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

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.



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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 28, 2017 at 07:00

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Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. 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.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

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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