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GARCIAS BACK IN COURT AFTER SCIENTOLOGY MAKES ARBITRATION IMPOSSIBLE, THEY SAY

Luis_Rocio_Garcia

 
Luis and Rocio Garcia filed a new motion in their lawsuit yesterday, asking federal district Judge James D. Whittemore to lift the stay in their case and allow them to get on with suing the Church of Scientology. We have the document for you and its set of exhibits.

Last August, the Garcias lost an appeal in the case and then had to face the music: If they were going to get their money back from Scientology, they would have to submit themselves to Scientology’s internal arbitration procedures.

The Garcias first filed their federal fraud lawsuit in January 2013, alleging that the church had deceived them in order to obtain donations, including $340,000 towards the construction of the Flag Building in Clearwater, Florida, also known as the Super Power Building. The Garcias had been longtime Scientologists and frequent donors, and Scientology argued that they had signed multiple contracts which required them to submit disputes to the organization’s internal arbitration system. The Garcias argued, however, that the contracts were a sham. There were no internal arbitration rules, they said, and an arbitration had never been performed in the history of the church — all of which the church admitted in court was true.

Nevertheless, Judge Whittemore sided with Scientology, and put a stay on the lawsuit until the Garcias submitted themselves to the arbitration scheme. Which, we point out again, didn’t actually exist.

Now, nearly a year after Whittemore made that decision, the Garcias have come back to his courtroom in a new filing, describing the frustration they experienced as they attempted to work with Scientology’s “International Justice Chief,” Mike Ellis, to choose a panel of arbitrators and found themselves stymied at every turn.

Ellis had told the court that since there were no specific rules about arbitration written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard (who is the source for all policies and procedures in the organization), he would use the rules used in other internal justice procedures. Ellis proposed that each side choose one arbitrator, and jointly they would choose the third. And all three arbitrators had to be Church of Scientology members “in good standing.”

(The Garcias had explained to Judge Whittemore that because they have been “declared” to be “suppressive persons” — Scientology’s version of excommunication — no church member in good standing would be free to side with them in an arbitration proceeding. But Whittemore wasn’t swayed.)

The new court motion and its exhibits spells out what happened when the Garcias attempted to work out with Ellis how to come up with those three arbitrators. Because the Garcias are “SPs,” by Scientology’s rules they are not allowed to communicate directly with any Scientologists in good standing. They can only communicate with Ellis, the IJC. Ellis, meanwhile, offered to submit a list of Scientologists in the Los Angeles area that he wanted the Garcias to choose from for their selected arbitrator. The Garcias objected, saying that didn’t think they should have to choose from a list of people Ellis had pre-selected. Instead, Luis Garcia asked for a list of all Scientologists in good standing to choose from. Ellis refused. Garcia submitted a series of names of Scientologists that he approved of for his arbitrator, but Ellis rejected each one, saying they weren’t in good standing.

But how were the Garcias to know if a particular person was in good standing if Ellis wouldn’t give them a list of them?

And around and around it went. Meanwhile, Ellis was taking longer and longer to reply to Garcia’s messages. And now, the Garcias have gone back to Judge Whittemore, and they’re hoping he’ll agree that Scientology is sending them in circles and have no intention of holding any kind of arbitration. Writes attorney Ted Babbitt in the filing…

While the Court found that the limited process set forth in the arbitration agreement was sufficient, in practical application that is not the case because the Defendants have taken the unreasonable position of insisting on a definition of “in good standing” that makes it impossible for Plaintiffs to choose an arbitrator of their own choice. Scientology continues to act in a manner that indicates they believe they are “above the law” and can deny anyone their right to due process with impunity. It would appear they hope the Garcias will become so frustrated they will just give up all hope of ever getting their claims heard as they play games and constantly shift the goalposts.

We think you’ll find the actual messages between Luis Garcia and Mike Ellis interesting, and they were all submitted as court exhibits. We’ve excerpted them for brevity, but we think you’ll get the idea.

August 18: Luis Garcia to Mike Ellis

“Pursuant to the order of Judge Whittemore and the arbitration agreements signed by us we hereby request arbitration against the following entities: IAS, IASA, USIMT, Super Power, CSRT, Orange County Ideal Org/International Landlord, CSI. I would request that you inform whoever the correct people are as your lawyer said you would.

Further, I wish to designate as my choice of arbitrator Mr. Garth Lombard…Irvine, CA…”

 
August 24: Ellis to Garcia

“Please specify what your claims are with respect to each of the entities named in your emails, including a brief description of the facts which form the basis of these claims. Since there are two claimants, please make clear which claims relate to Luis and which claims relate to Rocio.

With regard to your selected arbitrator, Garth Lombard has not been a Scientologist in good standing for years and therefore he does not qualify…If you wish, I am willing to provide you with a list of qualified arbitrators in the Greater Los Angeles/Orange County area. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can send me a list of potential arbitrators and I can let you know which of them would qualify.”

 
August 27: Garcia to Ellis

“The claims…are as set forth in the original complaint filed with the judge…

Regarding your offer to provide us with a list of ‘qualified arbitrators’…I would request that you provide us with a list of Scientologists in good standing, rather than ‘qualified arbitrators’ so we can make the decision we are entitled to do, rather than be provided a preselected list…

Furthermore, as you rejected Mr. Garth Lombard, we would like to offer Chrissie Pearlman Weightman as our choice as arbitrator.”

 
September 4: Ellis to Garcia

“It has come to my attention that you have recently sent emails directly to Scientologists Laura Quintero and Paul Bove. I remind you that according to HCOPL Sppressive Acts Suppression of Scientology and Scientologists, I as, IJC, am your only Scientology terminal.

If these communicaitons to Ms. Quintero and Mr. Bove, and perhaps to other Scientologists, are for the purppse of selecting a Scientologist in good standing as an arbitrator, I want to let you know that I am willing to facilitate this process, in alignment with the above referenced policy…

Since both Ms. Quintero and Mr. Bove are qualified to be arbitrators under the terms of the enrollment agreements, please let me know if you wish to designate either of them as your arbitrator.

Regarding your latest email communication, I must state that it is both unnecessary and burdensome for me to provide you with a list of every Scientologist in good standing in the entire world. You obviously know of many such individuals, and if you with to request me to inquire of any of them whether they will serve as an arbitrator whom you designate, I will do so, as stated above…

Finally, Chrissie Pearlman Weightman is not a Scientologist in good standing. She publicly resigned in 2010 by posting on an anti-Scientology blog. Ms. Weightman is not eligible to serve as an arbitrator….this is the third time you have attempted to designate a person who is not a Scientologist in good standing, which those agreements do not allow.”

 
September 15: Garcia to Ellis

“We appreciate your offer to provide us a ‘limited number’ of people that would potentially qualify as arbitrators. But we do not think it is fair, or within the spirit of the agreement for us to be limited to choosing an arbitrator from a preselected list compiled by you. We must insist that you provide us with a list of Scientologists in good standing in the United States, so we have ample opportunity to select one of the arbitrators among all Scientologists in good standing as you know who they are. We want to be afforded the same opportunity.

Regarding Ms. Quintero and Mr. Bove, we would not be interested in designating either one of them as arbitrators. I knew and worked with these individuals when I was a member of Scientology. I did send them an email simply asking if they would take a call from me. I asked for a simple yes or no answer. Neither of them responded so I sent them a second email. Ms. Quintero answered as follows: “No. Stop emailing me.”

Mr. Bove never responded at all. But both of them promptly reported the above to you. They do not want to talk to me. Their biased disposition is clear. Therefore, we don’t think they could possibly be fair and impartial to us.”

 
September 18: Ellis to Garcia

“Your request for a list of Scientologists in good standing violates longstanding Church policy which forbids orgs from providing parishionar lists to anyone. Scientologists have the right to their own privacy and it is not part of the procedures you repeatedly agreed to…

You were a Scientologist for 28 years. You know many individuals who would qualify, both public and staff. You were aware of Scientologists in good standing when you sent emails to them in 2010 and earlier this year.

Your communication should only be directed to me, as the International Justice Chief. I am your only Scientology terminal. Your communications directly to parishioners is a violation of HCO PL 23 December 1965 Suppressive Acts…

The fact that Mr. Bove and Ms. Quintero reported your attempts to contact them in violation of policy shows that they were acting as Scientologists in good standing who follow Church policy; it has nothing to do with their ability to be impartial…

I again ask that you select a qualified arbitrator and follow the procedures set out in the agreements you have repeatedly made…”

 
September 23: Garcia to Ellis

“We would like to designate Mr. Timothy DeWall as our arbitrator.”

 
October 5: Ellis to Garcia

“Your proposed arbitrator, Timothy DeWall, is not a Scientologist in good standing, and you know this. Among other violations of ecclesiastical justice policies, Mr. DeWall is guilty of ‘Continued adherence to a person or group pronounced a Suppressive Person of Group by HCO,’ through his association with your consultant, Mike Rinder.”

 
October 9: Garcia to Ellis

“It is difficult for us to select a ‘Scientologist in good standing.’ Only you are aware of everybody’s standing. We are only guessing. So we will keep submitting names until you can agree on one.

For the sake of time, I am submitting a large list of names I propose to serve as our designated arbitrator…”

 
October 21: Ellis to Garcia

“Without having gone through the entire list, I can already see that once again, you are being disingenuous by proposing individuals who you know are not in good standing with the Mother Church.

For example, Joy Graysen was expelled from the Church in 2011. She also publicly resigned from Scientology on Marty Rathbun’s blog, just as you had done. Katrina James was expelled in 2010 and you should know her from your participation in a gathering of a squirrel group she attended with you in 2011. I could go on, but the amount of time being consumed in this exercise should be obvious…

While I have not completed a review of all the names on your list, from the ones I have examined thus far, Ray Barton appears to be qualified. I will check to see if he is available as he is 90 years of age…”

 
October 22: Garcia to Ellis

“I am sorry to read that you think we are being disingenuous. On the contrary, we are making our best, good faith effort in selecting someone that is qualified. As we have stated before, this is proving difficult, because only you can adjudicate who is or who is not in good standing with the church.

…Katrina James may have been at a gathering of ‘a squirrel group’ in 2011 as you point out, which we also attended. We believe we didn’t have the pleasure of meeting her personally, as we didn’t many others as well. If I recall correctly, there were over two hundred people at that meeting….

This is further complicated by the fact that the church rarely informs parishioners when they are labeled ‘suppressive’ and therefore no longer in good standing…

I am glad to hear that you consider Mr. Ray Barton qualified. Please let me know if he or any other names from the list are acceptable to you, so we can once and for all start the proceeding.”

 
November 4: Ellis to Garcia

“First, I regret to say that Ray Barton has declined to appear as an arbitrator, based upon his age. He stated that he is 90 years old and that travel from his home in Clearwater to Los Angeles is not feasible.

I have been reviewing the qualifications of others on your list and continue to find that, thus far in my examination, the selected persons are either declared or otherwise not in good standing.”

 
November 4: Garcia to Ellis

“We are sorry to hear that Mr. Barton has declined to participate in the arbitration process. But we do understand his circumstances.

We have provided you with a list of 35 names with the hope that we would find a qualified person.

We eagerly await the conclusion of your full examination of such list and we remain encouraged…”

 
November 30: Ellis to Garcia

“You have submitted a list of 35 names, and I have been working through this list to identify the location and status of each individual and which of the persons is qualified to serve as an arbitrator. So far, I have discovered that most of the individuals on the list are no longer in good standing with the Church. As examples, David DeMichele has publicly attacked the Church and its scripture, and Mike Reppen has made derogatory comments about the Church and its leadership, and they are not in good standing with the Mother Church.

Your list does contain the name of Jasmin Buchele, who is in good standing with the Mother Church. She lives outside the United States and has small children, but I have written to her to determine her willingness and availability…”

 
December 11: Garcia to Ellis

“You keep insisting that we submit the name of a Scientologist in good standing. We assure you that is exactly what we have been trying to do…

Most of the people we knew at the time we left the church in November 2010 have subsequently also left. To submit their names would be disingenuous on our part…

Regarding Jasmin Buchele, please do let us know if she would be willing and able to serve… In the meantime, as you suggested, we are submitting the following additional names…”

 
January 27: Ellis to Garcia

“Jasmin (Buchele) Napier…has informed me that she is not available due to school schedules of her two young children and her husband’s travel schedule.

Your email included a list of additional names of potential arbitrators. However, you have continued to select individuals who are clearly not qualified. For example, Susan Crane publicly resigned from the Church in 2012 and is apparently being represented by your attorney Mr. Babbitt — facts which you reasonably would know. Mr. Pagano, Ms. Femine, Ms. Conway and Mr. Rhyne are similarly not qualified. Per our records Ms. Livengood is deceased…

There are more Scientologists in good standing today than ever before, so there is no shortage of people to choose from…

Your email states that you will continue to submit names of proposed arbitrators. They need to be qualified individuals. Submitting names of people who you know are unqualified is an abuse of this procedure…”

 
Here’s the motion the Garcias filed in court yesterday. Let us know how you think Judge Whittemore will react.

Garcia v. Scientology: Motion to Lift Stay

 
And the exhibits:
Exhibit A
Exhibit B
Exhibit C
Exhibit D
Exhibit E
Exhibit F
Exhibit G
Exhibit H
Exhibit I
Exhibit J
Exhibit K
Exhibit L
Exhibit M
Exhibit N
Exhibit O
Exhibit P
Exhibit Q
Exhibit R
Exhibit S
Exhibit T
Exhibit U
Exhibit V
Exhibit W

 
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Chris Shelton sec checks his mom, part 3

Chris and his mother get into the subject of disconnection…

 

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on April 14, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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