Settlement Ends Arizona Sweat Lodge Lawsuit

By FELICIA FONSECA | May 18, 2011

The owners of an Arizona retreat where a self-help author’s sweat lodge ceremony turned deadly have settled a lawsuit brought by the victims’ families and other participants.

An attorney for two of the plaintiffs tells The Associated Press that a judge still has to sign off on the settlement reached last week, but that’s considered a formality.

The lawsuit alleged that Michael and Amayra Hamilton’s conduct led to the deaths of three people and caused injury to others.

The settlement includes no admission of liability on the part of the Hamiltons. A confidentiality agreement keeps the parties from discussing the terms.

The man who led the ceremony, James Arthur Ray, is on trial for manslaughter in the deaths.

The trial that began in mid-February is expected to last until June 21. Prosecutors have about 10 witnesses left to call, and then the defense will begin presenting its case.

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