Jury Orders Church To Give Father $9M
United Press International
A Minneapolis jury Wednesday ordered the Christian Science church
to pay $9 million in punitive damages to a birth father whose son
died after being denied medical care.
The boy, Ian Lundman, died after falling into a diabetic coma. His
mother withheld insulin from him, relying instead on healing prayers.
The mother, Kathleen McKowan, and her husband, William, are Christian
McKowan's ex-husband, Douglass Lundman, sued her and the church for
negligence and wrongful death, saying they were directly responsible
for Ian's death.
The jury recently awarded Lundman $5.2 million in compensatory damages
for the boy's life. The McKowans and the church were jointly and
severally liable for that amount.
But Hennepin County District Judge Sean Rice ruled that only the
Boston-based First Church of Christ, Scientist, would be responsible
for any punitive damages the jury assessed.
Lawyers for the McKowans had told the jury their clients were merely
following their faith when they called in a prayer leader to assist
them in meditations for their son.
But Lundman's lawyer said his ex-wife's religious beliefs did not
relieve her of responsibility for her son's health and welfare.
Lawyers for the church were not immediately available to say whether
they would appeal the jury's ruling.