Tikk, on wwp, reports today....
There are some recent developments, none promising, but all which bear watching. It's all somewhat confusing, involving as many different courts as it does, so I'll first attempt to make sense of things up to this point, in the hopes of stemming inevitable questions.
Attorney Ken Dandar brought a wrongful death suit on behalf of the estate of Kyle Brennan in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida against defendants CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY FLAG SERVICE ORGANIZATION, INC., DENISE MISCAVIGE GENTILE, GERALD GENTILE, and THOMAS BRENNAN.
Attorneys for defendants have sought to force Ken Dandar to withdraw from the case. While it is not entirely clear by what basis it is seeking Dandar's withdrawal, my educated guess is that it pertains to an existing but undisclosed agreement between Dandar and FLAG, and/or a product of mediation or an order, perhaps arising out of the Lisa McPherson case. Since the terms of any hypothetical agreement, mediation or order isn't discussed in any of the available papers, it's not presently possible to address the merits of Scientology's argument as to why/whether Dandar must withdraw.
What we do know is that FLAG went to Florida state
court to make the argument that Dandar needs to withdraw from the federal case, and the state court agreed, ordering Dandar to withdraw.
In order to comply with the state court order (which was also appealed), Dandar moved to withdraw [PDF doc link
] from the federal suit, which withdrawal the federal court denied. Dandar argued that his withdrawal was involuntary and his withdrawal would prejudice his client, the estate, given his experience in litigating against Scientology, and the understandable disinterest from other attorneys in litigating against Scientology. Dandar's withdrawal would most likely end the case, which is what FLAG has wanted all along.
As noted, the federal district court saw through it and denied Dandar's withdrawal motion, which kept him on the case. This brings us up to date.
According to recently filed documents in the federal case, Scientology sought and received an order of civil contempt against Dandar in state court (the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida). Dandar appealed, but the state appeals court apparently issued and then dismissed a stay of the contempt order, which means that Dandar is being fined $1,000 each day he fails to withdraw from the Brennan federal case, even while the contempt order is on appeal. Dandar is attempting to get a hearing date in state court to stay the contempt order until the appeal is resolved, but Dandar alleges that FLAG lawyers aren't cooperating (surprise) in agreeing to a hearing date.
This Tuesday, a hearing as to whether Dandar is guilty of criminal
contempt will be heard before Judge Beach, which hearing stems from the aforementioned as-yet-unidentified basis/bases. Yes, Scientology is seeking to have Ken Dandar jailed for failing to withdraw from the Kyle Brennan wrongful death suit from which the federal court prohibited Dandar's withdrawal. Frighteningly, the state court appears ready to do this, if the trend thus far holds.
Ken Dandar's motion in federal court for an emergency injunction to "prohibit enforcement of a state order or conduct a hearing on the state court order" can be read here: [PDF doc link
Scientology's opposition to Dandar's emergency injunction motion can be read here: [PDF doc link
It's not clear to me what federal court will do with this. Dandar doesn't brief the precise issue, which I would bet is unique, extensively and my initial read on Scientology's brief is that it's somewhat disingenuous as to its representation of the law. I'll try to chime in later.
Most odd. I won't pretend to understand how thse two courts can contradict each other, leaving an attorney unable to satisfy both. Sounds like, rather than the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, it's more like the left hand knows but doesn't give a toss what the right hand is doing and is going to do their own thing regardless.