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Reclusive Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard Fails to Appear for Questions

March 21, 1985

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard failed to appear in court Wednesday in his church’s defamation suit, prompting defense attorneys to say they will seek dismissal.

″We will ask that the lawsuit be dismissed because Mr. Hubbard did not show,″ said Jeffrey A. Tidus, attorney for Michael J. Flynn, a Boston lawyer being sued by the church.

The suit contends Flynn, a longtime litigant against the church, defamed the organization in June 1983 by allegedly accusing Scientology members of putting water in the gas tank of an airplane he was flying in 1979.

Church attorneys say Hubbard, 72, who has not been seen in public since 1980, no longer controls the church and its corporations. But Flynn’s attorneys have filed statements by former church officials who say Hubbard has continued to control the church.

Hubbard, a science-fiction writer, and his wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, founded the church in 1954. He wrote the Scientology doctrine, ″Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health,″ which has sold millions of copies.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real ordered the church to produce Hubbard to answer questions growing out of the suit.

″As we told the court, we don’t have contact with him,″ said Jonathan Lubell, representing the church. He said the order to Hubbard was ″an attempt to divert attention from the case. It has nothing to do with Mr. Hubbard at all.″Lubell said he would oppose dismissal.

Tidus said he had planned to ask Hubbard whether he ordered the church to watch Flynn, file lawsuits against him or tamper with the airplane.

Tidus said Flynn had won 12 of 16 suits filed against him by the church, with four pending.

Flynn has acted for more than a dozen ex-Scientologists who have sued the church, charging fraud and claiming they did not receive the ″spiritual enlightenment″ they expected.