-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
Cheryl Jones was attending services at the Disciple Fellowship Christian Church of East St. Louis, Illinois, when a female parishioner received the Holy Spirit. When she fell, she knocked over others in a domino effect. Jones was knocked to the floor and several people fell on top of her. Jones alleges she suffered injuries to her head, neck, back, and buttocks.
Jones’ lawsuit notes a failure to ensure that ushers were standing by to catch any parishioners when the Holy Spirit enters and they lose consciousness. Jones is seeking at least $50,000 in damages.
Even with the absence of “catchers,” a jury may find it unforeseeable that Jones would be injured by the domino effect of falling parishioners.
These “swoon and fall” lawsuits are not uncommon. In a Michigan case, Judith Dadd received a combined judgement of $317,255.68 when she fell and struck her head on the floor. On appeal, only the $40,000 claim for negligence was affirmed.
In Beaverton, Oregon, a “catcher” was injured when a parishioner fell on Shin Lim Kim causing a lumbar spine compression fracture at L-2. Her lawsuit asserts that the church should have provided multiple “catchers” and mats to cover the floor. The suit also names the falling parishioner as a defendant for “failing to control her body” when she was “slain in the spirit.” Kim was seeking $125,000. However, an Oregon jury found the church was not liable for injuries to a “catcher.”
From a scientific point of view, and by that I mean a reality point of view, since nothing actually enters the parishioner’s body, this is entirely a self-inflicted injury. Whether or not this can be used as a viable legal defense, the defendant (church) is likely to perceive such a defense as self-defeating.