Mark Rathbun: on John G. Peterson (May 28, 2013)

Hubbard had sent a memo to our unit, advising that we develop what he called a “punitive defense.” Hubbard reasoned that if Flynn and company could take a bunch of false plaintiffs and use the litigation process to inflict vast expense and chaos within the church, well, we could just as easily use the process more effectively in the same wise against Flynn. The end product of the punitive defense was to make the process too painful for any plaintiff to carry on.

We hired a coordinating attorney in Los Angeles named John Peterson. John had an amiable personality which helped get more recalcitrant attorneys to cooperate with our plans. John and I played an effective good guy/bad guy routine. I would rough up our attorneys with over-the-top demands for aggressive action, then John would follow up by hearing their objections, expressing his understanding of their concerns and then more gently obtaining their agreement to compromise and do something far more aggressive than they normally would do.

We had an office built for John within the complex. He worked for us full time, until his untimely death in 1987. John was in constant communication with our lawyers across the country. John and I worked out several tactical plans to inconvenience Flynn and his co-counsel. We forced him into a series of errors over the next several months. We overloaded him with paper, hearings and depositions. The FAMCO boys started missing filing deadlines, and not properly preparing witnesses we were deposing daily. Within months we had reversed the tide of the litigation; FAMCO finding itself in the state of disarray as we had been when we entered the war. By the end of summer we had chipped away at a number of cases, with portions being dismissed. More importantly, we had Flynn’s back against the wall, defending two contempt
proceedings for misrepresentations to courts, which we had flustered him into. Finally, in August, Flynn was held in contempt by a judge in a remote jurisdiction.

Rathbun, Mark (2013-05-28). Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior (pp 191-2).

Notes