U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett has reduced by over half the damages awarded against a fundamentalist Kansas Church, which protests funerals of fallen soldiers from Iraq in a bizarre anti-homosexual crusade. The Westboro Baptist Church will now have to pay Albert Snyder, the fatehr of a dead Marine, $5 million rather than $10.9 million.
Bennett’s decision was a standard use of the power of remitur under which a court may reduce (but not increase) an award. The Court made the decision in light of the limited assets of the church.
Snyder sued the cult-like church for privacy violations after a 2006 demonstration at the Maryland funeral of his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. He secured a judgment against the Church and three of its leaders — Fred Phelps and his two daughters, Shirley Phelps-Roper and Rebekah Phelps-Davis.
It was a proper reduction, though the assets of the Church appear quite limited. The church recently declared that it would protest the funeral of actor Heath Ledger for his role in the critically acclaimed movie, Brokeback Mountain, a story about gay cowboys.
For the full story, click here