Lawrence Dominick Wollersheim is a former Scientologist. He sued the Church of Scientology in 1980. The story of Xenu was made public when Church materials detailing the Operating Thetan Level 3 were used as exhibits.
In 1986, a jury awarded Wollersheim $5 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages for what jurors called intentional and negligent "infliction of emotional distress." On appeal this was reduced to $2.5 million. Scientology officials vowed never to pay, and the phrase "not one thin dime for Wollersheim," was chanted by Scientologists at court hearings. The church challenged the $2.5 million award, but the case was dismissed and Wollersheim was awarded an additional $130,506.71 in attorney's fees.
In their 1991 appeal, the Church of Scientology said that "Fair Game" was a "core practice of Scientology", and protected as "religious expression". This was also stated by Scientology attorneys in the case against Gerald Armstrong, in 1984, by religious expert Frank K. Flinn.
The settlement money was deposited with the court clerk, and was paid to Wollersheim's attorneys. According to Wollersheim, as of May, 2005, there was less than $2.3 million in the account and there was a claim by attorney Leta Schlosser for $2.7 million against the fund. Wollersheim says he had not received any of the funds from the case. On October 28, 2005 the Metropolitan News-Enterprise, a Los Angeles daily legal publication, reported that the Wollersheim case was ongoing and a trial was forthcoming regarding the Leta Schlosser claim. It said that Schlosser had received $100,000, but she was suing for more. On December 8, 2006, it reported that Wollersheim won the case on appeal, as Schlosser lacked an enforceable lien under the Rules of Professional Conduct.
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In 1993, he co-founded Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network (FACTNet or F.A.C.T.Net) as an information resource on cults. FACTNet has had legal battles with Scientology.
- s:Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology
- Ex-Scientologist Collects $8.7 Million In 22-Year-Old Case, Richard Leiby, Washington Post, May 10, 2002; P. A03.
- s:Church of Scientology v. Wollersheim
- Bio data in "Confidential Scriptures in Religions", 27 Nov 1994
- Fair game policy, excerpted court documents, Operation Clambake, retrieved 2/17/07.
- Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology, 212 Cal. App. 3d 872 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. 1989)
- Ortega, Tony (2008-06-30). "Scientology's Crushing Defeat". Village Voice. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
- Wollersheim, Larry May 16, 2005."Update Lawrence Wollersheim may need some of your help..." -- USENET posting
- Grace, Roger (28 October 2005) "25 Years Later, a High-Profile Superior Court Case Is Still on the Active List" Metropolitan News-Enterprise
- C.A. Rejects Attorney’s Lien Claim in Scientology Case, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, December 8, 2006
- "Substantial evidence supports the conclusion Scientology leaders made the deliberate decision to ruin Wollersheim economically and possible psychologically", California appellate court, 2nd district, 7th division, Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology of California, Civ. No. B023193 Cal. Super. (1986)
- Church of Scientology pays $8.6M in legal dispute, USA Today, May 11, 2002
- After 22 years, church pays damages to ex-member, The Age, (Australia), May 11, 2002