Garcias ask for reconsideration on judge's error: 'We never agreed that Scientology is a religion' - 2015-04-11
On March 13, Tampa federal Judge James D. Whittemore granted the Church of Scientology's motion to compel Luis and Rocio Garcia to submit to Scientology's internal arbitration scheme, which essentially ended the Garcias' lawsuit against the church. The Garcias, who live in Irvine, California, had sued the church for fraud, contending that donations they'd given of several hundred thousand dollars had been pried out of them through lying and deceit.
They also contended that Scientology's "arbitration" scheme didn't really exist, and was just concocted for contracts they had signed in order to shield Scientology from lawsuits. As former members who had been declared "suppressive persons," they would never get a fair hearing from Scientology's own arbitrators, they said. Judge Whittemore agreed that the arbitration scheme appeared to be something of a phantom, but he argued that he couldn't rule if the Garcias would get fair treatment because that would require him to judge the practices and values of a church, and since both sides agreed Scientology was a religion, he couldn't go there.
The Garcias, once they took a close look at the order, did a double take. When did they ever agree that Scientology was a religion?