Drop Action Against 5 Albertans
Date: January 22, 1980
Scientologists' suit to name only 3
The Church of Scientology yesterday proposed to discontinue a lawsuit against five of eight Albertans it says conspired to interfere with and defame the organization.
The action follows 3 1/2 years of pre-trial applications involving seven Calgarians and an Edmontonian as the defendants and three Scientology missions in the province.
Ross McLeod, representing the church, refused to say why the action was initiated less than a month before the Feb. 11 trial date. But he ruled out speculation that the church was backing down because it has failed to produce financial records the lawyer for the Calgary defendants says are needed to prepare his clients' defence.
Lawyer Ken Staroszik, representing four Calgarians who would be dropped from the lawsuit list, said the case has been extended unnecessarily because the church has failed to produce the records, dating from 1975 to the present, although ordered to do so by the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench.
Speaking on behalf of the Calgarians, Mr. Staroszik said they will consider accepting the church's proposal if the plaintiff is willing to secure court costs, which he indicated are substantial because of numerous pre-trial appearances.
Mr. McLeod said the church is prepared to make a contribution to the court costs, but he made it clear the Scientologists have kept their action alive against the three remaining defendants living in Calgary. He added that the church is not reducing its claim for general, punitive and special damages.
The lawsuit was initiated in September, 1976, and stems from letters the defendants wrote to their MPs and MLAs criticizing the church. The Calgary defendants are all former members of the Church of Scientology.