Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Suit By Man Injured Through Faith Healing May Proceed

In Sung-Ho Hwang v. Grace Road Church, (ED NY, March 14, 2016), a New York federal district court allowed a mentally ill man (in a suit through his conservator) to move ahead with negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligent supervision claims against a Korean-based church and its members who forced him off his prescription medications and attempted to cure him through religious healing. Plaintiffs' treatment of defendant-- including tying his wrists, ankles, and knees in a chair or bed with duct tape, and placing a sock in his mouth to restrain his screams at night-- led to amputation of his right leg and exacerbation of his psychotic symptoms.  The court rejected a number of procedural defenses and, in permitting the negligent infliction claim to move forward, said:
Even if the church and its members had no duty to plaintiff until the moment they restrained him, they acquired a duty to exercise reasonable care to secure his safety during the period of his restraint.
New York Law Journal reports on the decision.