Monday, December 21, 2015

Suit Against Jewish Conversion Therapy Group Ends With Permanent Injunction and Settlement Instead of Appeal

As previously reported, in June a New Jersey state trial court jury awarded treble damages of $72,400 to a total of five plaintiffs who sued JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing), its founder and a counselor under the state's consumer fraud law. JONAH provided "conversion therapy" that it falsely claimed could change an individual from gay to straight.  Instead of appealing the decision, defendants entered a confidential settlement agreement (Stipulation) under which defendants are to pay an undisclosed amount of damages and attorneys' fees of $3500.  In addition the parties agreed to the award of a permanent injunction requiring JONAH to cease operations and liquidate.  The Court issued a consent Order on Dec. 18 (full text) implementing this agreement, including permanently enjoining defendants from offering any kind of conversion therapy in the future. CBS News reports on these developments and points out that New Jersey's 2013 law banning licensed therapists from offering sexual orientation change therapy for minors was not involved in the case because the defendants were not licensed therapists. An attorney who represented JONAH said:
It is sad that so many are celebrating the government's power to stop willing clients from working with willing counselors to lead their lives on Biblical principles.
Attorneys for plaintiffs responded, however:
The practice of conversion therapy, at base, constitutes fraud. It is premised on the lie that homosexuality is a disease or disorder. This case proved it to be a lie.
Southern Poverty Law Center's case page has links to all the pleadings and court orders in the case.