SCIENTOLOGY FILES FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AGAINST DEBBIE COOK

SummThumb.JPG
As they promised, Scientology's attorneys have filed for summary judgment in their lawsuit against former church executive Debbie Cook, and we have the document for you.

Here's our first impression: After Cook's explosive testimony in a Bexar County, Texas courtroom made news around the world and has more people than ever talking about the shocking and strange abuse allegedly dished out by Scientology's leader, David Miscavige, the church's attorneys are trying their best to convince a San Antonio judge that this is a much drier, less interesting dispute, summed up best in one of their opening lines:

"This is a dispute regarding the enforcement of contracts."

We figure speed is of the essence and that you'd rather read the document itself than anything else, so we're going to post it as quickly as we can, and then add more analysis when we have a chance. So here we go... (There are 33 pages, posted now -- including page 23, which is now in place.)

Some great comments already showing up that analyze this document. (See John P.'s reflections, for example.)

I can tell you as someone who was in the courtroom on February 9, this document appears to be a distillation of what we heard that day from George Spencer as he examined Debbie Cook on the stand. The church's position is that Cook and Baumgarten left the employ of the church and each signed agreements never to disparage their former employer publicly, and each took $50,000 checks. When Debbie spoke up with her New Year's Eve e-mail that complained that Scientology leader David Miscavige was taking the church away from the principles of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, she was in violation of the agreement, and therefore owes $300,000 in damages.

Simple, right? Except that Spencer leaves out what blew away everyone watching that day in the courtroom as Debbie Cook explained what you don't see on the 2007 videotape showing her sign the agreement -- that she'd been held against her will in nightmare conditions and would have signed anything, she testified, to get away.

As numerous observers have pointed out, that difference in facts suggests that a jury should decide who is telling the truth, and that a summary judgment would be premature. But who knows. We're just posting the documents, and you tell us how you think this thing is going to go...


Summary1.png
Summary2.png
Summary3.png
Summary4.png
Summary5.png
Summary6.png
Summary7.png
Summary8.png
Summary9.png
Summary10.png
Summary11.png
Summary12.png
Summary13.png
Summary14.png
Summary15.png
Summary16.png
Summary17.png
Summary18.png
Summary19.png
Summary20.png
Summary21.png
Summary22.png
Summary23.png
Summary24.png
Summary25.png
Summary26.png
Summary27.png
Summary28.png
Summary29.png
Summary30.png
Summary31.png
Summary32.png
Summary33.png


**********
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at tortega@villagevoice.com, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories, which tend to come out each and every morning at 8 am, but can suddenly appear at any time of the day. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.

New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories. As for our regular features, on Thursdays we do a roundup of world press, on Fridays we visit L. Ron Hubbard on the yacht Apollo circa 1969-1971, on Saturdays we celebrate the week's best comments, and on Sundays we publish Scientology's wacky and tacky advertising mailers that people send us.

As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and is now being sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.

Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.



Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
202 comments
scilonschools
scilonschools

That Scientology CUILT LOVES it's summary judgements, i have had several attempted on me in the UK!!

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Scientology The Big Litigious Monster :-[

Kassie
Kassie

blah, blah, blah, blah, this group never ceases to amaze me.  It goes on and on about nothing.DM you are so outclassed and outsmarted, that all that is left is blah, blah, blah, blah! 

John P.
John P.

A few minutes ago, Marty Rathbun posted at his blog a copy of Mr. Spencer's motion for summary judgment. The bulk of the article was a call to his readers to offer sworn declarations to  Debbie Cook's attorneys about the misbehavior they were subjected to while they were "in."  There are extensive pointers on how to document one's experiences in a way that would be useful to the court.  

If he's successful at getting a large number of people to write statments, it could be a very good way to blunt one of Scientology's favorite tools to winning litigation: to bury opponents with "scale."  Miscavige can command every one of the inmates of the Hole at "spiritual gunpoint" to write a declaration that life in the Hole is basically a balmy, languid vacation sort of experience (like life as crew on the Freewinds except no salt water nearby).  And even though a judge might think it a little odd that every single one of those is virtually verbatim identical, he's going to presume that some of them are telling the truth, and a couple dozen culties' declarations would cast doubt on the lone defendant's accusations of all sorts of craziness at Int Base.  

But by harnessing the power of teh inter tubes, Rathbun may be able to whip up equivalent scale on behalf of Debbie and Wayne.  So if Mr. Spencer whips out 100 declarations that David Miscavige never hit anybody, and Mr. Jeffery whips out 100 declarations that say he did, the advantage of scale is neutralized.  It doesn't need to be one-for-one; it might be enough if there are only 40 or 50 declarations in response to 100 or more from the Scientology side.  There just needs to be enough so that a "wog" judge or juror doesn't presume that scale equals truth.  

"Scale" is what got the Anons noticed when they launched Project Chanology in 2008 -- nobody had been able to generate more than a handful of pickets at more than one or two Scientology locations at a time before that.  But the Anons raided dozens of Orgs with many, many people at each protest.  And they use the net to stay in touch, and to stay motivated, so they're still protesting at a few key locations all these years later.  So they've shown what can be done.  Let's see if Marty can do it again.  

Sue
Sue

Dear Miss Cave Age. get out of what century you are in and face the facts! You are doomed methinks!!!

deanfox
deanfox

 I wonder, for everyone who backs off there will be another who will redouble their donations to fight "the greatest threat to scientology" since the last one.

DamOTclese2
DamOTclese2

"...and each signed agreements never to disparage their former employer publicly, and each took $50,000 checks."

And that's the issue, Debbie Cook did *not* "disparage their former employer publicly," she accurately covered criminal racketeering and other crimes taking place at her "church" and as a member of said "church" is morally and ethically required as a duty of Scientology customership to rectify and to speak out against.

The insane crooks want to pretend that truth is "disparaging" because the truth about what the crime syndicate does is devastating to the insane crooks' revenues.

CofS Exit Zone
CofS Exit Zone

Sheesh. Delicious dox are so tasty, I'm only up to pg30 and I can't stop giggling everytime they quote "High Crimes."

DamOTclese2
DamOTclese2

The last thing the insane criminals want is for more truth about their crimes and abuses to be laid out in loving detail in front of a jury. What an insane loon that dwarf is, what the bloody hell was that insane loon thinking?

TheHoleDoesNotExist
TheHoleDoesNotExist

Astute observation and almost correct.  They invented a new definition of "ecclesiastical."

Scientology has its own dictionary with not only it's special words, but also it's special definitions.  It's a real hoot. 

TheHoleDoesNotExist
TheHoleDoesNotExist

Don't forget "The Hole Does Not Exist"  and  "Our Holes are Voluntary and Religious"

TheHoleDoesNotExist
TheHoleDoesNotExist

About that GI thing ... I swear this past week I've seen a flood of Tom Cruise rereruns as well as John Travolta's,  Kirsti Alley,  and others, even Jenna Elfman's series and more.

I had this impression that the big whales were being hit up big time to offset Dm's pocket change, but each was told that All the SP's on the planet got together and are in Full Invasions mode (Hubbard was big on Invasions) and they've all gathered at the Village Voice.

Sad to say,  I'm not even joking.  We Ex's have heard incredible War Stories from those on "the front lines" when asked to cough up more $ for the Scientology War Chest.  Today we are are learning that the worst the war story, the more criminal or fradulent and abusive scientology management had been and were in need of $$ for legal or bribes.

I imagine the latest fundraiser will include money to hide all evidence of The Hole that Does Not Exist.  Hey,  maybe Miscavige will be forced to trick out those trailers and start giving his voluntary prisoner slaves some real food and sleep and a little sun so they don't look like total zombies if subponaed. 

Only thing is,  it takes years for them to recover mentally so DM is still screwed.  On Anderson Cooper, those Inch Wives looked and sounded like something out of a very scary movie and Zero credibility.

TheHoleDoesNotExist
TheHoleDoesNotExist

Ever since AustralianSuper Senator Xenophon leapt into rescue and intvestigation mode,  Miscavge's tactic has been to heavily promote the religious angle as well as the "humanitarian" angles via the front groups.  I believe the Headley's case has a great deal to do with this as well.

In both cases, the potential monetary damages are vast enough to wipe out the Billion $$ purported in scientology reserves.  Whatever the story, always follow the money.  Any scientology who gets on a stand and is asked if Hubbard's tech is referred to as "scripture" and says yes would be perjuring his or herself. 

This is backfiring evidently because the few scientologists still in and willing to shell out what money they have left is "accidentally" seeing and hearing blatant lie after lie that they know is 100% false, like scriptures, like disconnection issues, etc.  Unfortunately, most scientologists are not likely to have any personal knowledge to know The Hole Does Exist.

Radio Paul
Radio Paul

The fact that they had a camera filming this and crossed all their T's and dotted all the I's like WWIII was on the way should tell a judge something is really wrong. This is not a standard run of the mill Non Disclosure Agreement. It is clear the cult was worried enough to go through all of this. There attempt to cover all their bases in the way that they did makes them look less like a victim and more like a perpetrator trying to hide something.

Radio Paul
Radio Paul

Well reading the Village Voice bit it just became cleat that Scientology just shot them selves in the foot by naming interviews with Debbie and news stories about the case. They will not be able to suppress them later as they are the ones that brought them forward. The info in those news stories is more than enough to make a case of duress and kill any chance at a Summery Judgment.

(Well you see your honor we want a summery judgment because the defendant spoke to the press about financial abuse, torture and kidnapping and other abuses. Never mind the fact that the news stories covered these things and show a case of Debbie Cook signing under duress and or in an environment that she felt was so hostile that she felt she had no other choice. You just need to give us the summery judgment because we are Scientology and when we say someone is a lying bitter apostate you can take our word for it. Wog law here really cant handle this situation, let us take care of it as we are the only ones who can help.)

1subgenius
1subgenius

Even if she doesn't file a counter motion for summary judgment (likely she will), in many places the court can not only deny summary judgment, but actually grant it to the other party.Once again CoS is hoisting themselves on their own petard. But they started that when they filed for the injunction, with its accelerated schedule. They should have just filed the suit (or not), and let it drag out until they could figure out whether to shit or go blind. And, of course, inflict their usual covert torture.Now, once again they have opened the door to a flurry of evidence being submitted. And relatively quickly.This, in turn, will strain the available popcorn supplies.

Freespirit
Freespirit

There are two important policies in Scientology which guided Debbie's actions, in my opinion: HCOPL Keeping Scientology Working and HCOPL Orders, Illegal and Cross. As a Scientologist in good standing, Debbie is EXPECTED To apply these writings fully, hence I can understand her email. Signing these documents are contrary to these policies as in essence what she was forced to do was to give up her rights to fully practice her faith even while she was in the "church". Dedicated and loyal members of the church are expected per these policies to be alert to and be active in hammering out of existence incorrect application of LRH's writings. That is what she was attempting to do. BUT the legal guys had her sign documents that would forbid her to exercise these rights as a Scientologist in good standing. Debbie expressed a call to arms to other Scientologists, not the media, etc. She did not approach the media or do some expose. She leaves a high ranking position, seeks to continue to practice within the church but is made to sign away a right to fully practice her beliefs as a Scientologist within the church. Now they take issue and sue her for fully exercising and practicing her faith.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

I can't wait to see David Miscavige on the witness stand without his teleprompter.

Attorney Jeffrey:  What is your name?

Miscavige:  Ecclesiastical David Miscavige

Attorney Jeffrey:  What is your date of birth sir.

Miscavige:  April 30th.

Attorney Jeffrey:  What year?

Miscavige:  Every year.

Attorney Jeffrey:  And what is your marital status?

Miscavige:  In the hole

Attorney Jeffrey:  Remember all your responses must be oral. OK? Now, what school did you go to?

Miscavige:  Oral.

Attorney Jeffrey:  What city?

Miscavige: Oral.

*Jeffrey looks stunned*

Attorney Jeffrey:  Sir, what is your IQ?

Miscavige:  Well, I think I can see pretty good.

Attorney Jeffrey:  Do you have any children or anything of that kind?

Miscavige: Yes, sea org dog with uniform.

Attorney Jeffrey:  Do you believe you are emotionally stable?

Miscavige:  Yes, I am Hitler

Quite pause.

DodoTheLaser
DodoTheLaser

 Just a little public service. Glad you enjoyed!

DodoTheLaser
DodoTheLaser

I love it how there are so many pages, footnotes and so many legal cases references,it's like - We did blah, but Debbie did bleh (footnotes: bluhblohbleh), as in Blah v. Blah 1984, FTW 8-008, etc. Heck, they even mentioned some Dude v. Toyota Motor Corp.I am sure that will work out really well in this "ecclesiastical" case.

You think 33 pages is a lot? Wait till they start bringing boxes and boxes of irrelevant shit.

Nice strategy that never really worked. Ladies and Gentleman, enjoy the epicness of it all! Heh, I said epicness. (Insert Beavis and Butt-Head laughing).

Frolix8
Frolix8

Yes. But they seem to indicate it is of a very narrow area of operation which is not correct. Sea Org members are in other places. And Scientology always brags that it is everywhere and growing, growing, growing.

And, in any event, why are they spending so much time stating and proving they are a certified and recognized religion, if this is just a simple contract case? The courts generally shy away from internal disputes regarding churches. Why invite a judge to think about that?

They are protesting their religionessingess too much like whiny kids saying, I am too a religion and don't say I'm not. It strikes an off chord to what is purportedly a mere contractual dispute.

Frolix8
Frolix8

Scientology claims this case is strictly controlled by contract law. Yet, Scientology again and again in its filing states they are a religion, a church. It seems at best overkill to iterate and reiterate the allegation that Scientology is a church. It doesn't matter what kind of entity Scientology is. They could sell widgets and still make use of such a nondisclosure contract.

I don't see the point. It would make more sense to hit home the contract portion of the case and to spend as little time as possible on the issue of religion. Their odd statement stating that Scientology essentially operates out of and only out of Clearwater is interesting. It seems at odds with their protestations that they are a church.

It's late and I may be missing something, but it just seems odd.

DodoTheLaser
DodoTheLaser

I bet Abelson is sitting in front of a fireplace in his Beverly Hills mansion, Rachmaninov in a background, sipping on Woodford or something smoother, cuban cigar rests nearby, googling debbie cook and thinking how he is too old for all this shit... Sad, old man. Good life, Elliot, but are you a happy man?

Note to Spencer and Co. - ask yourself if you want to end up like that, only worse.

wow
wow

is it possible wayne's mother sherry will not be suffering in the knowledge of this because she recently passed away? I am supposing - and they stayed quiet till then???? very much a supposition. she was loved by alll in NZ

Schockenawd
Schockenawd

Just thought it might be worth commenting on the "estoppel" argument made in the Scientology brief.  The estoppel claim basically suggests Cook should be prevented from protesting that she signed under duress because she accepted the benefits of signing and stayed quiet for a long time.  Estoppel is what is known as an "equitable" theory.  It is an often-quoted legal maxim that "he who seeks equity must do equity."  Another way of saying this is, if you come into court whining that "it isn't fair," you'd better have clean hands yourself.  Scientology... clean hands?  Uh, I'm guessing nobody on that team has word-cleared "equity."     

omg
omg

debbie has signalled she can afford to give the cos $100,000. the cos has signalled they think they can squeeze $300,000 out of her. i think the money has gone into building spaceships to fight the marcabs when they attack superpower on ron's birthday - just google "clearwater Holdings" and see - linked to Sandra Read in Oz and then LRH will appear in one he found off the meditteranean coast during mission into time - now being 7 foot tall and mary sue will assume her real identity of astarte. all powered by magnetic monopoles and tesla towers - er, just saying

Guest
Guest

Sorry, there's too much for me to read in the time I have:

Debbie was coerced to sign the docsDebbie was coerced to take the cash

Nuf said. 

Noah Miller
Noah Miller

One think I think COS never expected, when creating all these different organizations to obscure their legal hierarchy, is that in order for their own members to function within the church they would need to become experts on the various ins and outs. The hundreds of different groups, Author Services, Flag, Nacanon, Religious Tech, bla bla so on and so forth are now wide open because the very people it was created to "protect" now know the blueprints of who to go after and at what time when filing legal briefs.

Anon!
Anon!

Ok, folks, where shall I begin? Hmm, how about taxes... yes, something that $cn does NOT believe in paying.

Yes, they took the money and signed the wretched "contract." Honestly, for what she and her husband endured during their tenure in $cn, $100k is not what I would call substantial.

Regardless, IRS would want taxes from that money. If we presume that they used Married Filing Join (MFJ),their only income was this "settlement" and had only themselves to claim, in 2007, then their taxable income would be $85900, with tax owed of $14,329. The amount of tax help requested from those who forced the situation $6500, is 45% of the total Federal Income tax owed. Since no federal tax had been retained, to the best of our knowledge, they would have owed S.S.$6200 and Medicare $1450 on the whole $100k, So net proceeds would be $100,000 minus $6200 minus $1450 minus $14329 equals $78,021. Unfortunately, I don't have access to their 2007 Federal Tax Return. It would be of interest also to know if the $6500 was part of the tax liability itself OR was it the penalties/ interest for the underpayment?

kassie
kassie

group referring the the COS. The mentality used is to continue to threaten and what I can't grasp is people buy it.

Nobody
Nobody

"Employer" I thought they were all "Volunteers".

deanfox
deanfox

 It will be like the time North Korea showed some prisoners of war to illustrate how well they'd been fed and looked after. I bet all the holies will be over weight, wearing Armani suits and full of la la happiness by the time the public get to see them.

Radio Paul
Radio Paul

You are correct. I just posted at Clambake an Overview of rules regarding Summery Judgment in Texas. This could at best be a total fail for Scientology and worse blow up in their face.

guest
guest

 Your excellent summation is framed by DC trying to go through org lines first if I remember correctly, established procedures, to address her issues. When they shut her down she took this logical (logical for a scientologist) step. Ya just can't make some people happy. :)

Do not kwetch
Do not kwetch

Freespirit, a very simple and pertinent argument. And with all these otherviewpoints here, it is fairly obvious that David M. and his lawyers are goinglose monumentally in the end

Andie
Andie

The irony of having their religious cloaking thrown right back in their face must really, really sting.

Jgg
Jgg

Jeffrey:  Are you clear?

Miscavige:  No, I'm confused.

Jgg
Jgg

  Jeffrey should hammer away at the absence of a Miscavige affidavit.  You see, motions like this have page limits (usually 10 pages) but lawyers get around it by attaching exhibits (usually affidavits or deposition transcripts) that are much longer.  10 pages, plus 50 pages of exhibits, for example. One would expect a David Miscavige affidavit regarding the harm done by the facts disclosed by Cook.  Kinda wonder if David Miscavige has something to hide.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Yeah, I like your post!

"The angle of the dangle is adversely proportional to the heat of the beat.""Whoaaa! You're pretty smart, Beavis."

Heheheheh...

guest
guest

"And, in any event, why are they spending so much time stating and proving they are a certified and recognized religion, if this is just a simple contract case? The courts generally shy away from internal disputes regarding churches. Why invite a judge to think about that?"

Hmmmmmmmmm. Maybe so the case gets thrown out and they don't have to settle (rumored to take millions)?

Schockenawd
Schockenawd

Yeah.  Reading that brief, you'd think they had invented the word "ecclesiastical."   

DodoTheLaser
DodoTheLaser

I really think it is worth repeating:

"Debbie was coerced to sign the docsDebbie was coerced to take the cash".

The rest is irrelevant in this case.

Thank you, Guest.

Michael Hobson
Michael Hobson

Debbie Cook's tax liabilities and/or payments are none of  your goddamned business, amigo. Looks like another attempted PR smear attack to me.

Michael A. HobsonIndependent Scientologist

CofS Exit Zone
CofS Exit Zone

It's not so much the weird lingo in this case, we have havingness and doingness for that lulz. But in these dox it's how it is used, and so interwoven into the case's arguments for a summary judgement.

The sense of entitlement, leaves a rotten taste in my mouth that is slightly less noticeable than my uh, havingness on flabergastedness at their gall.

MarkStark
MarkStark

 They suffer from ecclesiastical gas but they're more holey than holy.

Anon!
Anon!

 No bad PR, just musing, since the "church" decided that it needed to mention, multiple times how Cook/ Baumgarten requested assistance in addition to the payoff.

If you read this 33 page document, it seems obvious to me, that a "religion" is trying very hard to use contract law to enforce a bunch of baloney. In addition to saying how generous they were, really? IF the "church" were truly so generous and thoughtful an institution as they claim, then perhaps they could have made "gifts" over a period of time that would have been a smaller financial burden to the recipients.

bobx
bobx

The lawyers, though, apparently have no clue that "High Crimes" is Scientologese for blasphemies against Hubbard.  At one point they say that accusing someone of "High Crimes" is defamatory *per se* which is a legal doctrine that an accusation of murder, theft, etc. or other felonious violation of the law is presumed to be damaging to the reputation, so that the plaintiff doesn't have to prove it is damaging; of course, the statement does have to be *untrue* which might be a problem for DM in this case... but, that's not the point.  Debbie didn't anywhere in her e-mail accuse DM of any violations of the criminal law (although she certainly could have); she accused him of mis-applying the sacred scriptural writings of L. Ron Hubbard, and that is what was meant by "High Crimes".  Once this gets pointed out, the court will surely have to say that they cannot get into the business of interpreting a religion's holy writings and deciding who has the true and correct understanding of them.

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...