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Hubbard no-show could nix suit

Title: Hubbard no-show could nix suit
Date: Tuesday, 9 April 1985
Publisher: Clearwater Sun (Florida)
Main source: link (109 KiB)

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A class-action suit filed by the Church of Scientology against numerous agencies of the federal government is expected to be dismissed because sect founder L. Ron Hubbard failed to appear for a court-ordered deposition last week.

Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice, who are representing the federal government in the 1978 case, filed notice Monday that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard failed to show up for a court-ordered deposition last week in Washington, D.C.

According to Justice Department attorney John Toothman, U.S. District Court Judge Joyce Green indicated last week that the case probably would be dismissed if Hubbard did not appear for depositions by Friday.

The class action suit claims that various federal agencies have engaged in unconstitutional activities against the Church of Scientology including harassment through excessive surveillance.

Some of the agencies listed as defendants in the case are the FBI, the CIA, the IRS and the U.S. Army. Scientology attorneys have argued that they cannot produce Hubbard for depositions and have no way of contacting him, Toothman said. Hubbard has not been seen in public since 1980. Neither Scientology attorney Tony Bisceglie in Washington, D.C., nor his two partners could not be reached for comment Monday.

Although Toothman filed notice Monday that Hubbard failed to appear for the scheduled deposition, he said, it is not clear when Judge Green will act on the case.

A U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles dismissed a $2 million libel suit filed in 1983 by the Scientologists last week. That dismissal was based on Hubbard's failure to appear March 20 for a court-mandated deposition in that city.

The federal judge in that case, for the first time, ruled that Hubbard is managing agent of the sect.