Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Two years after filing their appeal, why there’s hope for the Garcias against Scientology

[Luis and Rocio Garcia and the Eleventh Circuit]

Luis and Rocio Garcia have waited more than two years for their appeal to be heard in their derailed lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, and after oral arguments on Thursday, there may actually be a glimmer of hope.

According to Law360, which listened in on the telephonic oral arguments held by the court in Atlanta, two judges on the three-judge panel asked questions that make it sound like they are somewhat skeptical about how Tampa Judge James Whittemore handled the Garcia lawsuit and granted Scientology’s motion to force the Orange County couple and their claims of being defrauded as big-money donors into “religious arbitration.”

One of the disputes in the case, for example, was that Scientology admitted that in its entire 60-plus year history, it had never held a “religious arbitration” before, and the Garcias pointed out that in fact founder L. Ron Hubbard didn’t describe rules for such an arbitration. Scientology had to admit that it would be borrowing rules from a different “justice” procedure. And at the arbitration itself, the Garcias complained, they were subject to what seemed to be arbitrary rules that were all stacked against them.

At the oral arguments on Thursday, Law360 reported, Judge Robin Rosenbaum arched an eyebrow over the idea that Scientology wasn’t being clear about its rules…

The arbitration agreement said that Scientology rules for arbitration would apply, but [Garcia attorney Philip] Burlington told the appeals court on Thursday that there were no rules in place because there had never been an arbitration with the Church of Scientology before. The lack of rules made it difficult to ensure fairness and predictability for the parties going into the arbitration, Burlington said.


[Scientology lawyer Eric] Lieberman countered that Florida law does not require great detail about procedures in a valid arbitration agreement, but U.S. Circuit Judge Robin Rosenbaum expressed concern about the lack of a framework for the parties.

“The idea is that the parties can know what the rules are going to be and everybody can be informed about them,” Judge Rosenbaum said. “If you say you’re going to go by the Scientology rules that would be fine if the rules existed. The problem is the rules did not exist.”

We have to say, given the history of this case, that’s actually a pretty stunning statement by the judge. Why? Because if you remember, Judge Whittemore insisted that he had no right to examine Scientology’s internal rules, for fear of violating their First Amendment religious rights. So it’s jarring to see a judge raise a rather common-sense question about whether Scientology’s rules are fair if they aren’t written down somewhere. Nice point, judge.

And that’s not all. If you remember, after the Garcias had been through the Scientology arbitration, they came back to Judge Whittemore complaining that it had been a kangaroo court that didn’t allow them to properly present evidence. They asked him to hold an evidentiary hearing, but Whittemore refused.

That apparently isn’t sitting well with another judge at the Eleventh Circuit, according to Law360…

U.S. Circuit Judge William Pryor focused on the fact that the district judge, after seeing an affidavit from the Garcias stating that the arbitrators were not partial, did not hold an evidentiary hearing to figure out what happened at the arbitration.

Well yes, Judge Pryor, that did seem problematic.

If these judges at the Eleventh Circuit are asking these kinds of questions, could it mean they might overturn Whittemore’s ruling? We don’t know, and it may be a while before we find out.

But we do know this: If you look at the most recent filings in other cases, such as Valerie Haney’s, Scientology bases a lot of its current legal strategy on its victory against the Garcias, and if that’s overturned, it could have some real consequences.

We sure hope the Eleventh Circuit puts out a ruling soon.


Potential Biden VP pick and her shilling for Scientology

Don’t miss yesterday evening’s breaking news as we joined the coverage after The Daily Caller revealed that Los Angeles Congresswoman Karen Bass, a potential Biden VP choice, spoke at the 2010 Scientology Ideal Org grand opening in Los Angeles.


We also found that she continued to shill for Scientology at least three more times between 2011 and 2013. Should that be disqualifying? Join the conversation.


Here’s Karen Bass’s statement about her appearance at the event…



Bonus items from our tipsters

A new Clear in Tel Aviv!



A rare dispatch from (now COVID-free) New Zealand…



Source Code

“I was auditing a preclear one day that had a history of lesbianism and I learned this lesson but good. She was very sensitive about it and wanted to get over it. I knew this. I knew that this was a broken-up case. I mean the person was in bad shape. She was very spinny….You’ve got this individual sitting there as I had this lesbian and at the end of twenty-five minutes I suddenly realized that I was being ‘awfully nice.’ And I was getting nowhere….So I just broke out my Scientological scalpel and I said, ‘Women are nice, aren’t they? Particularly in bed.’ Dahhhhhhwwwwww! Wild needle slams and so forth. First lock of the Rock that came off of that case was being in charge, way, way back on the track, as the high priestess of the Vestal Virgins who weren’t virgin anymore, for which she was quietly and lengthily cooked over a slow fire, and which was making her avoid being a housewife because housewives have to cook. One of the innumerable computations that came off of this case.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 1, 1958


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Justin Craig made statements in a public YouTube video that ‘Scientology is dead’ because his version of Scientology has not been broadly accepted. This enturbulated the field and has brought great disrepute to the independent field and Scientology in general. The flap is now being propagandized in ‘tabloid’ websites.”



Random Howdy

“Go to the Icke message board and search ‘Scientology.’ They think the Church of Scientology is either part of the NWO/Illuminati/Reptilian conspiracy or that the Scientologists are crazy. Ha!”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Arraignment scheduled for September 18.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing is set for August 27 in White Plains, NY
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Hearing on motion for reconsideration set for August 11
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Sept 4 (CSI/RTC demurrer against Riales, Masterson demurrer), Oct 7-19 (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach bankruptcy appeal: Oral arguments were heard on March 11 in Jacksonville
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021


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

[Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, and Juliette Lewis]

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] Scientologists in Texas neighborhood battle turn out to include Lori Hodgson’s daughter
[TWO years ago] Scientology TV is the best thing to happen to television — says Scientology
[THREE years ago] Clearwater Baptist pastor reflects on his message about Scientology, stands by it
[FOUR years ago] Scientology opened a new ‘Ideal Org’ in Harlem, and we weren’t made to feel very welcome
[FIVE years ago] When Jesse Prince sec-checked David Miscavige: A Scientology interrogation for the ages
[SIX years ago] Kirstie Alley ‘disconnects’ from not one but two men over their friendship with Leah Remini
[SEVEN years ago] Leah Remini Retaliation? Suddenly, Scientology “Fair Gaming” Of Critics Is Way Up
[EIGHT years ago] Watch Mimi Faust Talk about Losing Her Mother to Scientology
[NINE years ago] Benjamin Ring, LA Sheriff’s Deputy, Under Official Inquiry for Endorsing Expensive Scientology Services


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,016 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,520 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,040 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,060 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 951 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,258 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,126 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,900 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,704 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,020 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,586 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,505 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,673 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,254 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,515 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,553 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,266 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,791 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,321 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,881 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,021 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,341 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,196 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,315 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,671 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,974 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,080 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,482 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,354 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,937 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,432 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,686 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,795 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 1, 2020 at 06:00

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, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), 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, 14 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email