Judge to Garcias: Scientology can lie and cheat and there's nothing I can do about it - 2018-07-19
Judge James D. Whittemore has ruled that Luis and Rocio Garcia will have to live with the kangaroo court Scientology put them through in the name of religious arbitration.
The Garcias, a California couple, sued the Church of Scientology in Whittemore's Tampa federal court in 2013 over allegations that they had been defrauded out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations they had made to the church over the years. But Whittemore ruled in 2015 that his court couldn't hear their case because they had signed contracts as Scientology members with promises that they would take grievances to Scientology's internal arbitration.
Court testimony established that the contracts had been cynically designed to keep members from getting refunds, and that there actually were no procedures for arbitration established by the church, but Whittemore brushed aside those concerns and gave the Garcias no choice but to submit themselves to whatever arbitration rules the church came up with, and he put the lawsuit under a stay.