Ted Babbitt's gambit: Recasting the Garcia federal fraud lawsuit against Scientology - 2014-03-28
Luis and Rocio Garcia After several months delay in the federal fraud lawsuit that Luis and Rocio Garcia brought against the Church of Scientology, the Garcias have filed a surprising new motion: They're dropping three defendants from the suit and asking Judge James Whittemore for the right to amend their original complaint.
If you remember our previous reporting on this lawsuit, you know that late last year it hit a snag. More than nine months after the suit was originally filed in January 2013, Scientology notified the court that the Garcias had committed a basic error. The Garcias had sued in federal court in Florida, even though the Garcias themselves and the trustees of some of the Scientology entities they were suing live in California. This appeared to violate a legal concept known as "diversity jurisdiction," and Scientology asked to have the case dismissed.
The Garcias cried foul, complaining to Judge Whittemore that it had taken so long for Scientology to bring up the California residency of the trustees. If you recall, the case had already been through a motion to disqualify the attorneys working for the Garcias (it failed, but not until after an evidentiary hearing), racking up lots of costs. The Garcias asked for time to do discovery so they could check the facts — they weren't just going to accept Scientology's word about the location of its trustees.