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Lawsuit against Albertans fizzles out

Title: Lawsuit against Albertans fizzles out
Date: Wednesday, 20 August 1980
Publisher: Calgary Herald (Canada)
Author: Gordon Lee
Main source: link (236 KiB)

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The Church of Scientology's four-year-old defamation lawsuit against seven Albertans has fizzled out on the eve of trial.

The Scientology organization was required to deposit $45,000 by Monday at the Court of Queen's Bench in Edmonton. But Calgary lawyer Ken Staroszik, who represents the seven defendants, said the court clerk's office confirmed Tuesday that the money has not been received.

At a Queen's Bench hearing June 18 in Edmonton, Justice Arthur Crossley ordered the organization to post the money as security for costs in the event it lost the case. Crossley said the lawsuit would be dismissed if the organization did not deposit the money in the clerk's office within two months.

Staroszik said that while the organization's failure to come up with the money will kill the case, his clients may return to court one last time to ask for recovery of all their legal expenses from the Scientology group. He estimated his clients' total legal costs at about $50,000.

"They've dragged us through four years of litigation and four times through the court of appeal (but) they don't want to go to trial," complained Staroszik.

A two-week trial of the case had been scheduled to start Oct. 6 in Edmonton.

Staroszik said his clients were pleased the case is now dead, although they were "disappointed in some ways" because they wanted the organization's allegations against themselves "dealt with in a public forum."

The Scientology "missions" of Calgary, Edmonton and Old Strathcona filed a statement of claim in September, 1976 asking damages of about $115,000 for an alleged conspiracy to defame and interfere with the organization.

The Scientologists claimed the defendants defamed the group by writing letters as early as 1975 to public officials and several organizations.