PORTLAND, Ore. -- The whereabouts of L. Ron Hubbard remain a mystery with a judge's mistrial ruling that removed a $20 million judgment against the reclusive founder of the Church of Scientology.
Hubbard was last seen publicly when he resided in Hemet, Calif., in 1980.
Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Donald H. Londer's ruling came a day after attorneys submitted two motions to dismiss the case against Hubbard or to set aside a default order and stay entry of judgment. The latter motion was designed to allow Hubbard, who was declared in default on April 30 for failing to have legal representation in court during the 11-week trial, to enter the case so he could defend himself.
The jury on May 17 ordered Hubbard to pay $20 million of a $39 million judgment to plaintiff Julie Christofferson Tichbourne. Tichbourne said she was enticed into spending $3,203 in the mid 1970s to take Scientology courses, and claims about Hubbard's education, career and self-curing were factors in her decisions to take the course.
She said she also was impressed by Scientology claims that Hubbard, author of 'Dianetics' only received amounts similar to regular staff members of Scientology.
During the trial, witnesses testified that Hubbard received millions of dollars from Scientology operations, which was denied by church officials.
In a 48-page memorandum filed with the motions, attorneys Roger L. Meyer of Portland and Paul F. Moore II, Los Angeles, argued that Hubbard had no part in day-to-day operations of the church. Moore listed himself as an attorney for L. Ron Hubbard.
Neither attorney stated how they were contacted by Hubbard to represent them.