving no doubt where he stands. If you recall, the last time we visited the Luis and Rocio Garcia fraud lawsuit against the church, Scientology had asked Whittemore to clarify his latest court order. Judge Whittemore, clarify? Did he stutter?

    The quick recap: The Garcias, a California couple, filed their fraud lawsuit against the church in 2013, but two years later Whittemore decided that the Garcias were bound to follow contracts they had signed as church members which required them to take their grievances to Scientology’s internal arbitration scheme (a scheme which, former top church officials testified, didn’t actually exist; they claimed that the contracts were shams intended to keep Scientologists from getting refunds).

    After Whittemore stayed the lawsuit and ordered the Garcias to submit to the church’s arbitration scheme, the two sides clashed over how to find arbitrators, which the church insisted had to be members in good standing. After two years of bickering, Whittemore was fed up and asked Scientology’s attorneys to submit an application so he could legally step in. He proposed choosing all three arbitrators from a list of members he compelled the church to turn over, but Scientology then submitted a whiny motion asking the judge to “clarify” how he was going to cold-call Scientologists and convince them to serve on an arbitration panel without setting off a disaster in the paranoid church. The Garcias asked the judge to ignore Scientology’s complaints and get on with things.

    And that’s what Judge Whittemore has done, telling the church to go fish with its complaints.

    Defendants now seek “clarification” as to three aspects of the Court’s May 19th Order, all of which simply rehash previous arguments and will not be reconsidered…

    Then, the judge adds a cute addendum. He says the church’s attorneys can notify its “officers” about what’s going on — as if they haven’t been keeping church leader David Miscavige up on every move in the case.

    And what does the judge say the church can tell its officers?

    “Arbitration is imminent,” the judge says.

    Oh, really? That’s actually a pretty stunning suggestion. We were pretty skeptical that Judge Whittemore would be able to find three Scientologists in good standing who would be able to sit objectively in judgment of their own church. But if such a thing is “imminent,’ then Judge Whittemore may have pulled off quite a feat — we just hope he puts something on the record about it.

    Here’s the new court document.

    Continued at http://tonyortega.org/2017/06/28/fe...o-cool-its-jets-says-arbitration-is-imminent/
  19. The Wrong Guy Member

    We have the letter Scientologists are receiving from a federal judge!

    By Tony Ortega, June 30, 2017

    Excerpt:

    The quick recap: The Garcias, a California couple, filed their fraud lawsuit against the church in 2013, but two years later Whittemore decided that the Garcias were bound to follow contracts they had signed as church members which required them to take their grievances to Scientology’s internal arbitration scheme (a scheme which, former top church officials testified, didn’t actually exist; they claimed that the contracts were shams intended to keep Scientologists from getting refunds).

    After Whittemore stayed the lawsuit and ordered the Garcias to submit to the church’s arbitration scheme, the two sides clashed over how to find arbitrators, which the church insisted had to be members in good standing. After two years of bickering, Whittemore was fed up and asked Scientology’s attorneys to submit an application so he could legally step in. He asked the church to turn over the list of members in the LA area, and now his job is to find three of them to volunteer to be arbitrators — without them running to the church to ask for advice. It’s tricky.

    So here’s the text of the letter that the judge is sending out:

    Dear —-

    The Honorable James D. Whittemore presides over a lawsuit between two former Scientologists and two Scientology churches. At the request of the Scientology churches, and pursuant to the arbitration provision of the Scientology Enrollment Agreements entered into by the parties, the parties have been directed to arbitrate their dispute.

    You have been identified by the Church of Scientology as a Scientologist in good standing, and therefore qualify to serve as an arbitrator. The purpose of this correspondence is to confirm your availability to serve as one of three arbitrators. Once selected, the arbitrators will be instructed by the International Justice Chief of the requirement of applying Scientology principles to the dispute in a neutral and fair manner. The arbitration will take place in the greater Los Angeles area within the next three months, at a location to be determined.

    To preserve the integrity of the arbitration, it is important that you not discuss this matter with others, unless directed to by the court. Any communication, including your response to this correspondence, should be made in writing directly to:

    The Honorable James D. Whittmore, United States District Judge
    c/o Clerk of Court for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
    George C. Young U.S. Courthouse & Federal Building
    401 West Central Boulevard
    Room 1200
    Orlando, Florida 32801

    Please answer one of the following questions and return your response on or before July 12, 2017 in the enclosed envelope. Your information has not been and will not be used for any purpose other than the selection of arbitrators. On behalf of the parties, your consideration is greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely,

    Clerk, United States District Court, Middle District of Florida

    ___ I am available to serve as an arbitrator.

    ___ I am unavailable to serve as an arbitrator.

    Former church members, you tell us: How are current members going to react to getting this letter? What are the odds that the judge can put together a panel relatively quickly?

    Whittemore has scheduled a hearing for August 21, so it appears he’s pretty confident that he’ll get the job done, and quickly.

    More at http://tonyortega.org/2017/06/30/we...tologists-are-receiving-from-a-federal-judge/
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  20. TorontosRoot Member

    They're gonna choose the latter: unavailable.
  21. The Wrong Guy Member

    Garcia case update: Has Judge Whittemore managed to fill a Scientology arbitrating panel?

    By Tony Ortega, August 12, 2017

    There are new court filings in the Garcia fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, and two new dates to put on your calendar.

    This Tuesday, there will be a hearing at Judge James Whittemore’s Tampa courtroom that was moved up a few days to avoid a calendar conflict. At that hearing, we expect the judge to discuss another document in the file, which reveals that both sides have agreed on the start of arbitration to begin in the Los Angeles area on October 23.

    Continued at http://tonyortega.org/2017/08/12/ga...aged-to-fill-a-scientology-arbitrating-panel/
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