Good for him! He's been fighting this battle for a long, long time. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...ientology_dc_2 Church of Scientology Pays $8.7 Million to Ex-Member Sat May 11,10:15 PM ET SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A former Scientologist who received $8.7 million from the church this week 22 years after first suing it for mental abuse hailed the settlement on Saturday as a victory that could unleash a flurry of similar lawsuits. "They're facing a cigarette company meltdown," Lawrence Wollersheim, 53, told Reuters, referring to the flurry of claims filed against tobacco companies after the first successful suit brought by a smoker with health problems. "This case has broken their litigation machine," said Wollersheim, who co-founded the FACTNet.org Web site devoted to disseminating information about cults and groups accused of mind control. "I'm extremely happy to end such horrible litigation." In a telephone interview from Nevada, Wollersheim said counseling treatments the Church of Scientology of California put him through caused him to develop bipolar disorder and pushed him to the brink of suicide. He sued the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles in 1980 and a jury awarded him $30 million in 1986. The award was reduced to $2.5 million on appeal and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1994. Accumulated interest bumped the amount up more than three-fold. The Church of Scientology of California finally paid $8,674,843 on Thursday. "This lawsuit was over 20 years old and concerned events from 30 years ago," Neil Levin, president of the now inactive Church of Scientology of California, said in a prepared statement. "We wanted to put this matter to rest." Wollersheim said he believed the case was the first in which the church had paid a judgement to a former member, although he said the organization may have paid settlements that were not made public. The church, whose members include actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, has filed lawsuits against individuals, Web sites and others that have publicly criticized it. Linda Simmons Hight, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology International, the Los parent of affiliate organizations worldwide, said church officials believed it to be the first payment of a judgement, at least in the last 20 years. Hight dismissed Wollersheim's charges that the church abused members and stonewalled on paying the judgement. "That's so outrageous and insulting that I don't want to respond to that," she said. "I don't want to respond to his ramblings." Hight could not say how many lawsuits had been filed against the church by former members or if there had been any settlements. "This is the last piece of litigation," she said. Wollersheim said that after years of therapy and medication he still suffered bouts of high-level anxiety during times of stress.