Lawrence Wollersheim vs Scientology – Reviewing a Historical Win

I was reading an Ex-Jehova Witness blog today about the Watchtowers official stance on Shunning. It referenced a Wikipedia article on shunning, so I took a few minutes to read it. That article then referenced a 1986 court case Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology of California. I had never heard of this case before, I mean why would I? I have only been out of Scientology about 2 years now and haven’t taken the time to research many of it’s past legal cases, it’s a part time hobby just informing myself of all the current cases and stories.

But Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology of California caught my eye -

Lawrence Wollersheim, a former Scientologist, successfully argued that he had been harassed and his photography business nearly destroyed as a result of Fair Game measures. Ref:  These included getting Scientologist employees to resign, and Scientologist customers to boycott or refuse to pay him. The 1986 judgment by a Los Angeles jury was upheld by the California Court of Appeal in 1989.

During appeals, the Church again claimed Fair Game was a “core practice” of Scientology and was thus constitutionally protected “religious expression”. The court decided that the Church’s campaign “to ruin Wollersheim economically, and possibly psychologically” should be discouraged rather than protected. Twenty years after the start of the case, the Church paid Wollersheim a judgment, with interest, that amounted to over $8 Million.

The court decided “For reasons set forth in section II, we have concluded Scientology is not constitutionally immunized from civil liability for its cumulative course of conduct to intentionally inflict emotional injury on Wollersheim. However, this course of conduct does not supply a suitable predicate for a cause of action based on negligent infliction of emotional injury.

These actions are potentially actionable only when they are driven by an animus which can properly qualify them as “outrageous conduct.” That is, they must be done for the purpose of emotionally injuring the plaintiff, or at the least with reckless disregard about their adverse impact on plaintiff’s mental health. (III)”

In my opinion, any church who has policies on Shunning/Disconnection and Fair Game is intentionally trying to inflict emotional harm on it’s members as no doubt they enforce their “policies” by applying just the right amount of pressure to it’s members! But if it’s members would grow “a pair” and stand up for themselves and for their family and friends then we would see these so called ”churches” with less and less power over our lives!

Lawrence Wollersheim talks about Winning the largest court case in history against Scientology!

Lawrence Wollersheim talks with Anonymous

Lawrence is Co-Founder of, which is an acronym for Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network. Some of you may be familiar with this website, I know it was one of the websites that got me to really question some things in Scientology. Thanks Lawrence Wollersheim – for doing all you do!

One Response to Lawrence Wollersheim vs Scientology – Reviewing a Historical Win

  1. Thank you for presenting this summary of Lawrence Wollersheim’s case. It is to the point.