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Luis Garcia Responds to Scientology’s Arbitration Scheme

arbitration

If you’ve been following our coverage of Luis and Rocio Garcia’s federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, you know that the lawsuit is facing a possibility of dismissal because of a question of jurisdiction. However, until that can be resolved, there’s another key issue the lawsuit must overcome if it’s going to continue — and that’s the matter of arbitration.

The Garcias allege that they were induced to give donations to Scientology under fraudulent conditions. But the church contends that the Garcias signed contracts which require them to seek refunds or other redress through an internal arbitration system. Scientology has told Judge Whittemore that this is an internal religious dispute, and not something that should be in a civil court of law. Before he rules on that matter, Whittemore asked Scientology to submit a 5-page explanation of its arbitration procedures. Now, the Garcias are responding to what the church submitted.

As they have in the past, the Garcias say Scientology’s arbitration system is a sham.

In the new filing, the Garcias pounce on something that we had noted was unusual — in its 5-page description, Scientology talked about “committees of evidence” in their arbitration process.

“Comm Evs” are very familiar to Scientologists, but they don’t really resemble what one thinks of when one thinks of “arbitration.”

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Scientologists are summoned to a comm ev, for example, to be judged whether they’ve committed a “crime” or “high crime” against the church.

That’s very different than arbitration, which a person can request if they think they’ve been harmed.

The Garcias note that they’ve never been summoned to a Comm Ev in regards to their donations.

The Garcias also run down the discrepancies between what the church filed in its description of arbitration versus what was described in the agreements they signed over the years.

Ultimately, the Garcias say, Scientology’s arbitration procedures are bunk — they were never intended to be used by anyone, ever.

To bolster their argument, they attach several exhibits. The first is a declaration from former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder.

Scientology’s five-page description “constitutes a fraudulent misrepresentation of non-existent ‘arbitration’ procedures,” Rinder writes.

For more than 20 years, as Rinder oversaw Scientology’s legal matters, he was made aware of every attempt to get money back from the church.

He was also involved in writing the arbitration rules, and says they were never actually more than a policy on paper.

“Since the inclusion of the ‘arbitration’ clause in the Enrollment Agreement, I am not aware of a single instance where anyone has participated in ‘arbitration’ in connection with a return of their money,” he writes.

Well, now Judge Whittemore has what he needs to make a decision on this matter. We hope he rules soon, because he then needs to deal with Scientology’s more troubling motion to have the case dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.

For now, however, here’s the Garcia team’s response to Scientology’s arbitration procedures.

 

Garcia v. Scientology, Plaintiff Response to Arbitration Description

 
And Mike Rinder’s declaration.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on November 9, 2013 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

 

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