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Scientology takes aim at the latest move by the Garcias in their federal fraud suit

Luis_GarciaMore than a year ago, Luis and Rocio Garcia filed a federal fraud lawsuit against five Scientology corporate entities, alleging that while the Garcias were in the church, they were defrauded as they were constantly hit up for donations.

When the lawsuit was filed in January 2013, it seemed like a landmark case — many former Scientologists are in the same position as the Garcias, having given large amounts to the church and wishing they could get it back now that they’ve left.

But our readers, who have been following the case closely, know that the lawsuit ran into a strange snag. More than nine months after it was filed in Tampa, Florida, Scientology’s attorneys suddenly announced that the Garcias had chosen the wrong venue. Although the Garcias gave much of their donations to Scientology’s Florida operations, three of the defendant entities in the case had trustees in California, where the Garcias live. According to a basic concept of law known as “diversity jurisdiction,” it was not proper for the Garcias to have sued those three entities in Florida.

After months of discovery, the Garcias decided to drop those three entities and press on with their lawsuit against the remaining two: Scientology’s Flag Service Organization (FSO) and Flag Ship Service Organization (FSSO).

Now, Scientology has answered back, saying that Judge James Whittemore should throw out the entire lawsuit altogether…

Dismissing only the non-diverse defendants is a highly disfavored practice…A district court may resort to it “sparingly”…The only remedy, and the required remedy, is dismissal of the entire action.

Our legal experts have told us previously that they find this one tough to handicap. Judge Whittemore might agree and toss the case — and the Garcias could then refile it in another venue.

One of our legal experts zeroed in on one passage in Scientology’s filing…

In a footnote the defendants claim that they did not delay in bringing up the jurisdictional defect as alleged by Garcia. Instead, they state they weren’t obligated to bring it up because Garcia did not address the issue in the complaint. They then state that it did not become an issue because they did not answer the complaint, instead they filed motions to dismiss. All of that is pure nonsense.

Motions to dismiss are responsive pleadings responding to the complaint. The defendants filed numerous motions to dismiss. The complaint stated the bases of diversity jurisdiction. At any time in the preceding nine months the defendants could have, and should have, made the court aware of the diversity defect instead of waiting. There is no excuse for their wasting of the court’s time and taxpayer dollars. A first year law student would fail if he or she made the lame, self-serving argument the church made in that footnote.

As always, we’re interested in hearing your thoughts on the document itself…

 

Garcia v. Scientology: Defendants' Memo in Opposition to Amending Complaint

 
 
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Jillian Schlesinger on Sea Org control

Another interesting video from Karen de la Carriere and J. Swift…

 

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on April 16, 2014 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.

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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