WT pays 1.55 million $

by Hamas 22 Replies latest jw friends

  • Hamas

    I didn't know about this.

    From Watchtower Observer org

    WT pays 1.55 million $ The largest settlement ever paid in the history of Jehovah's Witnesses occurred this past October, but no news outlet has yet reported it.

    The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, which is the umbrella organization over 6 million Witnesses worldwide, paid the estate of Frances Coughlin $1.55 million dollars rather than let a jury decide the wrongful death lawsuit.

    Frances Coughlin's surviving family sued Jehovah's Witnesses, also known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, in State of Connecticut Superior Court at Milford (CV-00-0072183 S).

    The principle defendant was a "Bethelite," or full-time ministry worker, who drove recklessly in bad weather and killed Ms. Coughlin, a mother and grandmother, on October 8, 1998.

    That Bethelite Jordon Johnson was traveling between "Bethel," which has housing for its full-time workers in Patison, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York, to a Witness Kingdom Hall he was assigned to in Derby, Connecticut.

    Johnson was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter, but only served 30 days in jail and was sentenced to two years probation. Subsequently, he and Jehovah's Witnesses faced a civil suit filed by Ms. Coughlin's surviving family for damages.

    Why was the Witness organization willing to pay more than $1.5 million dollars?

    Apparently because a much larger issue of "agency" was at stake.

    Agency is the word used to express a relationship between a principal party and its agent, through which the principal party projects its power and/or advances some purpose. And a principal party may be held liable for the actions of its agent.

    Jehovah's Witnesses contended that Jordan Johnson acted on his own and was not their agent at the time he caused the fatal car wreck.

    But plaintiff's counsel, Joel Faxon of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, claimed on his client's behalf that Jordan Johnson was serving as a Bethelite and agent of the organization at the time and advancing their purpose, therefore Jehovah's Witnesses was responsible for his actions.

    Internal documents were obtained through the discovery process and testimony was given through depositions, which clarified and substantiated Faxon's view.

    I was retained as an expert witness and consultant for this case by the plaintiff's counsel.

    My role was to assist in the discovery process, provide research and generally help to form a basis for an understanding of how Jehovah's Witnesses employ, use and control Bethelites and others within their organization. Ultimately, I would have also testified as an expert in court.

    That testimony would have included explaining in clear terms how the organizational dynamics, indoctrination and objectives of Jehovah's Witnesses impact individual members and more specifically full-time workers such as Bethelite Jordan Johnson.

    But on the first day of trial Jehovah's Witnesses decided they didn't want a jury to decide this case and instead $1.55 million was paid to the plaintiff.

    The organization that claims it is waiting for the ever-eminent "end of the world" decided to settle in a pragmatic move to protect its long-term interests and more than $1 billion dollars of accumulated assets.

    Again, why would the Witnesses do this if they actually believed they had no meaningful liability?

    Certainly the cost to complete the case in court would be far less than $1.55 million dollars. Why not let the jury decide?

    But the seemingly shrewd Witnesses realized that there was just too much at stake and didn't want to risk a "guilty" verdict.

    Currently the organization known as Jehovah's Witnesses faces a growing number of lawsuits filed by former members who feel the organization has hurt them.

    The personal injuries were allegedly caused by elders and others acting in accordance with the organization's policies and doctrines, which include such matters as blood transfusions and sexual abuse.

    Seemingly to protect its assets the Watchtower Society of Jehovah's Witnesses and its many Kingdom Hall congregations have in recent years created a myriad of corporate entities to apparently contain liability.

    That is, each corporation is seemingly only responsible for its own specific actions and not the action of others. Again, this appears to be a rather pragmatic legal approach to protect the assets amassed by Jehovah's Witnesses over more than a century.

    But what if Jehovah's Witnesses are nevertheless responsible or liable for the actions of its agents, which would include elders and others throughout its vast network of districts and Kingdom Halls?

    Well, now you can see why the check was likely cut for $1.55 million in the Coughlin case.

    Jehovah's Witnesses were apparently concerned about what legal precedent a jury might set that could ultimately affect other claims pending or potentially possible in the future against the organization.

    Many people seem to think that Jehovah's Witnesses or the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is focused on the end of the world and a coming kingdom. At least that's the impression many have when its members come knocking at the door.

    But through the Coughlin case a different view of the organization emerges, which looks more like a business protecting its worldly assets and focused on the bottom line.

  • stillajwexelder

    Thanks for that post Hamas -- absolutely incredible. Just the tip of the iceberg -- I wonder how long it will be before theTitanic (the unsinkable organization because it has Gods backing) will hit the iceberg and be sunk

  • cat1759

    Thanks Hamas for the posting!



  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    The orginal release of this article was at the website of the Ross Institute.

    Rick Ross is the founder and Executive Director of the Ross Institute. He is an internationally known expert regarding destructive cults, controversial groups and movements. Since 1982 he has been studying, researching and responding to the problems often posed by such groups or movements.

    He has personally assisted thousands of families in an effort to help the victims of destructive cults, groups and movements.

    Ross has been qualified and accepted as an expert witness and testified in court cases across the United States. He has also frequently assisted local and national law enforcement and government agencies.

    Rick Ross is one of the most readily recognized experts offering analysis about destructive cults, controversial groups and movements in the world today.

    He has been a paid consultant for the television networks CBS, CBC and Nippon of Japan. And also was retained as a technical consultant by Miramax/Disney.

    Ross' commentary has been quoted within publications such as Time, Newsweek, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post.

    His appearances on national television have included a wide range of venues from news programs such as the "Today" show, "CNN World News," "Dateline," "Nightline" and "48 Hours" to popular interview shows such as "Oprah," "Donahue," "Extra" and "Inside Edition."

    Ross has lectured at such prestigious institutions as Dickinson College, the University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon University, Baylor University, and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

    Ross' analysis has been sought on virtually every major cult story for more than a decade.

    The Ross Institute
    Newport Financial Center
    113 Pavonia #323
    Jersey City, NJ 07310-1756
    Phone: (201) 222-3531 Fax: (201) 222-3549
    email: [email protected] URL: http://www.rickross.com

  • cruzanheart

    Great one, Hamas! It really shows them up for what they are.

    Jehovah's Witnesses were apparently concerned about what legal precedent a jury might set that could ultimately affect other claims pending or potentially possible in the future against the organization.

    Might put a whole new spin on Vicki Boer's case, wouldn't it?


  • VM44

    Is there no news because the WT insisted on non-disclosure as part of the settlement?

    I recall reading that the attorney who obtained this settlement was listing it as one of his accomplishments, but then removed mention of this case from his webpage at the law firm employing him.


  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    Good question, VM44.

    Certainly the fact that the matter was never brought to trial is one big reason there are no public records about this.

    If you should happen to call the law firm that handled the case to ask them about this, please let us know what you discover.

  • VM44


    The Watchtower is paying out big bucks for people to take the stand in its defence!

    "Is Dick Anthony a full-time professional "cult apologist"?



  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    A check at http://www.koskoff.com/ suggests that Joel Faxon is no longer with the Kosloff firm - he is not listed as one of their attorneys.

    Using an online yellow pages search engine, I found three offices for Joel listed in Connecticut.


    Faxon Joel T Attorney
    1172 Bedford Street, Stamford, CT 06905
    (203) 325-3686

    Faxon Joel T Attorney
    350 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604
    (203) 336-4421

    Faxon Joel T Attorney
    1 Moss Avenue, Danbury, CT 06810
    (203) 792-7100

    Just in case you want to let your "fingers do the walking," VM.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    From the link VM supplied above - FASCINATING!

    How much does he (Dick Anthony, Ph. D.) get paid?

    Anthony stated for the record, "My fee for reviewing materials in my office is $350 an hour. And my fee for work outside my office is a flat fee of $3,500 a day plus expenses."

    Anthony admitted that he collected "$21,000" on the Coughlin/Watchtower Society case alone. And that was without even appearing in court.

    For his deposition of only a few hours, he was paid "$3,500."

    Who else besides Jehovah's Witnesses is willing to pay such substantial fees?

    Anthony listed some of his clients for the record. That list included the "Unification Church, the Hare Krishna movement, The Way International [and] Church of Scientology."


    When asked what specific research he relied upon regarding the Coughlin case against Jehovah's Witnesses Anthony replied that he would largely rely upon "a range of materials provided me by the Jehovah's Witnesses."

    Did Dick Anthony have any experience as a psychologist helping Witnesses, "None as far as I know," he said.

    Anthony also openly admitted he had done no formal research or published any paper about Jehovah's Witnesses.

    So what facts or direct working experience would be applied or used as the basis for rendering his expert opinion?

    Anthony said he would base his opinion largely on a "general knowledge of the sociology and psychology of religion."


    Anthony later said he would rely on an article by his old friend "James Richardson [though he couldn't remember the title] and several articles by Catherine Wah [correct name actually Carolyn Wah]."

    Carolyn Wah was the in-house attorney assigned to defend Jehovah's Witnesses in the Coughlin case and a long-time "Bethelite" herself, working full-time at Watchtower headquarters.

    Interestingly, it was Richardson who Anthony later admitted had referred him to the Witnesses for the job.


    And what about the Coughlin case?

    After paying Anthony $21,000 in fees and on the first day of trial, the Jehovah's Witnesses opted to settle too. They cut a check to the plaintiff for more than $1.5 million dollars. This was historically the largest settlement ever paid by the organization, which has been around for more than a century.

    It seems Dr. Anthony doesn't have a very good track record in the recent legal cases he has consulted on.

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