Lawsuit info from the Wallersheim case..he won..interesting

by sammielee24 5 Replies latest jw friends

  • sammielee24
    Appellant argues these "fair game" practices are protected
    religious expression. They cite to a recent Ninth Circuit case
    upholding the constitutional right of the Jehovah's Witness
    Church and its members to "shun" heretics from that religion even
    though the heretics suffer emotional injury as a result. (Paul
    v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York, supra, 819 F.2d
    875.) In this case a former Jehovah's Witness sued the church and
    certain church leaders for injuries she claimed to have suffered
    when the church ordered all other church members to "shun" her.
    In the Jehovah Witness religion, "shunning" means church members
    are prohibited from having any contact whatsoever with the former
    member. They are not to greet them or conduct any business with
    them or socialize with them in any manner. Thus, there was a
    clear connection between the religious practice of "shunning" and
    Ms. Paul's emotional injuries. Nonetheless, the trial court
    dismissed her case. The Ninth Circuit affirmed in an opinion
    which expressly held "shunning" is a constitutionally protected
    religious practice. "[T]he defendants, . . . possess an
    affirmative defense of privilege -- a defense that permits them
    to engage in the practice of shunning pursuant to their religious
    beliefs without incurring tort liability." (Id. at p. 879.)
    We first note another appellate court has taken the opposite
    view on the constitutionality of "shunning." (Bear v. Reformed
    Mennonite Church (1975) 462 Pa. 330 [341 A.2d 105].) In this case
    the Pennsylvania Supreme Court confronted a situation similar to
    Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York. The plaintiff
    was a former member of the Mennonite Church. He was
    excommunicated for criticizing the church. Church leaders
    ordered that all members must "shun" the plaintiff. As a result,
    both his business and family collapsed. The appellate court
    reversed the trial court's dismissal of the action, holding: "In
    our opinion, the complaint, . . . raises issues that the
    'shunning' practice of appellee church and the conduct of the
    212 Cal.App.3d at 890:
    individuals may be an excessive interference within areas of
    'paramount state concern,' i.e., the maintenance of marriage and
    family relationship, alienation of affection, and the tortious
    interference with a business relationship, which the courts of
    this Commonwealth may have authority to regulate, even in light
    of the 'Establishment' and 'Free Exercise' clauses of the First
    Amendment." (Bear v. Reformed Mennonite Church, supra, 341 A.2d
    at p. 107, italics in original.)
    We observe the California Supreme Court has cited with
    apparent approval the viewpoint on "shunning" expressed in Bear
    v. Mennonite Church, supra, rather than the one adopted in Paul
    v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York, supra. (See Molko
    v. Holy Spirit Assn., supra, 46 Cal.3d 1092, 1114.) But even were
    Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York the law of this
    jurisdiction it would not support a constitutional shield for
    Scientology's retribution program. In the instant case
    Scientology went far beyond the social "shunning" of its heretic,
    Wollersheim. Substantial evidence supports the conclusion
    Scientology leaders made the deliberate decision to ruin
    Wollersheim economically and possibly psychologically. Unlike
    the plaintiff in Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New
    York, Wollersheim did not suffer his economic harm as an
    unintended byproduct of his former religionists' practice of
    refusing to socialize with him any more. Instead he was
    bankrupted by a campaign his former religionists carefully
    designed with the specific intent it bankrupt him. Nor was this
    campaign limited to means which are arguably legal such as
    refusing to continue working at Wollersheim's business or to
    purchase his services or products. Instead the campaign featured
    a concerted practice of refusing to honor legal obligations
    Scientologists owed Wollersheim for services and products they
    already had purchased.
  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    Interesting, thanks for posting.

  • sammielee24

    I find it fascinating. The state does not like to pay out in essence, if a person is df'd and driven to commit suicide as a direct result of this extreme act which results in emotional harm, (the case of Paul vs WTS shows emotional harm as a fact) then his surviving family if they have to seek financial aid from the state, would likely be able to sue for the WTS for loss of income/support and mental and emotional distress. Witnesses are told that if you work with a df'd person, then you should do whatever it takes to remove yourself from that situation - therefore, how many are terminated from their job or how many have left jobs in order to satisfy the demands from the top? I think there are more and more of these cases coming up and more and more the individual is winning. There was an article in the paper last week about a woman who was being shunned (might have been mennonite) by a store clerk in her town where she had to shop. She suffered extreme emotional stress and physical hardship, as well as embarassment. She sued and won on the basis of discrimination. The tide is turning....sammieswife.

  • Panda

    This is very interesting because rather than dismissing cases of shunning each is being individually studied and decisions then rendered. Also, I'm glad to see religion getting punished for their holier-than-thou dogma.

  • sammielee24

    I should also point out that he originally won 30 million dollars in his case, despite the case being appealed twice - the COS lost and a final order was rendered.

  • Forscher

    That distinction may just be what does the trick for Barbara Anderson and her hubby. It certainly is an important part of the angle they are pursuing. The decision to Df her and then her Husband was not made locally, it was ordered from the top. It was made with the deliberate intent to discredit and harm her in every way it could. If the GB had stayed out of the matter when the JC ordered against her found no basis for an action they wouldn't be having the prolbems they now have with that case.

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