“Swoon And Fall” Lawsuits

-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.

H/T: Legal Blog Watch, On Point News.

15 thoughts on ““Swoon And Fall” Lawsuits”

  1. Anybody here read the Morrow series on God coming to earth to die? I am currently in “Blameless in Abaddon”. The premise is that Gods body is on life support & being used as a theme park in Orlando. A small time Justice of the Peace from Abaddon PA has the body towed to the World Court to stand trial fro crimes against humanity. If he wins they turn off the life support.

    It is obviously a fantasy novel in more ways than one, at the moment the JP is leading a team of explorers across the brain of God as part of the discovery process.

  2. I agree with some earlier comments. Why didn’t the Holy Spirit catch these people when he/she entered their bodies? Does the plaintiff have to prove the actual entry of the Holy Spirit in the body in order to provide evidence that the fall was beyond her control?

  3. Sure it’s an act of God, but then so is everything.
    It is a question of malpractice, or as they say “halfway decent care”.
    That you can’t drown a baby during baptism is well established – I think.

    Some of this is fakery, and of course shouldn’t be protected, and some of this is hysteria, for lack of better word. In both these cases, the practitioner should be held responsible for injury to the faithful. How the injured party would show it was not a true infusion of the holy spirit is not clear, but possibly deposing other members of the congregation, especially those who have recently left, might shed some light.

    The recent case where an estate was held responsible for injury caused buy a flying dead body at a train crossing might be a relevant precedent however.


  4. These people all deserve each other. Good grief. I say let them sue each other into oblivion.

  5. Anonymously Yours 1, January 22, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Dredd…I knew the Judge pretty well in the LC….and it was a shock even to the PI attorney that the decision was even in that amount…
    Are you prescient AY? 😉

    How did you know I was going to post this: does the holy spirit have to be named as a party defendant?

    I mean, think number one domino for heaven sake!

  6. Why don’t these plaintiffs just go the the faith healer & have themselves made whole again? Or better yet, why don’t the faith healers pray they things from happening in the first place? Could it be none of them actually believe the grift they are running?

    One question they need to answer is why they have never been able to grow a limb – does God just hate amputees?

  7. Where are the athiests when you need them? Madison County, Illinois has the best jury panels for plaintiffs that can be found. However, If I were defending the case I would stand among the believers and state that the injury was Gods Will (capitalize the Will) and tell the jury that they cannot award damages for the plaintiff, that justice has already been meted out.
    I would wear a reverse collar and not a tie. When jury selection begins I would say aloud in their hearing that the entire panel is acceptable to the defense. Dont even bother picking them. This way you would get the first 12 and the other side would be hard put to ask many questions. Sometimes holy rollers gotta take it on the chin.

  8. Dredd…I knew the Judge pretty well in the LC….and it was a shock even to the PI attorney that the decision was even in that amount…

  9. Very familiar with the Michigan Lawsuit…The Sct at that time and still is for the most part…favorable to insurance companies…..ie defense….and Plaintiff’s if you happen to be a Business…..Other than that the Insurance companies have written all the rules and court decision to favor them…..

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