Michigan Church Faces Second Trial Over Fall at Altar

April 13, 2009

The Michigan Court of Appeals has reversed part of a $315,000 award to a woman whose fall during a service led to a falling-out with her former church and pastor.

In her civil lawsuit filed in July 2005, Judith Dadd of Lansing claimed that during a rally at Mount Hope Church in July 2002, she went to the altar and was “overcome by the Spirit of the Lord.”

She said she fell backward and struck her head on the floor, and that the church was negligent because no usher was there to catch her. She also said the pastor, David R. Williams, damaged her reputation by suggesting she faked the injury.

In its ruling, the court said Dadd was entitled to the $40,000 awarded for negligence but ruled that the remaining claims for false light, libel and slander must be considered at a new trial.

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