The court filings (.pdf) from earlier this month show, beneath the bitter charges and countercharges, that Johnston appears to genuinely fear the tactics Sarah Palin would resort to to win the case. He says that Bristol's attorney is her mother's attorney.
"I know that public scrutiny will simplify this matter and act as a check against anyone's need to be overly vindictive, aggressive or malicious, not that Bristol would ever be that way, nor that I would," he writes in the affidavit. "But her mother is powerful, politically ambitious and has a reputation for being extremely vindictive."
He continues: "So, I think a public case might go a long way in reducing Sarah Palin's instinct to attack and allow the real parties in this litigation, Bristol and I, to work things out a lot more peacefully than we could if there is any more meddling from Sarah Palin."
We last saw Palin's "instinct to attack" at work with the "banned list" allegedly put together by Todd Palin that resulted in two Alaska journalists being ejected from a Going Rogue event in Wasilla.
But there's a more direct precedent for the Palins going after someone who is perceived to have crossed the family: Troopergate. That's the scandal in which both Todd and Sarah Palin pushed Alaska officials to fire state trooper Mike Wooten, Palin's ex-brother-in-law.
And the reason Wooten was so hated by the Palins? A long, messy custody fight with Sarah's sister.