Scientology Settles with Debbie Cook

ILove2Lurk

Lisbeth Salander
Speculation?

A lot of people are equally speculating that she got nothing. That's speculation too.

That she simply folded up like a rusty lawn chair when an OSA group showed up in San Antonio from LA on or around the weekend of April 7-8th for a "friendly" confabulation.

Equal speculation on both sides of this debate. :confused2: There's lawyers lined up and guessing on both sides too.

We'll find out soon enough. There's lots of eye balls looking in the same direction nowadays and very few things can be kept secret anymore in the world. Somebody on the ground in Texas will see something going on or hear chatter and talk. We'll find out.

A dissolution of their business and a public bankruptcy filing will tell us one thing. A move to Monte Carlo, something else. :eyeroll:

The penny will drop, as they say. :yes: I have no doubt.

ILove2Lurk
 

SpecialFrog

Silver Meritorious Patron
Speculation?

A lot of people are equally speculating that she got nothing. That's speculation too.

There is an agreement signed by a judge stating that she got nothing so it's not exactly tinfoil hat territory. Unlike any other possible agreements, this one definitely exists.

Without so much as an official covering statement such as "the terms of the agreement are confidential", I'd argue that Occam's Razor says that this agreement is the real one and if you want to argue otherwise the onus is on you.
 

Man de la Mancha

Patron with Honors
Is it an established fact that Cook is getting money, or is this all just speculation?

Thanks for all the thoughtful answers to this question. It makes sense that Scn Inc might pay to avoid damaging testimony. It also makes sense that Cook might settle for mutual dismissals to avoid a $300K judgment. I guess we'll never know unless she goes on a buying spree.
 

tikk

Patron with Honors
Speculation?

A lot of people are equally speculating that she got nothing. That's speculation too.

That she simply folded up like a rusty lawn chair when an OSA group showed up in San Antonio from LA on or around the weekend of April 7-8th for a "friendly" confabulation.

Equal speculation on both sides of this debate. :confused2: There's lawyers lined up and guessing on both sides too.

We'll find out soon enough. There's lots of eye balls looking in the same direction nowadays and very few things can be kept secret anymore in the world. Somebody on the ground in Texas will see something going on or hear chatter and talk. We'll find out.

A dissolution of their business and a public bankruptcy filing will tell us one thing. A move to Monte Carlo, something else. :eyeroll:

The penny will drop, as they say. :yes: I have no doubt.

ILove2Lurk

Actually, there's a bit of a difference. My "speculation" that the parties returned to the status quo, i.e. no additional money, gag, case withdrawn, which I speculated was the case prior to Tobin and Childs reporting the court order, is supported by said court order. Conversely, speculation that Cook was paid in addition to the $100k already received is supported by a grassy knoll requiring endless compound inferences.

I'm not going to argue a game of telephone with 'someone's friend who is a lawyer' upthread, but the Cook-got-millions speculators have yet to advance a plausible theory (a) why Cook's leverage changed so drastically from the time the agreement was signed to the time of the settlement--if Cook's testimony was so potentially damaging, why was she ever sued at all? Scientology already knew what she knew; (b) why Scientology's attorneys would be so suddenly stupid as to give money away as part of a secret, contradictory, consideration-absent, impossible-to-enforce agreement; (c) why Scientology's leverage decreased so drastically from the time the NDA was signed to the present--remember that the court had not ruled on the NDA's validity, and it really could have gone either way. Cook was risking a lot if the agreement was found valid, and even though I liked her side better, it'd hardly have been a shock if a trial court found against her.

For Cook to have gained so much leverage as to demand the suit's withdrawal PLUS money beyond what she'd already been paid, she would not only have had to be 100% certain that the court would find in her favor (which there is no reason to think could have been possibly ascertained by either party), but she'd have also had to have additional leverage going the other way in the form of a counterclaim seeking high damages. Her counterclaim merely sought declaratory relief, which, if Scientology sought to withdraw, would have forced Cook to litigate the case against herself at her own expense. The best case legal scenario for Cook, should she have continued the case, would have been that the agreement was invalidated and she could keep the money and speak freely. Extra money was not on the table.

Those who assume that Cook's additional testimony was so potentially damaging that she could suddenly demand withdrawal plus millions also can't explain (a) why the testimony didn't come out immediately at the injunction hearing (what lawyer suggests you lead with your weak stuff?); and (b) why the settlement did not occur on the eve of trial, which is when Scientology, or any strategically minded litigant, ordinarily settles a case it doesn't want to proceed. The timing of the settlement suggests that it was Cook who came to the table first, making a scenario by which she walked away with millions even more preposterous.

The main contention of the Cook-got-millions crowd seems to be that Cook's potential testimony was so possibly damaging that Scientology found itself in such a bind that it was forced to pay Cook millions, despite that no one even knows what that testimony would be, adding a speculative degree of difficulty to the calculus. It also rests on the assumption that Scientology would pay money it didn't have to in order to avoid bad publicity, despite that Scientology has for decades inflicted instance after instance of bad publicity on itself in the face of known consequences. It's contradictory to allege that Scientology would move heaven and earth to avoid bad PR, and then when they inflict bad PR on itself, say that that footbullet was inevitable because Scientology always does that. Cook signaled that her testimony was the "tip of the iceberg," but I can't assume that's anything more than bluster with nothing more. Because of course she'd say that, it's smart to keep the press interested. But what everyone who's projecting their wishes and dreams on this case forgets, Scientology was entirely aware of the iceberg's contents before it sued Cook.
 

Dulloldfart

Squirrel Extraordinaire
I don't think Cook's future testimony was that important. What I think was important were the discovery questions, that the CofS couldn't possibly afford to answer as laid out. No CofS person could be allowed to take the stand or even do a depo as they would have been made mincemeat of by a sharp, tenacious and well-briefed attorney.

Paul
 

NonScio

Patron Meritorious
There is an agreement signed by a judge stating that she got nothing so it's not exactly tinfoil hat territory. Unlike any other possible agreements, this one definitely exists.

Without so much as an official covering statement such as "the terms of the agreement are confidential", I'd argue that Occam's Razor says that this agreement is the real one and if you want to argue otherwise the onus is on you.

The agreement signed by a judge merely says there was no court ordered
settlement...we do not know what was agreed to "voluntarily" behind the scenes by
the lawyers. Indeed, most civil cases are settled in this manner...lots of
bluff and bluster between the antagonists..sometimes right up to
the seating of a jury for a trial...then a sudden "agreement" between the
parties before any testimony goes on record...and "case dismissed".
...with the terms of that "agreement" confidential. Cook's lawyer
would not have taken this case if he didn't smell a big $$ settlement...
my guess is the cult had far more incentive to settle out of court
that did Cook's side.
 

SpecialFrog

Silver Meritorious Patron
The agreement signed by a judge merely says there was no court ordered
settlement...we do not know what was agreed to "voluntarily" behind the scenes by
the lawyers. Indeed, most civil cases are settled in this manner...lots of
bluff and bluster between the antagonists..sometimes right up to
the seating of a jury for a trial...then a sudden "agreement" between the
parties before any testimony goes on record...and "case dismissed".
...with the terms of that "agreement" confidential.

Except the signed agreement contains explicit terms of settlement including a reference to the financial aspects of it. If the terms of the settlement were confidential I would expect to see a reference to a confidential agreement in the court settlement and likely a statement from at least one of the parties that the terms of the agreement were confidential.

In this case, people are speculating that even the existence of the agreement is confidential and was not disclosed to the court.
 

tikk

Patron with Honors
Except the signed agreement contains explicit terms of settlement including a reference to the financial aspects of it. If the terms of the settlement were confidential I would expect to see a reference to a confidential agreement in the court settlement and likely a statement from at least one of the parties that the terms of the agreement were confidential.

In this case, people are speculating that even the existence of the agreement is confidential and was not disclosed to the court.

Thank you. The idea that Scientology would structure two deals, one which restricts Cook's speech and lets her keep the $100k, and another which just gives her money is asinine because if Cook violates, Scientology would have NO LEGAL MECHANISM BY WHICH TO GET ITS MONEY BACK. Additionally, they'd effectively be handing Cook leverage in the form of money to finance a future defense against breach. To reiterate, because the governing legal document in case of a breach states that Cook was given no additional money, the implication of everyone's Monday morning quarterbacking is that Scientology gave millions of dollars away that it has no way of retrieving if Cook breaches. This would contradict everything that is known about the effectiveness of Scientology's litigation machine, as it practically amounts to legal malpractice.
 

tikk

Patron with Honors
The agreement signed by a judge merely says there was no court ordered
settlement...we do not know what was agreed to "voluntarily" behind the scenes by
the lawyers. Indeed, most civil cases are settled in this manner...lots of
bluff and bluster between the antagonists..sometimes right up to
the seating of a jury for a trial...then a sudden "agreement" between the
parties before any testimony goes on record...and "case dismissed".
...with the terms of that "agreement" confidential. Cook's lawyer
would not have taken this case if he didn't smell a big $$ settlement...
my guess is the cult had far more incentive to settle out of court
that did Cook's side.

Yet another Monday morning quarterback with no skin in the game making bold assumptions with no evidence, even less thought (e.g., why would Cook's attorney *ever* entertain working on contingency for a *defendant* in a liquidated damages breach suit?), and blithely assessing risk without acknowledging the risk faced by Cook if found liable.
 

Lulu Belle

Moonbat
Thank you. The idea that Scientology would structure two deals, one which restricts Cook's speech and lets her keep the $100k, and another which just gives her money is asinine because if Cook violates, Scientology would have NO LEGAL MECHANISM BY WHICH TO GET ITS MONEY BACK. Additionally, they'd effectively be handing Cook leverage in the form of money to finance a future defense against breach. To reiterate, because the governing legal document in case of a breach states that Cook was given no additional money, the implication of everyone's Monday morning quarterbacking is that Scientology gave millions of dollars away that it has no way of retrieving if Cook breaches. This would contradict everything that is known about the effectiveness of Scientology's litigation machine, as it practically amounts to legal malpractice.


well you're a real party pooper. :p


(just kidding. you know I love you.)
 

tikk

Patron with Honors
I don't think Cook's future testimony was that important. What I think was important were the discovery questions, that the CofS couldn't possibly afford to answer as laid out. No CofS person could be allowed to take the stand or even do a depo as they would have been made mincemeat of by a sharp, tenacious and well-briefed attorney.

Paul

So Scientology's lawyers were somehow boxed into a corner by a set of interrogatories? Please. It's not the least bit difficult to render interrogatories meaningless with evasive responses, especially loaded interrogatories.
 

Rene Descartes

Gold Meritorious Patron
So Scientology's lawyers were somehow boxed into a corner by a set of interrogatories? Please. It's not the least bit difficult to render interrogatories meaningless with evasive responses, especially loaded interrogatories.

Yeah but meaningless to the public at large so as not to create a PR fiasco?

Rd00
 

Rene Descartes

Gold Meritorious Patron
We were talking about interrogatories. Imagine a scenario for me where Scientology's evasive answers on interrogatories created a "PR fiasco."

Maybe my supposition that evasive answers reach the public is innaccurate.

Is this correct? That evasive answers to interrogatories never make it to the public?

I thought I saw discussion a few weeks ago (by others) about the interogatories opening the door to potential perjury on the part of CoS? Oh well, maybe they were blowing smoke out of their backside. If so, then nevermind.

Rd00
 

RogerB

Crusader
I don't think Cook's future testimony was that important. What I think was important were the discovery questions, that the CofS couldn't possibly afford to answer as laid out. No CofS person could be allowed to take the stand or even do a depo as they would have been made mincemeat of by a sharp, tenacious and well-briefed attorney.

Paul

Yes, and this is the where and what of them having their balls in a wringer . . . they were threatened with having their staff cross-examined and deposed etc. This they HAD to avoid.

So the end result is Debbie's email is out there as is her damaging testimony . . . and all for a little time spent with no penalty to her.

R
 

tikk

Patron with Honors
Maybe my supposition that evasive answers reach the public is innaccurate.

Is this correct? That evasive answers to interrogatories never make it to the public?

I thought I saw discussion a few weeks ago (by others) about the interogatories opening the door to potential perjury on the part of CoS? Oh well, maybe they were blowing smoke out of their backside. If so, then nevermind.

Rd00

I think you're greatly overestimating the magnitude of damage that could potentially arise from whatever responses Scientology might provide on interrogatories. I didn't see the previous discussion on interrogatories but I'm going to guess that it probably didn't cover the fact that one possible response to an interrogatory is an objection (and you can object on multiple bases). So what happens when Scientology answers your 50 count interrogatories with 50 objections? Well, you might complain to the court, which might then set a hearing to help it decide what questions must be answered and what questions are off base; and/or Scientology could file for a protective order asking the court to determine that certain questions asked would not have to be answered. The court could also look at the questions and say, yeah, they're all beyond the scope of what interrogatories are intended to produce, either because they're questions better suited for trial, or they're questions beyond the scope of what the party should ever have to answer (e.g., trade secret, non-party, privileged content, etc.).

In this instance, it's important to remember that the parties had very different ideas as to what this case was about--to Scientology it was all on paper, there's no need to even listen to Cook. To Cook it was about duress and the unfair language within the contract itself. Cook's interrogatories reflected that theory of the case... but the court hadn't yet set the parameters for the trial, and thus hadn't ruled as to the scope of Cook's duress defense. The court had gotten a peak at the duress defense during the injunction hearing, but (a) there's no way of telling whether it would limit that defense nat trial; and (b) it's my understanding that there was no way of telling which judge would be the trial judge, making it even more difficult to read the tea leaves.

I don't know whether Scientology filed a response to the interrogatories but based on my memory of them, and my memory is that many of them were extremely leading, Scientology would've simply objected to them all, putting the ball back in Cook's court to force the court to make Scientology answer them. Which I hope I don't have to explain costs money. And realize that Scientology isn't special in this regard; only the blandest interrogatories (e.g., corporate office address, name and number of corporate officers) are answered without a hassle by any attorney. And if I recall correctly, Cook's request for admissions were also highly leading and unlikely to produce responses without a protracted fight.

Not that the interrogatories and request for admissions were necessarily a waste of time--they told a story about the case, sent a signal to the court how the suit would be defended, and dictated the media narrative, all of which were important steps. But it was always unlikely that they'd be answered honestly. Realize that I'm not criticizing Cook's attorney--I'm sure he understands that his chances of those questions being asked without a significant struggle were next to nil.

But the fact that posters here was swayed by the idea that Cook's interrogatories spelled doom for Scientology helps illustrate my point that the posters alleging Cook got millions are doing so not only with an incomplete understanding of what legal factors matter in negotiating a settlement, but also how motion practice and litigation actually work.
 
... But the fact that posters here was swayed by the idea that Cook's interrogatories spelled doom for Scientology helps illustrate my point that the posters alleging Cook got millions are doing so not only with an incomplete understanding of what legal factors matter in negotiating a settlement, but also how motion practice and litigation actually work.

:thumbsup:


Mark A. Baker
 
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