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Scientology libel suit dismissed

Title: Scientology libel suit dismissed
Date: Tuesday, 2 April 1985
Publisher: The Oregonian (Portland)
Main source: link (82 KiB)

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LOS ANGELES — A U.S. District Court judge Monday dismissed a $2 million libel suit by the Church of Scientology, of California against a Boston lawyer because of the failure of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to appear at a court-ordered deposition.

Lawyers for the Church of Scientology had argued that they had no way of contacting Hubbard, who was last seen in public in 1980 while living near Hemet, 70 miles east of Los Angeles.

Hubbard, 74, had been ordered to appear for a deposition in Los Angeles on March 20.

Judge Manuel L. Real, in dismissing the libel suit against Boston attorney Michael J. Flynn, challenged the claims that Hubbard cannot be contacted as he waved a Scientology advertising supplement from the Los Angeles Times at the Scientology lawyers.

The Scientology advertisement, which Real said he noticed in his Sunday newspaper, proclaimed, "You can always write to L. Ron Hubbard," and quoted Hubbard as saying: "I am always willing to help. . . . Any message addressed to me and sent to the address of the nearest Scientology church or mission listed in the back of this booklet shall be given prompt and full attention in accordance with my wishes."

Real introduced the Scientology advertising supplement into the court record after John G. Peterson, an attorney for Scientology, had repeated his position that Hubbard was not available to be deposed by Flynn's attorneys in connection with the libel suit.

The Church of Scientology of California filed the libel suit in 1983, charging that Flynn had implied in a speech that church members had tried to kill him.