After seven years of wrangling through a process of seemingly endless litigation the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Scientologist Lisa McPherson is over.

Some see it as the practical finale of a bitter battle. This view certainly includes the latest judge to sit on the case, who ardently encouraged a settlement to bring him some relief reports the St. Petersburg Times.

However, for former Scientologists who often suffer in silence and others that have placed themselves at risk by opposing the organization Time Magazine once called the “Cult of Greed,” this ending may seem somewhat disappointing.

Many would prefer to see the “cult” face the proverbial music in a court of law, instead of getting off the hook through a settlement in the nick of time.

And this settlement includes the usual “gag order” preferred by Scientology reported the St. Petersburg Times, which prohibits the plaintiffs from disclosing its terms and just how much cash Scientology parted with to essentially buy their silence.

Lisa McPherson is dead and nothing will bring her back, but it would have been meaningful for Scientology to be compelled through a court proceeding to explain its treatment of the 36-year-old woman, which led up to her untimely death.

It appears that millions of dollars have changed hands and the McPherson family has been well provided for.

It is also likely that the plaintiff’s counsel Ken Dandar walked away with at least a million dollars from the settlement, though he offered cryptically, “Things are not always what they appear to be.”

Perhaps suing Scientology is like mud wrestling with a pig, the litigant and his or her lawyer gets covered with mud, while the pig actually has a good time.

The Church of Scientology seems to have turned litigation into something of a religious rite. Its founder L. Ron Hubbard reportedly prescribed litigation as a means of battering and/or silencing critics.

After seven years of battering the McPherson family finally found that a settlement was preferable to wrestling a judgment against Scientology in court.

No doubt Scientology will spin the story its own way.

The organization will probably tell its faithful and anyone else that’s listening that there was never really any substance to support the Lisa McPherson lawsuit.

And loyalists from Tom Cruise to the not so elite “Sea Org” (full-time staffers) will likely accept whatever explanation the organization offers.

The rest of us will never know the details.

We can only surmise that something must have gone terribly wrong to send Ms. McPherson over the edge running naked down a Florida street. And something even more bizarre may have led to her death after many days of confinement under the direct supervision of Scientologists.

Scientology has taken steps recently to make sure its “religious services” are essentially exempt from further lawsuits. Its members now routinely sign documents that largely immunize the organization from meaningful accountability and allow Scientology sweeping prerogatives regarding such things as medical situations and decisions, not to mention confidential files.

This all makes it much more difficult for another Lisa McPherson lawsuit to arise against the organization in the future.

Other than the bad press Scientology endured there will be no reckoning regarding Lisa McPherson.

First criminal charges were dismissed concerning the death of Lisa McPherson and now there won’t even be a civil trial.

Has Scientology topped O.J. Simpson?

But of course there is that undisclosed settlement they had to pay out.

However, given the purported vast wealth of the anointed “Cult of Greed” this may have amounted to little more than a quick dip into petty cash.

The Lisa McPherson wrongful death lawsuit ends, not with a bang, but a whimper


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