Federal judge says he has the Scientologists for a justice panel, but Garcias say, 'not so fast' - 2017-09-21
The Garcia litigation is enough to give us whiplash. As Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore pushes hard to get the case submitted to arbitration, it's now the Garcias' turn to say, "hold on there, judge."
Back in 2013, the Garcias of Irvine, California, sued the Church of Scientology for fraud, saying that they had been deceived when they were pressured to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to the church's various building projects. But Judge Whittemore sided with the church, saying that contracts the Garcias had signed while members required them to submit their grievances to Scientology's internal arbitration scheme.
Top former church officials Mark "Marty" Rathbun and Mike Rinder testified that there were no internal arbitration procedures in Scientology, and that they had specifically written the contracts so that members could never get internal justice for their grievances. But even though he acknowledged that testimony, Judge Whittemore still told the Garcias to submit to arbitration run by the church (not independent arbitration) and he put their lawsuit on hold.