Scientology Settles with Debbie Cook

idrizomare

Patron with Honors
Random observations on the Debbie Cook litigation

Caveat: I have no inside information. This is pure speculation and observation.

If the newspaper is correct and (almost) no money changed hands, then not a bad outcome for CofS. They now (presumably) have an agreement that Debbie says nothing about CofS and does not associate with anyone who says bad things about CofS. This agreement I'm sure they can say was not signed under duress.

Yeah, they had Debbie's testimony about the Hole, but none of that was new news.

Maybe I'm out of the loop, but it's been a while since Scientology sued someone for saying bad things about them. Rather than the church turning tail to run due to this case, maybe they're returning to an old strategy. And not a bad one, really. By suing, Scientology creates a new problem in an enemy's life that becomes a bargaining chip. Since Scientology filed the lawsuit, Scientology can walk away from the litigation whenever its wants. Maybe with a nice agreement in their pocket.

Wasn't this incident over in a hurry? We went from Debbie's letter to the settlement in less than 4 months.

The case must be a huge blow to Marty, despite his spin. He'd been telling his flock for months that the threat of litigation was gone, but now it looks like it's back and with the familiar old pattern. The defendant's alternatives are to sign a confidentiality agreement or face years of litigation.

Marty repeats his usual threat: certain bad things better not happen or the gloves come off. I always assumed he was blowing smoke, but maybe there's something there. If they were willing to sue Debbie Cook, why not Marty? Are Marty and Scientology in some sort of uneasy stand-off? Assuming Marty knows anything sufficiently damaging (yeah, it's a stretch), he can't use it lightly if it's the only thing keeping him out of civil court. It has to be saved for doomsday.

In return for bowing out of the case, Marty says that he demanded that nothing damage the "win" of Feb 9 and 10. Such a nice guy to make demands about a settlement to which he's not a party.

Oh well. Isn't this always the way litigation with CofS goes?
 

Freeminds

Bitter defrocked apostate
I know. But it's the Internet Age. We will see.

Scientology's usual Achilles' Heel, the Internet, represents the unknown quantity in that settlement. It's just too easy for a person to conceal their identity, on-line. It makes a gagging order simultaneously worthless, and powerful.

If Debbie Cook could suppress her ego and avoid talking about how she was a high-ranking exec, she could become just another unknown critic on the Internet, and (with a little technical know-how, and some precautions) I don't see how she could be stopped from posting things that are critical of Miscavige and the mainstream Scientology cult. All that is required is that she operates anonymously. (Will Debbie Cook be able to become a new Scamizdat? No: I don't think so. She's still suffering the Hubbardite mindfuck, at least for now.)

On the other hand, if somebody who doesn't like CofS and Miscavige also feels that Debbie Cook "has it coming", they could use the Internet to post critical messages in her name... getting extra attention for whatever they might say, with the added bonus of getting Debbie Cook hauled back into court. A person who contributed to Cook's legal costs and feels that she let them down, for instance.

So this is weird, but the best defense against being accused of violating the terms of the settlement... is that there are lots of Debbie Cooks on the Internet, all saying mean things about the asthmatic dwarf and his gang.

Jet-age UFO cult legal tech meets Information-age anarchy tech, in the information medium. This is going to be messy.
 
So the story according to Otega (hope I am paraphrasing accurately)....is that the COS could have walked away at anytime because they were sueing her. And if they had persisted Debbie may have been up for $300 000 or more. So it's good for Dangeous Debbie that COS dropped it and not too bad that she had to promise to shut up about antything bad about the cult, to anyone, forever!

That doesn't look right to me. They HAD TO!!!!! get her to STFU!!!! She had already put them right in the poo bin and was likely to bring out all sorts of other terrible things. It would be worth paying a LOT for stopping that. If they just walked away, where would that leave them? With a totally useless gag order, and that could start floodgates of others.

They did not walk away because they HAD to negotiate with her. I do not believe that she was not paid somehow. If it wasn't a payment, she must have been given something to keep her trap shut....and it has to be forever, remember.

If they didn't, they could NOT just walk away. Am I missing something....?
 

Mick Wenlock

Admin Emeritus (retired)
What is overlooked is that legally the church has a reasonable case to make concerning contract violation as well as the resources to drag this thing out for a very great time to come. That would be a world of potential hurt for Cook with a reasonable prospect of an eventual loss and little likelihood of a timely payout in the case of a 'win', at least not in anything resembling a reasonable timeframe. The Co$ are experts at delaying action. So even a 'win' could wind up bankrupting Cook, a 'loss' would just be a quicker death. In such circumstances taking the 'easy way out' is a sensible alternative, especially in light of the present health & financial difficulties being faced by Cook. Both sides drop present litigation and Cook can get on with her life.

Litigation is not a fun nor especially profitable activity on the whole, which is why cases overwhelmingly settle rather than get taken to court. That is the biggest ace in the hole that the church has: intimidation through the threat of extended litigation. It's an excellent reason to beat a tactical retreat and attorneys commonly advise minimizing risk and seeking a graceful way out.


Mark A. Baker


Well Mark you and I have been saying exactly that since this thing started (being a kind of milestone thing cos we actually agree on something LOL)

But here is the question - Cook KNEW all that before she sent the e-mail, she knew what DM is like, she knew what the CofS would do.

So why did she send it? Or did she think that writing it would "get some TA"? And when it all came crashing down on her head and the CofS started telling her she had been led astray by SPs did she go "running home to Momma begging for forgiveness"?
 
Marty quoted in Mick Wenlock's post above.

"... Litigation is not a fun nor especially profitable activity on the whole, which is why cases overwhelmingly settle rather than get taken to court. That is the biggest ace in the hole that the church has: intimidation through the threat of extended litigation. It's an excellent reason to beat a tactical retreat and attorneys commonly advise minimizing risk and seeking a graceful way out....."

And such a relief for Marty!
 

RogerB

Crusader
Ummmm, I think some folks have got the boot on the wrong foot, judging by comments above.

Reading the traffic on this, it says the CofS settled its case against Debbie . . . . not the other way around!

It wasn't Debbie who sought or initiated the "settlement" . . . she will have won on this whole parade . . . though the terms agreed unfortunately are again "in camera." For all we know, she might have even been paid big $$$ to go away and not reveal any more bad shit.

The history of this thing is that Debbie counter-sued . . . and it was there that the CofS had its balls in a wringer.

In actuality, Debbie has better things to do with her life than spend it in litigation with the Cof$, and the outcome that has been achieved in open court in actuality has been a win for her and us who want the Cof$ crimes exposed.

So I wouldn't gazette it as any sort of win by the cult or a triumph of its intimidation of former members.

R
 

larfalot

Patron
Me too. Absolutely. This is fucked up.

What is it gonna take to bring these muther fuckers down?

Sure is a bummer.......no matter what people like these observe within scientology they just cant resist MONEY. She was no hero to anyone in or out of scientology.
 

Terril park

Sponsor
Ummmm, I think some folks have got the boot on the wrong foot, judging by comments above.

Reading the traffic on this, it says the CofS settled its case against Debbie . . . . not the other way around!

It wasn't Debbie who sought or initiated the "settlement" . . . she will have won on this whole parade . . . though the terms agreed unfortunately are again "in camera." For all we know, she might have even been paid big $$$ to go away and not reveal any more bad shit.

The history of this thing is that Debbie counter-sued . . . and it was there that the CofS had its balls in a wringer.

In actuality, Debbie has better things to do with her life than spend it in litigation with the Cof$, and the outcome that has been achieved in open court in actuality has been a win for her and us who want the Cof$ crimes exposed.

So I wouldn't gazette it as any sort of win by the cult or a triumph of its intimidation of former members.

R

I agree
 

larfalot

Patron
Debbie Cook did deliver an EFFECTIVE BLOW to the Cult that is Scientology. Now, she has probably received more GAG MONEY to shut up and not reveal any more truth about Miss Cabbage and his cabbage patch called the HOLE and the fact that there is no one monitoring his EVIL PURPOSE! :angry:

Now, Debbie Cook needs to pay back all the Indies that donated to her attorney fees. Then she needs to MAKE UP THE DAMAGE she did whilst CAPTAIN at FRAUD LAND BASE.:yes:

I, personally, would like for her to meet Maria Pia Gardini and APOLOGIZE to Maria for the extortion and evil behavior Debbie Cook exhibited by forcing her to donate her entire inheritance. That was really, really EVIL!

Then pay her all of the money she extorted from this poor woman, who was so very dedicated to this VICIOUS, EVIL GROUP!

:yes:
COME ON DEBBIE COOK - Pay Maria Pia Gardini back!
MAKE UP THE DAMAGE!!!

yes.....that Debbie Cook had it both ways now.
 

Lulu Belle

Moonbat
I have no more proof than Marty does but, like him, I know how the CofS operates and it will have gone for getting the maximum information for its buck. There is no doubt about that.

There would be no chance that the cofs would miss out on getting names, and I am thinking that Cook will throw everyone who reached out to her under the bus.

Anyone who thinks this person has any courage, any willingness to protect others should probably re-join the cofs. You would be gullible enough for the SO.


Funny. When I said that about Minton's settlement - that the names of those who had contacted the LMT would be given to the church - I was CRUCIFIED for even suggesting such a thing.
 

Mick Wenlock

Admin Emeritus (retired)
Ummmm, I think some folks have got the boot on the wrong foot, judging by comments above.

Reading the traffic on this, it says the CofS settled its case against Debbie . . . . not the other way around!

It wasn't Debbie who sought or initiated the "settlement" . . . she will have won on this whole parade . . . though the terms agreed unfortunately are again "in camera." For all we know, she might have even been paid big $$$ to go away and not reveal any more bad shit.

and your proof for that is... what?

from reading everything there does not seem to be any indication of who initiated what. Merely that the CofS settled it.

And - at least according to the Judge's statement that was quoted earlier - nobody has paid anything.

kind of blows a hole in the "win" theory.

The history of this thing is that Debbie counter-sued . . . and it was there that the CofS had its balls in a wringer.

In actuality, Debbie has better things to do with her life than spend it in litigation with the Cof$, and the outcome that has been achieved in open court in actuality has been a win for her and us who want the Cof$ crimes exposed.

Well most people have better things to do than to spend their time in litigation (except for lawyers) but the only "outcome" has been some testimony that was already in the public domain thanks to others and the tampa press.

So I wouldn't gazette it as any sort of win by the cult or a triumph of its intimidation of former members.

R

good to know, you have it comfortably filed
 

TG1

Angelic Poster
Uncharacteristic, perhaps, but I'm going to hold off on opining about the settlement yet. There may be more actual facts about it that will be revealed.

TG1
 
After sleeping on it I think what happened is this - in the past DM has taken out any contenders to the throne. They have been declared, bought off, or tossed in the hole. He sees her as a valid threat, especially after the big reaction in the field to her email. His field not esmb's or M&M's. So he tried to slap a suit on her. When it backfired he told her on no uncertain terms he would spare no expense making her life a living hell. Perhaps he had some dirt on her he waved in her face. Who knows, but he got the point across. She does not have the deep pockets it takes to mount a sustained defense. Nor will the indi's back her unless she embraces their cause.

If any money changed hands it was maybe only enough to pay off her legal bills and a token for the damage to her business. But I doubt it.

Just part of his scorched earth policy concerning contenders.

Mimsey
 

tikk

Patron with Honors
Ummmm, I think some folks have got the boot on the wrong foot, judging by comments above.

Reading the traffic on this, it says the CofS settled its case against Debbie . . . . not the other way around!

It wasn't Debbie who sought or initiated the "settlement" . . . she will have won on this whole parade . . . though the terms agreed unfortunately are again "in camera." For all we know, she might have even been paid big $$$ to go away and not reveal any more bad shit.

The history of this thing is that Debbie counter-sued . . . and it was there that the CofS had its balls in a wringer.

In actuality, Debbie has better things to do with her life than spend it in litigation with the Cof$, and the outcome that has been achieved in open court in actuality has been a win for her and us who want the Cof$ crimes exposed.

So I wouldn't gazette it as any sort of win by the cult or a triumph of its intimidation of former members.

R

Cook/Baumgarten didn't have Scientology's "balls in a wringer" by merely filing a counterclaim. I explained why on the Voice site, so I'll quote myself here:

Cook/Baumgarten had a countersuit, but it was a countersuit merely seeking declaratory relief; that is, the only relief it sought was to have the court rule on the validity of the NDA. So if Scientology 'walked away,' the burden and cost would've been on Cook's attorney to essentially litigate the same case Scientology brought, and Cook still would've risked an adverse outcome--if the Court ruled in Scientology's favor, Cook would've owed whatever a referee determined the NDA said she owed. In other words, as leverage goes, it wasn't much to hang your hat on. The counterclaim was basically an option to play a game of chicken with Scientology, but that option would cost money and its outcome would be uncertain

And further to that, because the counterclaim didn't seek any damages, following the counterclaim through to the end, at great expense to the defense, would only return Cook/Baumgarten to their status quo.

Also, there's really no reason to think Scientology had to pay off Cook/Baumgarten other than to perhaps allow them to keep what they'd already been paid. The idea that Cook was sitting on so much more ammo to use against DM ignores the fact that Scientology was already aware of what Cook knew when they paid her off the first time. Why would that calculus change between the time she first signed and yesterday? Because she had a good day in court?

Realize that the validity of the NDAs had and still has not been ruled on, and neither party knew what a court would do when presented with the underlying legal question. Cook's good day in court has to be viewed in the context of what the court was there to determine at that time--the scope of the injunction Scientology sought against Cook. And the court didn't even rule on that--Scientology withdrew its injunction request after the first day of testimony. I think many people are conflating Cook's day of testimony with a "legal victory," but not a single legal issue pertaining to the validity of the agreement had been determined by any court, and despite that I think Cook had a good defense on a few fronts, I'd not have been shocked if the agreement were upheld. Scientology was not without good legal arguments to go on.

And it is this uncertainty as to the agreement's validity, more than anything, that most likely dictated the settlement terms. Scientology obviously didn't like where things were going, otherwise there was no reason for them to settle at this point in time (or at all even); if their fear was Cook's further testimony, then Scientology would want to settle on the eve of trial or deposition. But as I've stated, Scientology already knew what Cook could testify to before filing suit and seeking an injunction; the past hasn't changed. And there's also little reason to think Cook had a whole lot more up her sleeve because any testimony as to duress she'd likely have already brought at the injunction hearing; I mean, I don't see why her attorney would possibly advise she save the strongest stuff for last.

As for Cook/Baumgarten, even if they could reasonably conclude that they stood a 90% chance of success at trial, if the court nevertheless found against them and upheld the agreements, they'd have owed perhaps millions. So whatever the strength of their argument, any sliver of uncertainty has to be weighed with the downside of the worst case scenario, which was potentially very bad. That's not a lot of leverage to go asking for under the table money.

But in the end, Cook still won big. She (1) took Scientology's money; (2) disparaged, facially at least, the NDA with the Dec 31 e-mail; (3) testified in court as to matters which very likely would have violated the NDA had they not been privileged court testimony; (4) was returned to the immediate-post-NDA status quo without having suffered any of the repercussions as stated in the NDA, and (5) got to keep the money they'd originally been given.

But there's not a single plausible reason to speculate that they were given money beyond the settlement agreement.
 

Man de la Mancha

Patron with Honors
Wait, what? If it was all about ideals and taking down DM and not about money then why the hell would she take the settlement and stfu?

Who says she got any money? I realize noone wants to believe this, but Scn Inc may very well have won the case had it proceeded to its conclusion. Cook breached her contract - period. It is unlikely the court would be sympathetic to her claims of signing under duress (however real) when: 1) they had video showing a very different scenario, and 2) Cook perpetrated the same crap on others for 20 years. In my estimation it is just as likely Cook settled to avoid a $300,000 judgment, which I believe was the liquidated damages amount stated in the non-disclosure agreement.
 
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