Scientology takes aim at the latest move by the Garcias in their federal fraud suit - 2014-04-16
More than a year ago, Luis and Rocio Garcia filed a federal fraud lawsuit against five Scientology corporate entities, alleging that while the Garcias were in the church, they were defrauded as they were constantly hit up for donations.
When the lawsuit was filed in January 2013, it seemed like a landmark case — many former Scientologists are in the same position as the Garcias, having given large amounts to the church and wishing they could get it back now that they've left.
But our readers, who have been following the case closely, know that the lawsuit ran into a strange snag. More than nine months after it was filed in Tampa, Florida, Scientology's attorneys suddenly announced that the Garcias had chosen the wrong venue. Although the Garcias gave much of their donations to Scientology's Florida operations, three of the defendant entities in the case had trustees in California, where the Garcias live. According to a basic concept of law known as "diversity jurisdiction," it was not proper for the Garcias to have sued those three entities in Florida.