Federal judge tells Scientology to cool its jets, says arbitration is 'imminent' - 2017-06-28
Well, there goes Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore again, telling off Scientology and leaving no doubt where he stands. If you recall, the last time we visited the Luis and Rocio Garcia fraud lawsuit against the church, Scientology had asked Whittemore to clarify his latest court order. Judge Whittemore, clarify? Did he stutter?
The quick recap: The Garcias, a California couple, filed their fraud lawsuit against the church in 2013, but two years later Whittemore decided that the Garcias were bound to follow contracts they had signed as church members which required them to take their grievances to Scientology's internal arbitration scheme (a scheme which, former top church officials testified, didn't actually exist; they claimed that the contracts were shams intended to keep Scientologists from getting refunds).
After Whittemore stayed the lawsuit and ordered the Garcias to submit to the church's arbitration scheme, the two sides clashed over how to find arbitrators, which the church insisted had to be members in good standing. After two years of bickering, Whittemore was fed up and asked Scientology's attorneys to submit an application so he could legally step in. He proposed choosing all three arbitrators from a list of members he compelled the church to turn over, but Scientology then submitted a whiny motion asking the judge to "clarify" how he was going to cold-call Scientologists and convince them to serve on an arbitration panel without setting off a disaster in the paranoid church. The Garcias asked the judge to ignore Scientology's complaints and get on with things.