Lawyer Vance Woodward sues Scientology for $200,000

Discussion in 'Leaks & Legal' started by anon8109, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    Vance Woodward’s appeal fails as Scientology has the L.A. attorney on the hook for $90,000

    By Tony Ortega, August 31, 2016


    Vance Woodward is one of our favorites here at the Underground Bunker. We greatly enjoyed the book he wrote about his time in Scientology (now no longer for sale), and he helped us write one of our favorite series, as we blogged L. Ron Hubbard’s 1950 classic Dianetics from cover to cover.

    In 2014, Vance filed suit against the Church of Scientology, seeking a refund on about $200,000 that he still had on account for courses that he never took in the church, and also for other damages he’d suffered as a Scientologist. Vance first got into Scientology at 14 in 1989 in Winnipeg, and later became an active member of the San Francisco org, where he estimated that he paid more than $600,000 in just three years before leaving the church in 2010.

    After Vance gave up Scientology, he decided to turn his skills as a lawyer to suing the church. But he ran into trouble when his complaint turned out to be about much more than the money he wanted back. He included a voluminous (and highly readable!) condemnation of how Scientology worked to draw people in and clean them out. In court, Scientology pounced on the scattershot approach of Vance’s complaint. It filed an “anti-SLAPP” motion — a way for defendants to stop a lawsuit in its tracks by asking the judge to rule whether there’s really a chance that it will prevail. California’s anti-SLAPP law is particularly strong, and Judge Michael Johnson of the Los Angeles Superior Court ended up agreeing with the church, that Vance’s complaint went after a lot of things that had nothing to do with a refund, and that got into territory that was probably covered by Scientology’s First Amendment rights of religious expression.

    He granted the anti-SLAPP motion, dismissing the lawsuit, and also awarded Scientology $90,000 in attorney’s fees (after the church had asked for $120,000).

    Vance’s loss helped to illustrate why so few attorneys are willing to take on litigation against Scientology, which has a legendary reputation for scorched-earth tactics and never giving up when it can delay or attack. If you take on Scientology, you can end up finding yourself the one in the hole.

    Vance, however, decided to appeal, and he sounded confident about it. But now, California’s Second Appellate District has affirmed the lower court ruling, including the $90,000 award in attorney’s fees.

    We tried to reach Vance by email and telephone, but we didn’t get through to him. In the past, he hasn’t wanted to talk publicly about his litigation, and that may be the case this time as well.

    But more than wanting to hear his thoughts about the court’s decision, we wanted to ask him about what he might do now.

    We turned for some advice on that to TX Lawyer, an attorney in Texas who works in the appellate courts there.

    Continued here:
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  2. RightOn Member

    this is going to get ugly. :(
  3. Quentinanon Member

    If you're going to sue anyone, keep the complaint on-topic and to the point. Sounds like Vance is still wounded from his experience with the cult and should have hired an attorney to represent him, giving him counsel about what would constitute a viable lawsuit against the cult. I do think that someday, some ex who has been frustrated by the lack of help from the courts will take matters into his/her own hands and that will be very ugly, but not surprising.
    The cult will "pull it in."
  4. The cult with their unlimited resources can out-sue anyone :(

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