Presas v Watchtower
The plaintiff is Cosine Persas, at the time of the filing he was in jail and started this action pro se, which is without a lawyer. When a pro se lawsuit is filed the Federal Court screens the complaint as a matter of course to determine a few things, that would include, to see if the lawsuit is malicious in nature, if the complaint did not state a claim on which relief can be granted and if the defendant is immune from a lawsuit. This screen occurs automatically and does not require the defendant, Watchtower, to file any motions.
Persas makes the allegations that he was abused by a person named Rosa who he met through the congregation. The abuse took place both in California, USA and Baja California, Mexico, between the years of 1994 to 1998, there is no clear indication of what age he was during that time period. The complaint goes on to explain that he was coerced to perform these acts through threats that God would destroy him if he attempted to bring down his own. He also claims that he was disfellowshipped, his mother was threatened by his abuser and the New York office repeatedly ignored his letters and calls. He was also claims that he was punished through whip lashings and forced feedings.
Federal courts have the right to hear cases like this when two requirements are met, there has to a diversity of citizenship in states and the controversy must meet the minimum of $75,000. Preras did not state a claim what he said was “seeks declatory judgement that the defendants violated the laws of the land and abused him in the ways listed.” And that he was seeing monetary, compensatory punitive and nominal damaged in an amount to be determined at trial and all such further relief as the court deems necessary and just. The court determined that this was a matter that lacked in Presas complaint so the complaint was dismissed allowing him to file an amended complaint.
The court also had questioned if the case would be barred due to the statute of limitations because California has a 8 year statute of limitations that would require action be brought within that time. The 8 years start when the person turns 18 or when that person or a reasonable person should have known that they suffered harm from the abuse. Presas does not identify when he turned 18 and the court was not able to determine his birth date based on the pleading. He also does not state when he discovered that he suffered harm from the abuse. The court did not rule on whether he is barred based on the statute of limitations though.
This man cause was dismissed on April 25,'2015 by US District Judge Lawrence J O'Neill, Cosine Presas is in jail for murder and that is still going thru the courts.