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Illinois appellate court reinstates wrongful death lawsuit

In 2011, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against a man alleged to have killed his wife and two small children in 2009. The man received a life sentence for the murder, but the unusual thing about the wrongful death suit is that it targets the man's place of employment with Joyce Meyer Ministries. The suit alleges that Joyce Meyer Ministries should have known it was the convicted killer making the "anonymous" threats against his family before the murders occurred.

According to media reports, prosecutors in the case say making the threats were part of the man's elaborate attempt to get rid of his family while avoiding blame. Reportedly, the attorney for the family of the slain wife and mother said they were pleased with the appellate court's decision to reinstate the case. He added that the decision reinforces the family's belief that the ministry shared in the responsibility for the murders.

Attorneys for the ministry say that an employer cannot be held responsible for the actions of an employee, but an Illinois court of appeals disagreed. The three judge panel said the ministry should have done more to stop the husband and father from murdering his family. The news report says the man was having an affair but did not want to divorce as it would mean losing his job with the ministry. He was convicted of murder for the strangling deaths in 2009.

While this news source does not offer any details about the ministry's role, if any, in the strangling deaths, it seems reasonable to think that there was at least some involvement based on the court's reinstatement decision. Cases like these reveal how outside entities can sometimes have some kind of influence on the actions of one individual, opening the way to filing a wrongful death suit.

Source: My Journal Courier, "Appeals court reinstates strangulation lawsuit" Aug. 13, 2014

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