We have previously discussed the legal blindspot for businesses that sell products with a claim of a divine touch like ChristianMingle.com and heaven-blocking bullets for Muslims. An analogous issue was raised this week with a filing in Los Angeles in which Klarissa Castro is suing her former psychic, Jennifer Williams and her company, Psychic Readings By Yana, over her failure to life a curse on her love life. The case could be dismissed under the notion of “a fool and her money are soon separated” but there were some interesting wrinkles in the psychic treatment.
The lawsuit alleges fraud and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Castro says that she consulted with Williams in August 2010 and was told that a curse had been placed on her, but that she was in luck. Williams allegedly said that she could lift the curse through “a series of psychic sessions with Williams.”
The first consultation cost $500 and then the costs mounted to $4,025 over the next two years. Williams instructed Castro to buy special candles blessed by her and perform other acts. Castro spent another $1,400 on gift cards and gave them to the psychic, which she said Williams told her would be used to buy items representing the love between the plaintiff and her boyfriend. Then came the big ticket item. Castro says that Williams convinced her to give Williams a $5,020 to commission a painting that the defendant said would help “lift the curse on plaintiff” and make her and her boyfriend grow closer together. She says that she never saw the picture and “No change occurred in plaintiff’s life as promised by Williams throughout the approximate two years that (she) was seeing Williams.”
I found ads for Psychic readings by Yana in California that read:
Spiritual Psychic help and guidance, in love,marriage ,money. bring back lost loves. One visit will amaze you.Past,Present,Future. 45 yrs.exp. West la Psychic Reader Yana has the God Given gift to help! $25 Reading if You Mention This Add!! A REAL PSYCHIC! Ethical,Reliable,Guaranteed Results. http://www.psychicloves.com
The ad assures that “Yana” has a gift of God with “guaranteed results.” That last part could be a key for a legal action if this is the same Yana.
The case again rides the line between fraud and faith. Whether a priest or a psychic, a court could easily say that any adult would realize that these are unenforceable promises of salvation or divine intervention. This complaint however details a far greater degree of economic damage. Yet, can a court rule that this psychic stuff is just hokum without taking the same position on selling prayer clothes or dating services?
What do you think?
Source: Daily News