The potential clients are Rob Sherman and his wife, Bunny Sherman. They have a 15 year old son, Rob, Jar. Mr.. And Mrs.. Sherman goal is to file suit against the Church of the Divine Light, which is in practice similar to the Church of Cosmetology, but is in actuality independent of any organized church. The couple alleges that they have suffered damages by the Church of the Divine Light (the Church) as has their son.
They stated that their son, Rob, Jar. Unknowingly got mixed up with the church about a ear ago. He attended a few of the Church services and after one of the youth meetings, was getting ready to leave for home. Before he could leave, Tom Married, the youth retreat organizer approached the boy, making various excuses to keep Rob from going home. At one point, Married apparently told the boy that should he leave, he would be thrown “into the eternal fires of Hell” never to return. For whatever reason, Rob, Jar. Agreed to stay at the Church.
The very next day, Married talked the boy into writing a letter to his parents telling them of his plans to stay at the Church. He told them the Church was his new family. As part of this “coercion” he was also told to demand money from his parents, by writing a letter to them, which he did. The Sherman agreed and paid him money each month for five months. His mother, Bunny, was getting ready to pay him the sixth monthly payment but instead, pulled her son into the car and brought him home, away from the Church. After a few weeks back at home, he was all right again.
The Sherman believe their son was brainwashed and “conned” out of money, and that both they and their son suffered damages due to the Church of Divine Light. Rob and Bunny Sherman “lost” their son, Rob, Jar. To this Church or cult, for a period of almost six months. This could have caused them severe emotional distress. Therefore, the tort of the intentional infliction of emotional distress may also be another cause of action for the parents. Although the evidence has not yet been gathered, not only the parents, Rob and Bunny may have suffered severe emotional distress but also Rob, Jar. Ewing “lured” away from his home and his parents might have also suffered distress. He is only 15 years old and probably missed his family, friends, and school during the time he was away, causing IM great harm. The intentional infliction of emotional distress occurs because a person’s conduct, being extreme and outrageous, causes some emotional distress to another. The potential clients’ allegation could be that this Church intentionally caused this distress by luring away their son in order to get the money, knowing and fully understanding the emotional burden and upset it would cause the family.
In addition, taking a boy of that age away from his parents would also possibly be very distressing to him, having to live with strangers and taken away from everything he ever knew. One of the problems with this cause of action would be that there is no memo for unit 6 assignment By Tetracycline evidence at all that either the parents or the child suffered any distress at all, until the mother Just “grabbed him” and took him home. They were all right, apparently, with him staying at first, or at the very least, there is nothing to support the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
And, in the same vein, plaintiffs (the Sherman) would have to prove that their son also suffered severe stress intentionally through the actions of the Church and his stay with them. Rob, Jar. S 15 years old, as was mentioned previously in this memoranda, and as such is under the legal supervision and custody of his parents. Neither Tom Madsen, nor the Church of the Divine Light had permission to take Rob, Jar. Into their care, nor to keep him. He is a minor and they had no legal right to take him into the Church establishment or building or to keep him.
Due to this set of facts, false imprisonment could be a possible tort claim in this case. False imprisonment is intentionally confining or restraining someone without the authority to do so, or without Justification or the consent of the person. A minor is not legally competent and cannot give his consent. One of the possible causes of action in this scenario is fraud, or intentional misrepresentation. The Sherman believe that this Church is more like a cult and coerced their son into it, ostensibly to get money. So, there may very well be a case for the Church of the Divine Light merely using Rob, Jar. O get money, or something of value. Not only did the representative, Tom Madsen, tell Rob, Jar. That if he did not stay he would end up in hell, but that he needed to pay regularly. This could possibly meet the elements of the tort of fraud. The elements of the tort of fraud are: The wrongdoer made a false representation of material fact. (He’s not going to Hell) The wrongdoer had knowledge that the representation was false and intended to deceive the innocent party. (Rob, Jar. ) The innocent party Justifiably relied on the misrepresentation. Mooned the Church) The innocent party was injured. Kept away from family, had to pay money). There have been occasions where courts have entertained fraud as “Religious Fraud. ” Although the basic tenets of fraud remain the same, it occurs when a church or religious organization makes false representations or pecuniary interests. (United States v Ballard, 322 U. S. 75, 64 S. Ct. 882, 58 L. Deed. 1148). The Court determined a person cannot be required to prove the objective of his or her religious beliefs. In other words, it falls back upon the freedom of religion guaranteed in the U. S. Constitution.
However, it also said that a church or a clergyman can be held liable for fraud and the actual sincerely XX XX beliefs to protect the public and individuals from being the target of undue influence and fraudulent actions by a church or someone acting on behalf of a church (Ibid) Another case revolving around religious fraud is Mol v Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 762 P. D 46 (Cal. 1988) cert. denied,XX 2110 (1989). This was a case involving former members of the Unification Church against the church for fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and restitution.
It is similar in facts to the Sherman set of facts , although claiming the exact opposite happened. Church members were allegedly “kidnapped” from the church by people hired by their parents and “deprogrammed” so the church filed tit. They claimed that it is one thing to knowingly and voluntarily getting involved in something even if submitting oneself to heavy influences such as in a monastery or seminary. However, they went on to say, it is quite another to subject someone to coercive persuasion against his or her will. (Ibid) Rob, Jar. As the one who voluntarily chose to get involved with the Church of the Divine Light. He went to some meetings and then decided to stay. He was there for months, even getting financial support from his parents. The Church could say, in their defense, there was no tort, that he ad not only his free will, but the acquiescence of the parents, at least for several months. Also, the discussions with Rob, Jar. Could be characterized as free speech on the part of Tom Madsen. There was no evidence of any coercion or undue pressure put on Rob, Jar. To get him to stay.
The United States Supreme Court has ruled that there is a constitutional right to associate in different ways. (Roberts v. United States Jaycees (1984) 468 U. S. 609 (82 L. Deed. D 462, 104 s. CT. 3244)). First of all, the court has ruled that there is a right to associate with certain private relationships, such as individuals, businesses, and organizations. The Court has also said citizens have the freedom to engage in protected speech or religious activities. Sometimes these two things “overlap. ” (Bad. Of Dire. Of Rotary Intel v. Rotary Club (1987) 481 U. S. 537, 544 (95 L. Deed. D 474, 483-484, 107 S. Ct. 1940). ) Therefore, the Church could defend themselves by saying that Rob, Jar. Had every right to associate himself with whatever religion he chose. That is a Constitutional right. The Supreme Court said if the person submits themselves to a church’s influence voluntarily, it is all right (Mol at 54). In another case, decided in Texas, which also involved a teenager, the Texas Supreme Court denied any cause of auction for false imprisonment because of the free exercise clause in the U. S. Constitution. (Pleasant Glade Assembly of God v Schubert, No. 5-0916, None 27, 2008)) This case is similar in some ways and different in others, however, a teenager willingly submitted herself to practice religion at the church, and at some point in time was “held down” while she thrashed around and was apparently acting wildly. Her parents sued, however, this was found to be a religious eating where allegedly the “spirit” took hold of the girl and she was held to keep from hurting herself. It is somewhat on point because of the alleged victim being a teenager and the fact that religious practices and Churches are protected by the free exercise clause to a great extent. Ibid) The Texas Supreme Court dismissed the entire case for violating the First Amendment. It held that tort claims seeking emotional damages for church practices would improperly require the courts to inquire about the church’s belief. A big question these religious cases raise is what practices are all right and which “go too far. Is talking to Rob, Jar. And convincing him to stay with the Church “going too far” and what about Madden’s comments about him “going to hell”?
The Texas Supreme Court said damages for preaching and spreading one’s religion, even with unusual practices would “chill” religious activity and impose on everyone’s right to practice religion. There has to be some “line” but the question is whether the Church of the Divine Light crossed that line. Trying to push this cause of action might be very difficult under the free exercise clause. The fact remains however, that this was a child and as such is legally incompetent, but is e not competent to practice his own religion? This paralegal found no cases which would give the information needed to decide that issue.
The question of intentional infliction of emotional distress is a difficult one. Since apparently no action was taken for several months, the Church could use consent as a defense. Rob, Jar. Did not leave voluntarily, but was taken by his mother. Also, the parents did nothing to interfere with their son’s association with this Church for months, and even admittedly made monthly payments as requested by the boy. To sum up, there are several possible causes of action here: False imprisonment, Intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud (religious fraud).
There is little evidence to show that the Sherman son, Rob, Jar. Was unduly influenced, or coerced in any way to go with the Church of Divine Light. He went to some meetings voluntarily, and then after one conversation with Tom Married, he went to stay with the Church members. There is little to no evidence to show that any emotional distress was suffered either by Rob and Bunny Sherman or their son. In fact, they apparently took no action for more than five months to get him back from the Church. In addition, they willingly gave money to Rob, Jar. Which went to supporting the Church which they now are considering filing suit against. False imprisonment goes against the facts, too. There is no evidence that the boy was kept anywhere against his will. The “wild card” here is whether Rob, Jar. Could actually make these decisions even under the Constitution since he is only 15 years old. As a child, he is under the legal auspices of his parents, up to a point. This case will turn on whether or not the court and Jury believes that he could not exercise his freedom of religion because he did not have the permission of his arenas to do so.