The decision by the California appeal court has been made today, 13, April 2015, in the Candace Conti case. Very few details are currently available.
What is known is this:
In the case of Jane Doe v. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc. et al.
Case Number A136641
Description: Affirmed/part, rev/part, remanded w/direction
The judgment against defendants on the negligence count is affirmed. The judgment against Watchtower on the cause of action for punitive damages is reversed with directions to enter judgment for Watchtower on punitive damages. The parties are to bear their own costs on appeal.
Clarification is being sought as to the meaning of this decision, but initial thoughts are that the compensatory damages of $2.8 million has been upheld and the punitive amount has been reversed. It may be possible to apply for punitive damages to another court.
The compensatory damages with interest may now amount to $4 million.
Barbara Anderson has commented:
“Watchtower lost on NEGLIGENCE and that’s what Candace wanted. This is a precedent-setting win. No matter how the Watchtower spins it, their name will forever be linked with not protecting children.
Candace Conti came out of this as a winner. No need to moan over the loss of money. What if she had won on Punitive? What would we all be talking about? Probably not about the money anyway as it’s not our business what a plaintiff does with whatever monetary amount is awarded or that Watchtower lost to her more donation money. I’m sure we’d be talking about the Negligence Count being affirmed even if the punitive judgment was upheld.
What we all wanted was justice for Candace which is a win for all the other victims of Watchtower’s indifference to their safety. She got what she went after. Please celebrate with us. We sure are!
Of course, both sides can appeal the court’s decision. No matter, this day is Candace’s.”
The next scheduled action is 6/15/2015.
The court document states:
“Conti sought to hold defendants liable for failing to warn the Congregation or her parents that Kendrick was a child molester, and for failing to limit and supervise his participation in church activities. A jury found defendants liable for compensatory damages to Conti, and held Watchtower liable for punitive damages.
We hold that defendants had no duty to warn the Congregation or Conti’s parents that Kendrick had molested a child, but that defendants can be held liable for failing to limit and supervise Kendrick’s “field service,” a church-sponsored activity where members go door-to-door preaching in the community. Kendrick had unsupervised access to Conti during field service that he used as opportunities to molest her. Because breach of the alleged duty to warn was the sole basis for imposition of punitive damages on Watchtower, we reverse that portion of the judgment, with directions to enter judgment for Watchtower on the punitive damage claim. The compensatory damage award is affirmed.”
“Watchtower, not the Congregation, dictated the conditions under which field service by child molesters was permissible. The jury could have found that Watchtower falsely claimed to have a policy that prevented child molesters from performing field service alone or with children, or, even if it had that policy, it did not impose the policy on the Congregation or Kendrick.”
Richard Simons, Candace Conti’s lawyer, told the San Francisco Gate “the court should have upheld the church’s duty to warn parents about known molesters. Prevention is more important than responsibility after the event.”
Full decision (PDF) Link
The court record can be seen here Link
SFGate – Jehovah’s Witness molestation-case damages cut to $2.8 million Link
RevealNews – California court guts child abuse ruling against Jehovah’s Witnesses Link
JWsurvey – Conti appeal: Watchtower’s punitive damages reversed but negligence for lack of field service supervision is affirmed Link
JWR – Report by Scott Terry on the Appeal hearing Link
Huffington Post – Candace Conti awarded $28 million in Jehovah’s Witness sex abuse case Link
Candace Speaks out at the 2013 RNA Conference Link
Barbara Anderson’s – Watchtower documents Link