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Scientology’s bogus ‘arbitration’: The Garcia appeal brief is here, and it’s a beauty

[The Garcias and their appellate attorney, Philip M. Burlington]

We love a good appeal brief. If you read a lot of legal documents like we do, you get used to a lot of turgid stuff that, while highly important to a case, is a slog to get through.

But appeal briefs are great because they are written to persuade a higher court that a lower court has screwed up. And in order to do that, an appeal brief usually includes a beautifully written summation of how the case evolved. And the appeal brief submitted by Luis and Rocio Garcia that we got our hands on last night is no exception.

Many of you have been with us for the six years since we first started reporting on the Garcia lawsuit and its allegations that a wealthy Orange County, California couple were fleeced by the Church of Scientology. And you know the case had some crazy twists and turns as Scientology tried its usual outrageous tricks, like trying to disqualify the other side’s attorneys.

But ultimately, what shocked the hell out of us about this case was that even after the Garcias proved that Scientology had never held an “internal arbitration” in its 60-year history, and even after the Garcias entered testimony by former top executives Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder who said under oath that the arbitration agreement the Garcias had signed was a sham designed to keep people from getting their money back, and even after the Church of Scientology admitted that it had no procedures in place to hold an arbitration — even then Judge James D. Whittemore decided the Garcias would have to submit their grievances to internal arbitration, and he shut their lawsuit down.

His reasoning? He claimed that in order to decide whether Scientology’s refund rules were bogus, he would have to infringe on the church’s religious rights. The First Amendment, he said, prevented him from hearing the lawsuit in his court, even though what the Garcias were alleging was essentially criminal behavior on the part of Scientology.


For the next three years we hung on as the case painfully moved toward a foregone conclusion, when the Garcias finally did go through with the arbitration, which turned out to be an utter joke.

Now, the brief written by the Garcia’s appellate attorney, Philip M. Burlington, summarizes all of that history in a very readable and illuminating narrative, and argues that Judge Whittemore screwed up when he let the church run roughshod over him. We think it’s entertaining as hell, and we look forward to your own thoughts about it.

Here’s the document…

Garcia v. Scientology: Appe… by on Scribd


Pasadena ropes in a shill

This Saturday, at the Pasadena Ideal Org, it’s “World Happiness Day Open House, featuring Vice Mayor of Pasadena”

Here’s the description:

“This is an event for everyone to celebrate just a little bit of happiness! We plan for our guest speakers to talk about events happening world-wide that are, well, happy! We wanted to arrange a time and place for some people to gather round so that we spread the awareness of this important day of celebration! Also, after the event, you’re welcome to join us for a fun clean-up outside at the nearby park. PLUS, everyone who participates will receive an award — of happiness! Special Guest Speaker: Mr. Tyron Hampton, Vice Mayor of Pasadena will be the special guest speaker. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome!”


HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

This year’s HowdyCon is in Los Angeles. People tend to come in starting on Thursday, and that evening we will have a casual get-together at a watering hole. We have something in mind, but for now we’re not giving out information about it.

Friday night we will be having an event in a theater (like we did on Saturday night last year in Chicago). There will not be a charge to attend this event, but if you want to attend, you need to RSVP with your proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail.

On Saturday, we are joining forces with Janis Gillham Grady, who is having a reunion in honor of the late Bill Franks. Originally, we thought this event might take place in Riverside, but instead it’s in the Los Angeles area. If you wish to attend the reunion, you will need to RSVP with Janis (janisgrady AT gmail), and there will be a small contribution she’s asking for in order to help cover her costs.

HOTEL: Janis tells us she’s worked out a deal with Hampton Inn and Suites, at 7501 North Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, (818) 768-1106. We have a $159 nightly rate for June 19 to 22.



Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Greta Van Susteren]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Scientology cranks up its ‘noisy’ investigation of Leah Remini, and she fires back
[TWO years ago] David Miscavige: Scientology TV launches by June 21, to show ‘planet’s coolest religion’
[THREE years ago] THE BILLBOARD IS UP: Scientology’s ‘disconnection’ on view in Los Angeles
[FOUR years ago] ‘Going Clear’ subject Tom DeVocht visited by Burbank PD after suspicious anonymous tip
[FIVE years ago] Video Vault: Hear L. Ron Hubbard unite Dianetics and Scientology in connubial bliss!
[SIX years ago] The Secret to Scientology’s “Wins” Revealed?
[SEVEN years ago] Mike Rinder on “The Hole,” Indoctrination, Confessions, and His Ultimate Escape


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,407 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,536 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,040 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,520 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 583 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 471 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,778 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,646 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,420 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,194 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,540 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,106 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,026 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,193 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,774 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,035 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,074 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,786 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,312 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,401 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,541 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,861 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,717 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,836 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,192 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,494 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,600 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,002 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,874 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,457 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,952 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,206 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,315 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 4, 2019 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, 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 can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | 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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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