Westboro Baptist Church ordered to pay US$11 million to family of fallen US soldier

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Jael Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church picketing Trinity Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Image: Westboro Baptist Church.

The Westboro Baptist Church has lost a lawsuit and has been ordered by United States District Court: District of Maryland to pay US$11 million to the family of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, a fallen soldier, who was killed while serving in Iraq.

The lawsuit was filed by Snyder's father, Albert, after the church held a protest across the street from the cemetery where funeral services were being held. The church was sued for, "defamation of character, invasion of privacy--intrusion upon seclusion, invasion of privacy--publicity given to private life, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy," according to court documents obtained by Wikinews.

Wikinews has also learned that the church filed a motion for a mistrial on October 29, but was ultimately denied.

The jury ordered that $2.9 million be awarded to the Snyder family for compensatory damages and $8 million in punitive damages, but reports say that the church cannot afford that amount, with their assets worth under $1 million. The defendants plan to appeal the judgment and have expressed confidence they can get it overturned.


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