TAMPA SHOWDOWN: Scientology's religious exception faces mini-trial today - 2015-02-18
This is certainly a day we've been waiting for here at the Underground Bunker. Luis and Rocio Garcia filed their federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology back in January 2013, alleging that they had been lied to in order to get them to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to Scientology's building projects and other campaigns.
The lawsuit has been delayed and complicated by numerous preliminary matters, but today a major issue in the case will finally get heard and possibly decided: Can the church force the Garcias into Scientology's internal arbitration scheme?
As a church, Scientology says any grievance it has with former members like the Garcias is a religious matter, governed by the complex agreements that the Garcias signed with the highly bureaucratic and litigious institution.