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Lawyer Vance Woodward sues Scientology over his time in the church — here’s the complaint

Vance_WoodwardWe just talked to our old friend and Underground Bunker correspondent Vance Woodward, who filed a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology Friday.

You remember Vance — after putting out a wild memoir about his time in the church, he helped us blog L. Ron Hubbard’s essential text, Dianetics, and we had a roller coaster of a time going through it, chapter by chapter.

After our last installment of the series in June, Vance said he was relocating from San Francisco to Los Angeles and wanted to refocus his life on his legal career — he even took his memoir off the market.

But now he’s back with a vengeance after suing the church. We have the complaint below, and it’s a doozy.

We called him today in LA, and Vance told us he’s doing well, practicing law solo and helping out other firms. He said he didn’t have plans to put his book back on sale, and in general he doesn’t want to talk publicly about the lawsuit. He just wanted the complaint to speak for itself.

Like many other Scientologists, Vance put a lot of money on account to pay for expensive courses that he never actually used. So he asked for his money back — and the church refused.

He’s suing the Church of Scientology International (CSI), the Western US division (WUS), ASHO, AOLA, CS San Francisco, Flag Service Organization, and Flag Ship Service.

If you got a chance to read Vance’s book — or followed our Dianetics series — his story is familiar. He joined as a 14-year-old in Winnipeg in 1989. And before long, he was hooked on Scientology’s promises that tend to draw people in deeper and deeper.

“In actuality, CSI, through its network of organizations, does little if any good but rather takes advantage of those seeking help by encouraging and cajoling those people, including Vance, into particiapating in practices that will increase their dependence upon Scientology,” the complaint says.

In 2007, Vance came to the San Francisco church.

“SF Church systematically made claims as to the benefits of Scientology, including superhuman abilities (the above-mentioned “OT powers”), all of which were frequently repeated to Vance in an effort to induce Vance into participating in Scientology services and paying huge sums to do so.”

He was encouraged to go through “sec checks” — intensely private interrogations — and shun his non-Scientology friends. He was also pressured to loan money to other Scientologists who needed money for church services.

Between just 2007 and 2010, Vance says he gave Scientology about $600,000 and about $200,000 was for future services he never received.

His complaint contains a very detailed breakdown of payments he made.

And like Luis Garcia and others have done in similar lawsuits, Vance describes Scientology’s refund policies, which he describes as “one-sided and unconscionable.” He describes multiple attempts to get his money back, to no avail.

He’s suing for breach of contract and asking for restitution and compensatory damages to be proven at trial.

Here’s the complaint…

 

Vance Woodward v Scientology: Complaint

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on March 25, 2014 at 11:45

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.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer

 

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