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Scientology Settles with Debbie Cook

Discussion in 'Debbie Cook' started by Pooks, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. Mimsey Borogrove

    Mimsey Borogrove Crusader

    Hi Tikk,

    I was wondering how you would go about defending Debbie if she came to you in the same circumstances - she had an onerous NDA she was being sued for allegedly violating, though she was trying to "put Scientology back on source" per Scientology policy, and in discussing the matter you found out about her physical and mental abuse and imprisonment at the hands of DM at int, his coercing into signing it, her not asking for the 80 K settlement and her husband's not even taking his check with him, the subsequent destruction of her business by slander and libel emitting from the church.

    If she was your client, how would you bring some sort of justice or recompense to her?

  2. tikk

    tikk Patron with Honors

    It's a tricky question because as an attorney your goal is the client's goal. If Cook just wanted to be out from underneath the threat posed by the NDA, then it appears that her defense was well managed.

    If Cook wanted to wage a war at her own risk in order to obtain a high settlement, I'd have handled it similarly but I'd have added counterclaims for false imprisonment and/or whatever other torts Cook suffered as a result of her time spent in the Hole. But as I've implied elsewhere, Cook was a long way away from being in the leveraged position to demand such a settlement.

    If Cook wanted to wage a war at her own risk in order to affect real change within Scientology, I would have focused less on the duress defense (though I'd not have ignored it) and more on the religious free exercise defense. The reason for this is somewhat complex:

    (1) duress is a defense in which an appeals court is far more likely to defer to the lower court's factual findings since duress is such a fact-based defense; meaning that if you lose with your duress defense, you're less likely to win on appeal;

    (2) conversely, a losing religious free exercise defense is more likely to be reversed on appeal because there are far fewer factual findings the appeals court needs to rely on to decide the matter--you don't need to look far beyond the NDA and Cook's e-mail to decide whether Cook's free exercise rights are being violated;

    (3) the precedential value of an appeals court finding that the Church of Scientology could not prevent, by contract or otherwise, its ex-members from continuing to practice Scientology would not only invalidate much of the language the CoS routinely uses in its NDAs, but it potentially would be backbreaking to the CoS because it would be an important step in de-monopolizing Scientology;

    (4) if these were Cook's goals, I'd have endorsed removing the case to federal court because the potential precedential impact would be greater if a federal Circuit (Appeals) court found as I describe previously;

    (5) I think the CoS is far more fearful of a litigation outcomes in which an independent brand of Scientology is recognized, or one in which their unconscionable contract language is invalidated, than one which ends in a mud-slinging fight about Cook's time spent in the Hole. Accordingly, even if the client decided to settle after choosing this path, there'd be more leverage available because you'd be attacking Scientology's greater institutional fears.
  3. Mimsey Borogrove

    Mimsey Borogrove Crusader

    Thank you very much - I really appreciate your answers. Not being a lawyer, I never thought of the options you presented. I didn't realize a lot depended on what she wants to achieve. I presume, she, being a true believer, had different goals then what many on the various boards had, and thus they felt let down. It explains a lot. Thanks again,

  4. scooter

    scooter Gold Meritorious Patron

    I'm guessing she and Wayne walked away with a eight-figure settlement from the cult because:

    a) DM didn't want her to become a rallying point for disgruntled scilons a la Rathbun and Rinder

    b) if her NDA was successfully challenged, there's a whole lot of bitter ex-SO execs out here who'd talk and that wouldn't be pretty for DM

    c) she threatened to say where the money was really going in one of her media appearances and I'm sure the Dwarf had cold shivers go down His whatever-it-is-things-that-low-on-the-foodchain-have-instead-of-a-spine when He saw that

    d) DM didn't like to see Rathbun et al having her as an ally and thought He could at least "neutralize" her and Wayne for the "right price" and so finally "have a win" in His battle against Rathbun.

    and e) (which I think is the most important reason) DM couldn't be sure what else she and/or Wayne were going to say about Him and so He overrode any advice He was being given and said "Pay the f*#king SP bitch NOW to shut her up" (or something similar - I'm paraphrasing as I don't speak illiterate foul-mouthed cancerous stunted gnome very well:coolwink:)

    My opinion only:biggrin:

    Guess we'll never know unless someone from the cult involved in this does escape and tell us, or the FBI finally raids and releases the documents.:happydance:
  5. LA SCN

    LA SCN NOT drinking the kool-aid

    Absolutely. This fits right in with DM's infamous penchant for bypassing the terminals in charge of an activity.

    Where I swerved out of control on this Debbie Cook thing is in assuming she was an ex like Amy Scobee, Jefferson Hawkins, Blown For Good, etc. and was going to the mat with the church in the legal actions.

    She was not. She remains a True Believer and did not want to damage the church, only get it on policy. She was never on board with Marty and the Indies. And she was never on board with anyone else except other True Believers.

    Tikks post about the goal of the client being the goal of the attorney was key, a duh-ope moment for me when the mist cleared. It was never Debbies' goal to bring down the church, which I fervently wanted to see take place in the courts and main media. I believe with the help of a good lawyer and a minimum of actions, she got just what she wanted per her emails entered into the court record as Exhibits A and B, below.

    And I absolutely believe she extracted her 'pound of flesh' for her troubles.





  6. TG1

    TG1 Angelic Poster

    Scooter, thank you for posting those emails Debbie sent to the Co$.

    These messages to the Co$ that she knows about crimes and coverups that have not yet been exposed have reverberated in my brain ever since I first read them.

    What I do NOT understand, however, is why in the world the Co$'s lawyers put those messages into the public record. That was short-sighted to the point of legal blindness. :wink2:

    These messages of Debbie's will be pored over in rabbinical fashion by exes, indies, critics, and the press who want to know what crimes and coverups she alluded to.

    Tikk, I understand all your arguments about why you think there was not a side agreement. Nonetheless, I personally have seen white-shoe law firms negotiate secret agreements on behalf of clients or themselves, the terms of which don't align with master agreements that were lodged with the court.

    Finally, I have absolutely no knowledge of what Debbie got or didn't get from the Co$ in any side agreement, or whether such a side agreement exists.

  7. LA SCN

    LA SCN NOT drinking the kool-aid

    Er, um, you're welcome! :yes:
  8. TG1

    TG1 Angelic Poster

    Oops! :duh:

    I should have said, "LA SCN, thank you for posting those messages Debbie sent to the Co$."

    Sorry 'bout that.

  9. Terril park

    Terril park Sponsor

    Tikk commented that the CO$ lawyers are smart. I'm sure he's correct.
    However of far more import is that they were being micro-managed by a psychopath.

    Those letters were put into the record by Debbie's side. Very possibly CO$ attorney didn't know about them.

    Seems the main Lawyer had no idea of what Debbie had gone through in the hole ect and after the first days testimony they dropped the case.

    Debbies attorney asked for the tape of her signing the NDA and was told it wasn't available. Only to have CO$ lawyers themselves later produce it.
  10. Smilla

    Smilla Ordinary Human


    It all makes perfect sense.
  11. TG1

    TG1 Angelic Poster

    Terril, I believe (at least I thought) that the Co$ lawyers appended Debbie's letters to the Church as attachments to their original complaint and request for a temporary injunction to keep Debbie silent.

    I've looked online for Debbie's letters that LA SCN posted above, but cannot find them, so I cannot confirm which side filed them with the court. However, the original complaint included the following language which I believe intended to persuade the court that Debbie's letters were evidence that she was attempting to extort monies and/or silence and/or renegotiate her original agreement with the Co$:

    "On January 1, 2012 and again on January 15, 2012, Defendants threatened (and attempted to extort) the Church with additional disparaging disclosures in violation of their Agreements in an effort to deter the Church from exercising its First Amendment petition rights."

    (I'm ignoring the punctuation errors made in the above excerpt.)

    LA SCN, do you know which side filed Debbie's letters with the court, thereby making them visible to all of us?

  12. ILove2Lurk

    ILove2Lurk Lisbeth Salander

    OK, I'm pushing ALL IN at this point.


    I'm going with what I thought the first day the news broke about a fast settlement.

    I think it cost at least $7-10 million to seal this deal.

    I've read many of the "reasonable" and "logical" and "legal" explanations on this thread. How things should be per the laws and legal protocol.

    But think about one thing.

    Many times in life things do not stack up very evenly. Very irrational and unexpected outcomes are the norm, especially when the individual(s) on the other side of table might be: unpredictable, psychotic, erratic, unstable, utterly mad perhaps, even worse.

    The biggest thing I've learned over the years is: that it's a big mistake to put my "template" of reason, logic, common sense (the lens I look through at life), over a situation that is obviously "nuts" in the first place with the result of trying to "understand" it. My template just doesn't fit over it and there's no explanation to be had.

    Crazy is simply crazy. Unpredictable is simply unpredictable. Chaotic is chaotic. No more to be said about it.

    I believe throw out all the past legal precedents here . . . and go for the crazy, knee-jerk settlement in this case. The panic-driven, veins bulging in the temples "get this off my plate at any cost" scenario.

    As I said, "I'm all in" on this hand. :yes:

    Play your cards the way you want.:roflmao:


    Sure is a fun thread. We'll find out one day for real. :coolwink:
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  13. Smilla

    Smilla Ordinary Human

  14. TG1

    TG1 Angelic Poster

    OK, bidding against Tikk is scary. I like and respect his expertise and his conclusions.

    However, ILove2Lurk has inspired me with his write-a-real-number-on-the-back-of-an-envelope-and-slide-it-across-the-table move. And since I'm playing with fantasy money and have already opened and partaken from a bottle of zinfandel tonight, I'm able to live in a fantasy land where Tikk's legal logic does not apply.

    Even though I would love to think Debbie and Wayne had the sense to push for eight figures AND had a fairy godmother who could make their dreams come true, I'm going to bid $3-5 million. It's what I think they might have imagined they could live on -- $75K to $100K/year. I think they'd also have paid Jeffrey the going 30% contingency fee.

    Their "havingness" is not mine. But that's what i imagine theirs might be.

    (You just had to know that eventually someone would dredge up havingness, didn't you?)

    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  15. LA SCN

    LA SCN NOT drinking the kool-aid

    I first saw them as a sidebar on a Village Voice article from Tony Ortega as I recall - I may be wrong. They live here on the Tampa Bay Times website: (Exhibit A)

    and (Exhibit B)

    however the second link does not appear to work (its working now). I originally downloaded the pdf's on 10 February 2012 as the news was fresh.

    I have the original pdfs I downloaded and will be glad to send to anyone via back channel. They were entered as part of the court record but it is not indicated by whom.
  16. ILove2Lurk

    ILove2Lurk Lisbeth Salander

    You're right and I think Tony mentioned somewhere he got them from Tobin and Childs the day of the testimony.

    This was never made clear.

    They're sorta damning. I'd guess the Debbie Cook side entered them, but I could never find out for sure. :confused2:

  17. LA SCN

    LA SCN NOT drinking the kool-aid

    Good move. I've been on the 'Beam' :yes:

    I'd have had to remedy mine if you didn't... :biggrin:
  18. Terril park

    Terril park Sponsor

    I spent an hour trying to nail this down. Found a couple of opinions that
    Debbies side filed it, and that seems to be how I remember it. There are thousands of posts on this subject between Marty Tony and here, and I'd spent enough time so I went with what I got.

    Exhibit A was originally sent to Kathy True on Jan 1, as was Debbies famous Mail to everyone she knew. Dunno what was sent on Jan 15th.

    Its worth noting that Exhibit A at least, disses DM, referring to his violence and off policy and off tech actions. This is in fact "forwarding the enemy line" which is very much against PR,GO/OSA policy and probably even
    more strongly against DM's personal policy. This tends to indicate Debbie's side filed it. If they didn't it indicates that DM didn't know what he was getting into or doing.
  19. RogerB

    RogerB Crusader

    Yes . . all indications are that the Cof$ would buy them off.

    Look at the the mindset of DM . . . . money is everything! Of course he would use money to get out of a bad situation.

    The way the Texas law scene is, he, cohorts and victims were next to be subpoenaed for for deposition . . . . .


  20. :clap:well said. bravo!!