JEHOVAH'S WITNESS
HEALTH CARE WORKERS
COURT CASES
 
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This webpage consolidates most JEHOVAH'S WITNESS HEALTH CARE WORKERS and HEALTH CARE SUPPORT EMPLOYEES cases which are scattered throughout the appropriate "topic" sections in our two sister websites. We have attempted to separate the cases into WORK SCHEDULING, HOLIDAYS-BIRTHDAYS, PROSELYTIZING, CRIMES, PROHIBITED DUTIES, CLAIMS OF DISCRIMINATION, and MISCELLANEOUS related sections, but there will always be some bleed-over. Cases are in descending chronological order by section.

HOWEVER, visitors to this webpage should understand that some of the MOST IMPORTANT Jehovah's Witness Health Care Worker cases are NOT included on this webpage. We have another webpage devoted exclusively to the topic of BREACH OF CONFIDENTIALITY, which includes cases that demonstrate BREACH OF MEDICAL CONFIDENTIALITY by Jehovah's Witness Health Care Workers and Support Staff. We suggest that you click the link above and first READ and STUDY that important webpage before coming back to read this webpage. Health Care Industry Employers (including Medical Transcription services) should understand that the WatchTower Society teaches its members employed as Health Care Workers and Support Staff that breaching medical confidentiality is a REQUIRED RELIGIOUS ACT under certain circumstances, and no threat of termination, nor threat of end-of-career, nor threat of monetary penalty, can override the coveted opportunity for a Jehovah's Witness Health Care Worker to suffer religious martyrdom for the WatchTower Society.

Visitors should also understand that while the over 50 HCW-specific cases posted on this webpage will give readers a good feel for how various issues affect the employment of Jehovah's Witnesses in the Health Care field, you really need to visit and study our topic-specific webpages (covering all occupations) on this same website for background information not included on this webpage, and to get a more complete look at how problems may still erupt in scenarios not covered below.

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WORK SCHEDULING CASES

WATCHTOWER MEETINGS TAKE PRIORITY

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E.E.O.C. v. WHITEHALL HEALTHCARE CENTER was a 2011-12 Michigan federal court case. In December 2011, on behalf of an Ann Arbor, Michigan Jehovah's Witness female Certified Nursing Assistant, named Bekki Heyes, the EEOC filed a federal lawsuit against Whitehall Healthcare Center alleging that the Ann Arbor nursing home had unlawfully fired the Jehovah's Witness after Bekki Heyes refused to work one single Sunday in July 2010. Bekki Heyes had requested not to be scheduled to work on Wednesdays and Sundays, so that Heyes could attend Wednesday night and Sunday morning services at her local Ann Arbor Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, AND GO DOOR-TO-DOOR IN "FIELD SERVICE", which is something any JW can do whenever they have available time. Rather than fight the lawsuit, WhiteHall settled the lawsuit with a payment of $35,000.00, and the standard EEOC agreement for Whitehall to train its employees on how Whitehall must accommodate their employees' religious practices, etc.

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FIELDS v. RAINBOW REHABILITATION CENTER was a 2009-11 Michigan federal court case which involves the 2009 WatchTower Meeting schedule change. Leonardo Jose Fields, a Jehovah's Witness, began working as a Rehabilitation Assistant at Rainbow in 1990. Rainbow provides rehabilitation services to individuals with neurological impairment. In 1994, Leonardo J. Fields requested that he not be scheduled to work on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays as an accommodation for WatchTower meetings on those days. Fields also needed those days off to care for his son from a previous marriage, as those were the days that he had custody of the child. Rainbow accommodated Fields' request until June 2008.

In November 2007, Leonardo Fields filed an internal grievance letter complaining that on several occasions employees were not there to relieve him when his shift ended, thereby requiring Fields to stay beyond his scheduled shift. Fields filed this grievance in response to his being disciplined for failing on November 17, 2007 to stay until appropriate staffing arrived, and leaving the facility without permission from his supervisor. Fields received a 2-day disciplinary suspension and a final written warning as a result of his actions. In his grievance, Fields indicated that after waiting an hour and a half for someone to relieve him, he had to leave to be home to receive his son. In response to his grievance, a review board reduced Fields's suspension to one day, but retained the final written warning.

In fact, Rainbow had been experiencing multiple scheduling problems as multiple employees were being tardy or absent, and/or not willing to work weekends. To help solve the problem, Rainbow instituted a new scheduling policy which required all employees to work their fair share of weekend days. Fields was scheduled to work one Sunday in June 2008, and another Sunday in July 2008. Fields swapped shifts with a co-worker in June, but needed management's assistance for a swap in July. Despite its scheduling problems, Rainbow never again scheduled Fields to work on an "accommodated day".

However, in August 2008, Rainbow sent Fields a memo advising Fields that he was required to work his his scheduled shifts, including his fair share of weekends. Rainbow further advised Leonardo Fields: "You can make schedule change requests, and Rainbow will determine if your request can be accommodated, but you may not dictate to us what your schedule will be."

In November 2008, Leonardo Fields "prematurely" requested that Rainbow add "Wednesdays" to his list of accommodated days, because the WatchTower meetings being held on Tuesdays and Thursdays were going to be consolidated and moved to Wednesdays starting January 2009. However, it is not certain that Fields told Rainbow that this was a future event, nor certain that Fields told Rainbow that WatchTower meetings no longer would be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

On December 23, 2008, Fields received a disciplinary suspension of three days, and a Last and Final written warning for failing to properly supervise a client assigned to him by leaving the client behind at the facility with no supervision. On January 19, 2009, due to Fields' failure to attend a mandatory CPR/FA class on January 13, 2009, Plaintiff was issued a Last and Final written warning with a suspension until Fields completed his recertification training requirements. Although January 13 was a Tuesday -- one of Fields' accommodated days -- he had selected the date of the class. In a subsequent discussion with Supervisor, Fields acknowledged that he was aware of the meeting but that he got stuck with his son at school.

Leonardo Fields also failed to attend a mandatory staff meeting on January 27, 2009 -- a Thursday. Rainbow's policy required the rehabilitation assistant to inform their supervisor prior to the meeting or training session, and an alternative one-on-one session was arranged. Previously, Fields had arranged one-on-one meetings on several occasions when he was unable to attend a monthly meeting, or scheduled certification or training. On a few previous occasions, Fields had even attended monthly meetings even when they occurred on his "accommodated days".

As a result of Fields' failure to attend the January 27, 2009 staff meeting, and his prior policy violations, Rainbow fired Fields on February 24, 2009. In January 2010, Fields filed this federal lawsuit alleging that Rainbow violated Title VII by failing to accommodate his religious beliefs, and by retaliating against him for filing an internal grievance in 2007. Rainbow moved for summary judgment, and such was granted by the USDC in June 2011, stating in part:

... Viewing the evidence presented in a light most favorable to Plaintiff, this Court agrees that Plaintiff fails to present evidence to raise a genuine issue of fact as to whether Defendants discharged or disciplined him for failing to comply with employment requirement(s) that conflicted with his religious beliefs.

With respect to Defendants' discipline of Plaintiff on January 19, 2009, while the CPR/FA training that Plaintiff failed to attend was scheduled on one of Plaintiff's requested days off, he jointly chose that date with [supervisor]. Moreover, in subsequent communications with [supervisor], Plaintiff did not claim that he failed to attend the training due to a conflict with his religious beliefs. Instead, he indicated that he failed to attend because he had been stuck at school with his son.

Defendants did not terminate Plaintiff simply for failing to attend the January 27, 2009 staff meeting which occurred on one of Plaintiff's accommodation days. Rather Defendants terminated Plaintiff because he failed to attend the meeting and failed to contact [supervisor] and arrange alternative one-one-one training. The ability to arrange oneon-one training as an alternative to attending meetings scheduled on one of his accommodated days means, in this Court view, that Plaintiff's religious beliefs did not conflict with an employment requirement. However, even if Plaintiff established a prima case of discrimination, the evidence shows that Defendants in fact accommodated Plaintiff's religious beliefs throughout his employment by not scheduling him on the three and then four days each week that he sought off, allowing him to trade shifts when he was scheduled (whether intentionally or unintentionally) on one of his accommodation days, and permitting him to arrange a one-on-one meeting or training session when such meetings or sessions were scheduled on his accommodation days.

Plaintiff argues that Defendants should not have scheduled staff meetings and training and certification sessions on days that they knew were his accommodation days. In this Court's view, however, it is not reasonable to expect an employer to schedule staff meetings to avoid one employee's accommodated days, particularly where the employee is not able to work four of seven days per week and one of the three days the employee is able to work is a Saturday when the employer already has difficulty getting employers to work. Moreover, Defendants establish that Plaintiff attended meetings and training sessions in the past despite the fact that they were held on one of his accommodated days. Finally, Defendants offered Plaintiff a reasonable alternative to attending those meetings and sessions on his accommodation days, as well as when he was scheduled to work on one of those days, in that they allowed him to arrange alternative one-on-one meetings and/or sessions and to trade shifts with other employees.   ... ... ...

Plaintiff claims that Defendants retaliated against him for submitting his November 2007 internal grievance when they scheduled him to work shifts on Sunday, June 29, and Sunday, July 6, 2008, and scheduled staff meetings on the days he requested to not work due to his religious beliefs. With respect to the Sunday shifts, Plaintiff did not work those shifts as he was able to trade them with other employees. The Court therefore does not believe that he suffered an adverse employment action. Even if he did, however, Plaintiff offers no evidence to establish a causal connection between his internal grievance letter and his two scheduled Sunday shifts. While Plaintiff was disciplined for not attending the staff meeting and training session scheduled on his accommodated days, he likewise presents no evidence suggesting a causal connection between the scheduling of the meeting and session and his grievance more than a year earlier. In short, Plaintiff fails to establish a prima facie claim of retaliation.

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NADINE HENDERSON v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS was a 2008-09 federal employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Nadine Henderson. Henderson worked as a Staff Nurse in the Spinal Cord Injury Unit of the agency's Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Henderson worked four ten-hour shifts on Friday-Monday nights, which allowed her to attend her WatchTower meetings on Wedneday evenings and Sundays, plus participate in field service (door-knocking) on Saturdays. In late 2007, due to staffing shortage, Henderson's schedule was changed to rotating four nights. After she complained, Henderson was allowed off on Wednesdays so that she could attend her local Kingdom Hall meetings.
 
In June 2008, Nadine Henderson was suspended for one week after several weeks of internal procedures relating to charges that Henderson had committed the following infractions after the schedule change: delay in patient care; administration of the wrong medication; failing to complete an assignment that endangered the safety of patients; and failing to complete an assignment requiring the administration of medication. Thereafter, Henderson filed an EEO complaint alleging religious discrimination and racial discrimination when her work schedule was changed, and retaliation via the suspension. The EEOC Administrative Judge ruled that there had been no discrimination during the schedule change that affected the entire department. In fact, Henderson had been permitted to continue to work the ten hour shifts she preferred, while others were required to work either eight hour or twelve hour shifts, plus Henderson was allowed off every Wednesday night to accommodate her WatchTower meetings. On appeal, the EEOC affirmed.
 
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LEWIS ROGERS, JR v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS was a 1997-1999 federal employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Lewis Rogers Jr. Rogers was employed as a Records Management/Duplication Clerk at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Rogers was scheduled to work Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Rogers was the only employee who performed his duties.

In February 1997, Lewis Rogers Jr requested that his work schedule be "compressed" to Monday through Thursday from 6:00 AM to 4:30 PM., which would "allow him more time to devote to his Family and Church."  Rogers failed to identify a specific WatchTower belief or practice which required him to not work on Fridays. Rogers' request was denied, and Rogers thereafter filed a complaint alleging religious discrimination based on the agency's failure to provide reasonable accommodation "to pursue his work with his church and devote more time to his family." After the agency ruled that there had been no religious discrimination, Rogers added the allegations that he had also suffered racial discrimination, color discrimination, and age discrimination. On appeal, the EEOC affirmed the agency's ruling that there had been no religious discrimination, and found no race, color, nor age discrimination.

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EEOC v. GREENWICH HOSPITAL was a 1996 employment discrimination lawsuit filed by EEOC on behalf of a Jehovah's Witness named James J. Hopkins. Hopkins had resigned his position as a part-time relief food service supervisor at Greenwich Hospital in January 1993.  Hopkins alleged that the hospital discriminated against him by refusing to "accommodate" his Jehovah's Witnesses meetings when scheduling his work hours.  Evidently, Hopkins was a Jehovah's Witness Elder, who was required to participate in meetings held on Sundays - days which Greenwich had scheduled him to work. COMPARE THIS LAWSUIT WITH THE NEXT SUMMARY.
 
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The following 1987 Unemployment Compensation case, with several specifics not available, should be contrasted with other decisions. An unidentified Jehovah's Witness was employed as a kitchen shift supervisor at an unidentified hospital. Over the years, he had compromised in his work scheduling such that he would work either one Tuesday or one Thursday evening each week, which would allow him to only attend one or the other weekday "JW meetings" each week. At some point in 1986-87, there were some type of changes occurring, which made it necessary for the hospital to make some drastic changes to the scheduling for a one month period. At first, the JW Employee was asked to take on more hours, but he declined. By requiring those extra duties being shifted to co-workers, and in order to accommodate his "one Tuesday or one Thursday evening off per week", he was forced to take a lower line job for that one month. After only two of the four weeks, it became necessary for the hospital to schedule the JW Employee with no weekday evening off during weeks three and four. Evidently, there was more going on than reported, since the JW Employee resigned. His later request for unemployment benefits were denied. Since the JW Employee had historically missed one of the two weekday meetings each week, such proved that his personal belief was that attendance at Jehovah's Witness meetings were not required.

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DONALD HAIG v. ST. EDWARDS MERCY HOSPITAL was a 1982-83 unemployment compensation case ultimately decided by the Arkansas Court of Appeals. After Donald Haig converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses, he began attending the three WatchTower conventions each year. Although it created scheduling problems, St. Edwards Mercy Hospital readily cooperated in allowing Haig to switch shifts or take accrued vacation time in order to attend these three conventions.

In August 1982, Haig notified the Hospital of a convention being held on a Saturday, but the work schedules had already been prepared, and Haig was scheduled to work. Haig was allowed to switch shifts with a co-worker, but the co-worker later had a personal conflict arise, and he was unable to work the Saturday shift. Haig attempted to arrange for a substitute, but the only other available co-worker was too inexperienced and was unacceptable to the employer. Since no acceptable substitute was available, the Hospital informed Haig that he would be required to work, and, if he attended the convention leaving no one to work his shift, then he would be fired. Haig informed Hospital that he intended to be present at the scheduled convention, and he tendered his resignation.

Haig filed for unemployment benefits, which were denied by the Board of Review on a finding that he voluntarily quit his last work without good cause connected with the work. This appellate decision affirmed the denial, stating:

After a review of the record, we are satisfied that there is substantial evidence to support the Board's decision denying benefits to the appellant on a finding that he voluntarily quit his last work. We find the Sherbert and Thomas decisions distinguishable from the facts presented in the case at bar. Here, the appellant's desire to attend the religious convention was not a 'cardinal principle of' or 'conduct mandated by' his religion. Thus, he was not required to choose between his employment and the sacrifice of a constitutionally protected right. Since the appellant's desire to attend the convention was personally motivated and his non-attendance was not violative of the foundation of his religion, we affirm the Board's denial of unemployment compensation benefits.

The Arkansas Appellate Court's reasoning was incorrect. The cited precedents make it clear that an employee's personal beliefs are controlling; even if such are more restrictive than that required by his denomination. Instead, this court should have ruled in the hospital's favor based on precedents pertaining to "accommodation". In this instance, the hospital clearly had made reasonable attempts to accommodate Haig's schedule, and his eventual absence created an "undue hardship" for his employer.

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DEPT OF HRS v. VENTURI-CLYDE was a 1977 personnel hearing involving a Florida Jehovah's Witness employed at a state-operated residential facility for the profound and severely retarded. The JW Employee requested two days annual leave to attend a Jehovah's Witness Circuit Assembly. By making inquiry of other employees as to exchanging days with the JW Employee and instructing the JW Employee to do the same, the employer attempted to accommodate the JW Employee's request, but was unsuccessful. The JW Employee took off the two days anyway, plus failed to call in. After returning to work, the JW Employee was docked the two day's pay, and was suspended for three days without pay. The JW Employee appealed the suspension. The Hearing found that the employer's attempt to make an "accommodation" was "reasonable", though such failed. The Hearing found that the suspension was not due to the JW Employee attendance at the religious convention, but due to the Employee's history of tardiness and absences. On numerous occasions during her employment, the JW Employee had been orally counseled by her supervisor regarding excessive absences and tardiness. In April 1975, and January 1976, respondent received written reprimands from her supervisor for an unauthorized absence and habitual tardiness. On both occasions, she was warned that the next such offense would warrant suspension. The suspension was affirmed.

 
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HOLIDAYS - BIRTHDAYS CASES
 
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CABALUNA v. HOAG MEMORIAL HOSPITAL was a 2009-14 California state appellate court decision which should encourage any and all Jehovah's Witness Employees who have been or who are being harassed or discriminated against by a supervisor or co-worker because of their religious beliefs and/or practices to continue to FILE MULTIPLE COMPLAINTS with their Employer until the offending supervisor or co-worker is disciplined or even terminated.

In this court case, the plaintiff, Cabaluna, was the TERMINATED former co-worker of a Jehovah's Witness Employee named Marilyn E. Dougher, of Huntington Beach, California. Despite having been employed by Hoag Memorial Hospital for 28 YEARS, and at the time of her discharge being the Charge Nurse in the Hospital's dialysis unit, Cabaluna was FIRED by the Hospital in 2009 after she "conducted in the workplace a mocking birthday celebration for [Marilyn] Dougher during which she gave [Marilyn]Dougher a birthday cake and sang 'Happy Birthday, Bitch'." Marilyn E. Dougher, then age 56, complained about the "mocking birthday celebration" to her own supervisor, and the Hospital thereafter fired Cabaluna.

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MARIA ANTOINETTE THOMAS v. CITY OF CHICAGO was a 2010 federal USDC case which involved a Jehovah's Witness Registered Nurse and her employer, the City of Chicago.  In April 2007, Maria A. Thomas was hired on a probationary basis as an Occupational Health Nurse for the Chicago Police Department's Medical Section. Maria Thomas was terminated in September 2007 before the end of her probationary period.
 
In December 2007, Thomas filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, alleging that the City terminated her because of her WatchTower religion. The USDC noted that this was the THIRD EMPLOYER against whom Maria Antoinette Thomas had filed discrimination charges. In February 2008, Thomas received a Right-To-Sue letter from EEOC based on her allegations of religious discrimination. Thomas filed her own lawsuit against the City in May 2008 alleging that she experienced various forms of employment discrimination. Specifically, in Counts I and II of her First Amended Complaint, Thomas claimed violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for harassment and discrimination, and retaliation. After the City moved for summary judgment on both counts, Thomas voluntarily abandoned her retaliation claim. In January 2010, the USDC granted the City's Motion for Summary Judgment on the balance of Thomas's lawsuit.
 
Approximately two or three weeks after Thomas started working with the City, her co-workers invited Thomas to a potluck dinner during their shift to welcome her and a second new employee to the group. Thomas eventually learned that a third co-worker's birthday would also be celebrated at the potluck dinner, so Thomas told co-workers that she would not attend due to her WatchTower beliefs. Only a few weeks later, Thomas' co-workers held another celebration at work. When Thomas did not participate, a co-worker told Thomas that a Jehovah's Witness female who used to work in the Medical Section used to attend the celebrations at the office. Thomas walked away from the conversation at the moment the co-worker said that the previous JW Employee would attend the celebrations.
 
As an occupational nurse, Thomas interviewed police officers to determine their need for additional treatment or additional time away from work, referred officers for treatment, determined dates that officers could return to work, determined potential work restrictions for officers returning to work and recorded her notes in the police department's computerized tracking system. Thomas did not provide medical care.
 
Oftentimes, the person in charge of referring officers for particular medical treatment, named Finnegan, disagreed with Thomas' proposed course of treatment. For example, approximately two weeks after Thomas started working for the City, Thomas told Finnegan that an officer should see a plastic surgeon to close a wound instead of receiving stitches due to the possibility that the officer had suffered nerve damage. Instead of following Thomas' recommendation, Finnegan told her supervisor, named Hemmerling, that the officer should see a doctor to receive stitches. Hemmerling agreed and had the officer see a doctor instead of a plastic surgeon. After observing the wound, the doctor sent the officer to the plastic surgeon to have the wound mended. Thomas believed that Finnegan disagreed with her assessments on a daily basis in order to undermine or sabotage her work. Thomas also believed that other employees took files from her office to sabotage her.
 
Hemmerling met with Thomas at least twice per week to discuss her performance issues at work. During the meetings, Hemmerling told Thomas that Thomas' entries into the computerized tracking system contained misspellings of common medical terms and unclear abbreviations, unsupported extensions of time off for officers, unclear documentation of medical conditions and evidence that Thomas failed to follow-up with officers when necessary.  After discussing these concerns with Thomas, Hemmerling informed a superior of Thomas' performance issues, and in May 2007 documented her deficiencies in a memo to the Personal Division. In June 2007, Hemmerling assigned an occupational health nurse with more experience to oversee and assist Thomas, but her work did not improve. Proper administrative procedures and channels were followed leading to Thomas's eventual termination.
 
The USDC noted, in part:
Here, Thomas claims that the following incidents created a religiously hostile work environment for her: 1) receiving questions from co-workers regarding her faith; 2) exclusion from birthday parties; 3) Finnegan "undermining or sabotaging" her work; 4) Hemmerling making two comments about her religion; 5) someone placing fish in the trash can outside of her office; 6) receiving "less favorable" treatment than other employees with respect to days off during her probationary period; 7) not being able to place a name tag outside of her door; and 8) not being able to display all of her qualifications on her business cards. However, Thomas has offered no evidence to demonstrate that any of the allegedly harassing conduct was because of her religion or that it was sufficiently severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of her employment.

For example, Thomas first claims that co-workers' questions about her faith and her subsequent exclusion from office birthday parties created a hostile work environment; however, the record establishes that Thomas was willing to discuss her faith with her co-workers and that questions about her religion did not offend her. The record also demonstrates that, contrary to Thomas contention, she was not excluded from office birthday parties, rather she herself decided not to attend these parties due to her religion. To be sure, the record reveals that when a co-worker told Thomas that another Jehovah's Witness used to come to the office parties, in an attempt to persuade Thomas to attend, Thomas simply walked away from the conversation. Additionally, the undisputed facts demonstrate that Thomas' co-workers never criticized Thomas for choosing not to attend the parties. ... Therefore, the record is devoid of evidence to support Thomas' contention that allegedly harassing conduct was because of her religion or that it was subjectively and objectively hostile.

Next, Thomas claims she was subjected to a hostile work environment because Finnegan was "undermining or sabotaging" her work. However, even if Thomas could establish that Finnegan was "undermining or sabotaging" her work, she offers no evidence to support the inference that Finnegan was "undermining or sabotaging" her work based on her religion. In fact, the record reveals that Thomas did not mention her religion at all when she complained to Hemmerling about her co-workers, but instead maintained that her co-workers undermined her work because they disagreed with her assessment of the proper treatment and referrals for certain officers. Because the record is devoid of evidence to support Thomas' speculation that Finnegan's motivation for undermining her work was because of her religion, she can not maintain a claim of hostile work environment based on Finnegan's alleged conduct.

Thomas also claims that she was subjected to a hostile work environment because Hemmerling made two negative remarks about her religion. Although disputed by Hemmerling, Thomas asserts that Hemmerling made the first remark in May 2007, after Thomas received authorization to leave early to care for her sick daughter. Hemmerling went to Thomas' office and said, "I will pray for you but not a stupid Jehovah prayer." Thomas asserts that Hemmerling made the second remark after she and Thomas had a work related disagreement. While walking away from Thomas' office, Hemmerling mumbled under her breath that Thomas was "a stupid Witness." The record does not demonstrate that Hemmerling, or any other employee, made any other derogatory comments regarding Thomas's religion. As previously noted, in order to establish a hostile work environment, Thomas must show the harassment to be "both subjectively and objectively so severe or persuasive as to alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive working environment." ... Here, even accepting Thomas' assertions as true, the record supports that Hemmerling made only two isolated remarks to Thomas, as opposed to a "concentrated or incessant barrage," which would likely have a greater emotional impact.. ...
Further, the remarks at issue were not made in public; if made, they were only made in Thomas' presence and one was barely audible as it was mumbled under Hemmerling's breath. Because Hemmerling's comments were infrequent and merely offensive as opposed to threatening and humiliating, Thomas has failed to establish that Hemmerling's two isolated remarks, over the period of her employment, were objectively so severe or persuasive as to create a hostile work environment. ...

Thomas next claims that she suffered from a hostile work environment because an unidentified co-worker, on two or three occasions, placed the remnants of a fish dinner in a garbage can outside her office. Thomas admits that she does not know who threw the fish into the trash can and has not offered any evidence, beyond her own assertion, to support her conclusion that the act of discarding fish into her trash can was critical of her religious beliefs. While Thomas may have felt that the act of discarding fish into a trash can outside her office was an affront to her religious beliefs, ...
she has failed to set forth evidence to establish that this conduct was motivated by her religion or that a reasonable person would find this behavior objectively hostile.

Next, Thomas claims that was subjected to a hostile work environment when she received "less favorable" treatment than a co-worker when she asked for days off during her probationary period. The record indicates that Thomas wanted to take two days off in July, 2007, but did not file a written request to do so. Nonetheless, Thomas was allowed to take the time off and was not disciplined for her failure to follow proper procedure. Thomas asserts that another employee, who she does not identify, but who the court assumes is her co-worker Salinski, received more favorable treatment when she requested time off. However, the record reveals that Thomas does not know whether Salinski, unlike herself, submitted a written request for time off, and if not, whether she was disciplined for failing to follow proper procedure. Thomas also concedes that she does not know whether Salinski received pay while on vacation. Because Thomas can not even establish that Salinski was similarly situated and treated more favorably, she can not establish that she received "less favorable" treatment because of her religion. Additionally, Thomas' concession that she was not disciplined for her failure to file a written request for time off, and was still allowed to take the time off, establish that the treatment she did receive was not sufficiently severe to create a hostile work environment. Moreover, even if Thomas had established that she received "less favorable" treatment, Thomas has set for no evidence to indicate that her religion was in any way a motivating factor for the treatment she received.

Lastly, Thomas claims that she was subjected to a hostile work environment when she was not allowed to place a name tag outside her door and was not allowed to list all of her qualifications on her business cards. However, Thomas concedes that she does not know why Hemmerling removed her name tag from her door. And, the record reveals that police officers serving as occupational nurses could use the initials "PO, RN" on their business cards to reflect their status as sworn officers but that Thomas does not know how other civilian occupational nurses, such as herself, displayed their names on their business cards. In short, Thomas has provided no evidence to link the removal of her name tag or the changing of her business cards to her religion.

Finally, even if Thomas had established that the incidents she complains of were objectively and subjectively hostile, there is no basis for employer liability because the record reveals that she never complained to the City about the allegedly harassing behavior, despite the fact that the City had a complaint register where employees could file complaints and report harassment. ...
 
Because Thomas has failed to submit evidence that she was harassed because of her religion, or that the harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of her employment and create an abusive working environment, the City is entitled to judgment as a matter of law with respect to Thomas' hostile work environment claim.
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EEOC v. COMMUNITY TRANSPORT SERVICES was a 2009-11 South Carolina federal court case. Suing on behalf of a former feamle Jehovah's Witness Employee, named Dale Morant, E.E.O.C. alleged that in 2006 that Community Transport Services LLC, a regional ambulance service, fired the female E.M.T. after she refused to hand out advertising materials as a company representative at the Prince of Orange Mall, in Orangeburg, S.C, because a Halloween carnival was then being held at the Mall. The EEOC lawsuit sought back pay, reinstatement, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for Dale Morant. EEOC also asked the court to order the company to stop discriminating against employees. Dale Morant had initially filed a complaint with the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC), which investigates such allegations for violations of state law. It is not known whether Dale Morant attempted to sue CTS under state laws.

Community Transport Services LLC was sold to a competitor in November 2007, yet the EEOC still went after the former owner for money. Possibly indicating that that former owner never responded to this lawsuit, in September 2011, the USDC issued a DEFAULT JUDGMENT awarding Dale Morant $23,435.02 as back pay and $10,000.00 as compensatory damages for Dale Morant's "emotional distress". Our guess is that this judgment has never been collected.

We were hoping that this lawsuit would go to trial. There was no reported indication that CTS had asked Morant to dress-up or to do anything else which would be considered participation in the Halloween carnival. Apparently, CTS simply was taking advantage of the Mall event to promote its services to the local community. We were hoping that CTS's attorney would ask Dale Morant if she would have refused to travel to the Mall and treat a mall employee or mall patron who was injured or became ill at the Mall during the Halloween carnival. We were hoping that CTS's attorney would ask Dale Morant if Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to shop at Malls or other retail stores during holiday seasons when Malls are decorated for Halloween and other holidays.

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IN RE CLALLAM COUNTY HOSPITAL DISTRICT was a 1995 Washington state arbitration which involved a Jehovah's Witness Employee who refused to erect a Christmas tree.  The arbitrator ruled in favor of the JW Employee, because the Hospital failed to reasonably accommodate the JW Employee's religious beliefs, since other similar employees were available who could have performed this task.

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ALLEGED MURDERS, KIDNAPPINGS, SEXUAL ASSAULTS, AND OTHER CIVIL OFFENSES
 
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STATE OF VICTORIA v. MALCOLM LEE was a 2016 Australia criminal court case which involved a Jehovah's Witness Minister and licensed Massage Therapist. In December 2016, Malcolm Lee, age 56, was sentenced to 45 months in prison (30 months minimum), for raping and sexually assaulting an 80 year old female client at her home near East Gippsland, Victoria, in March 2016. Michael Lee admitted and pled guilty to kissing, sexually touching, and digitally raping the elderly client during a massage session gifted to the elderly client by her daughter. Malcolm Lee claimed that he had believed that his inappropriate actions had the consent of the elderly client, and that she had enjoyed such, because the elderly client reacted to the ongoing assault by "freezing" and not actively objecting nor resisting Lee's assault.

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TEXAS v. PEDRO ORTIZ was a July 2015 Texas criminal prosecution of a reported JEHOVAH'S WITNESS ELDER who was employed as a MRI Technician at at St. Luke's Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Houston, Texas. Pedro Ortiz, age 34, was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of "Improper Photography/Video Recording" after a 24 year-old female patient discovered Ortiz's poorly concealed cellphone recording her while she was dressing in a dressing room. Pedro Ortiz reportedly admitted the misdeed to police. His bond was set at $2000.00. Outcome unknown.
 
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CROWN v. DANIEL SIMONETTI was a 2009 British criminal prosecution of a JEHOVAH'S WITNESS MINISTER who is a member of the heavily-recruited and in turn heavily-recruiting DEAF JEHOVAH'S WITNESS COMMUNITY (like the biblical roaring lion prowling the Serengiti looking for a vulnerable victim).

In March 2009, Daniel Simonetti, age 31, of Merton Bank, who was employed as a delivery person for a local pharmacist, sexually assaulted an 89 year-old female to whom Dan Simonetti had at other times regularly delivered prescriptions to her home in Ashton. On a Wednesday afternoon in March 2009, after delivering a prescription to one of the victim's neighbors, Simonetti thereafter stopped at the victim's home where he found the door to be unlocked. Simonetti entered the victim's home, and introduced himself as a "trainee doctor" to the victim whom did not recognize Simonetti as her regular prescription delivery person. Simonetti even pretended to talk with a superior on his cellphone. Simonetti instructed the victim to undress so that he could take a urine specimen. Simonetti then proceeded to sexually penetrate the victim causing her bruising, swelling, and immense pain, and thereafter, fear and psychological devastation. At some point, a neighbor who possibly had heard the victim scream out in pain, knocked on the door and interrupted Simonetti before he could do anything worse. Simonetti briefly spoke to the neighbor and left, and the victim then told her neighbor what Simonetti had done to her. Simonetti was arrested two days later, and initially charged with rape. That charge was later dropped in exchange for a guilty plea to sexual assault by penetration.

The trial judge imposed an indeterminate sentence, and ordered Daniel Simonetti to serve at least three years in jail before the Parole Board could decide if and when Simonetti should be released. Dan Simonetti was also ordered to sign onto the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Unbelievably, the trial judge even disclosed that Dan Simonetti had previously ADMITTED having indecently assaulted the 4 year-old daughter of "AN AQUAINTANCE HE KNEW THROUGH HIS INVOLVEMENT WITH THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES" back in 1996. Readers should not be too quick to assume that the victim was the child of a fellow Jehovah's Witness. Given this Perpetrator's modus operandi, the judge's verbiage can just as easily refer to an "acquaintance" made during Simonetti's door-to-door proselytizing. Maybe Simonetti was comfortable doing what he did in 2009 because he had done the same thing previously -- at least once back in 1996, and probably multiple times thereafter.

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CALIFORNIA v. JOSE LUIS MARTINEZ was a 2006-7 California criminal court case which involved a 43 year-old Jehovah's Witness Minister named Jose Luis Martinez, of Fresno, California, who was employed as a JANITOR at ST. AGNES HOSPITAL, and who was a SERIAL CHILD PREDATOR. In May 2006, Jose L. Martinez was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting three schoolgirls, ages 6 to 9, walking to and from Greenberg Elementary School, in Fresno, on three separate occasions, in April-May 2006. Police believed that Martinez was responsible for other sexual assaults against children, and eventually charged him with two additional assaults which occurred in 2005; one against a 5 year-old girl. At trial, police testified that Jose Martinez would pull up to the walking children and tell them that he knew their parents, and offer them a ride, and treats. Sometimes he would even buy them fast-food, before then taking them somewhere to "play games".
 
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WILLIAM E. SLUE v. NEW YORK UNIVERSITY ET AL was a 2004-06 New York federal lawsuit which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named William E. Slue. William Slue was employed by NYU from June 1962 until he was fired in January 2004.  At the time of his termination, Slue was Supervisor of Medical Photography. After a secret investigation, which included undercover work performed by a private investigation firm (named as a defendant), Slue was accused of taking extra photographs of female patients (including breasts and genitalia) for his own personal use. Slue denied all of NYU's allegations, and filed a federal lawsuit alleging wrongful discharge and breach of contract, improper termination of lease, improper denial/termination of benefits, conversion, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, interference with contract, intentional interference with economic opportunity, and violation of federal and state privacy laws. In January 2006, the federal court dismissed all of Slue's charges against NYU, except his charge that some emails sent by a NYU supervisor were "defamatory". In September 2006, a jury determined that the emails in question were not written with malice, and ruled in NYU's favor.

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ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY v. ADVANTAGE MEDICAL DIAGNOSTIC INC was a 2001 Flordia civil lawsuit which involved Victor H. Chery, then age 45, of Tampa, Florida. Victor Chery was the owner of Advantage Medical Diagnostic Inc., in Tampa, Florida. Victor Chery was also a JEHOVAH'S WITNESS ELDER, and corporate Secretary/Treasurer of the Egypt Lake Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

In March 2001, Allstate Insurance Company filed a lawsuit against Advantage Medical Diagnostic Inc. which alleged that AMD was a "broker" of MRIs and other diagnostic services, which had billed Allstate for services which it had not performed. The complaint further charged, "AMD has also engaged in a pattern of criminal activity by paying and receiving commissions, bonuses, rebates, kickbacks or bribes or in kind or engaged in a split-fee arrangement with referring physicians or with the actual diagnostic facilities." Outcome unknown.

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ADVANTAGE MEDICAL DIAGNOSTIC v. STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANY was a 2001 Florida civil lawsuit which AMD ludicrously filed against State Farm to collect for MRI services allegedly performed on one of State Farm's policyholders in July 1999. In December 2001, the case was summarily dismissed, with the court stating in part:

Plaintiff which did not perform necessary medical services and is not a physician, hospital, clinic, or other person or institution lawfully rendering treatment to an injured person for a bodily injury covered by PIP insurance is not entitled to payment for MRI services from insurer or insured.

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FLORIDA v. VICTOR H. CHERY was a 2005 Florida state criminal case which involved Victor H. Chery, then age 49, of Tampa, Florida. In March 2005, Victor Chery was arrested and charged with "patient brokering", which was a third-degree felony that carried a maximum five-year prison sentence. Chery's arrest was part of a two year "insurance fraud" investigation conducted by Florida's Department of Financial Services - Division of Insurance Fraud, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, and the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office. Allegedly, accident victims (real and not real) were solicited by attorneys and others, who in turn "sold" the "victims" to doctors, medical clinics, diagnostic firms, etc., who in turn billed insurance companies for unneeded services and services not preformed. Outcome unknown.

***

Advantage Medical Diagnostic Inc. was closed as a result of the 2005 criminal investigation. Victor Chery currently owns and operates Quality Diagnostics of Tampa, Inc. at the same address.

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CALIFORNIA v. EFREN SALDIVAR was a 2001-2 California criminal case which involved a Jehovah's Witness named Efren Saldivar. In 2002, Efren Saldivar pled guilty to six counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in a deal with prosecutors in which he would be sentenced to life imprisonment rather than receiving the death penalty.  Efren Saldivar was an "Angel of Death", who had worked as a Respiratory Therapist in a number of California hospitals from 1989 until 1998. The number of patients murdered by Saldivar is uncertain, but the number may have been in excess of 100 people.

Efren Saldivar was the son of illegal Mexican immigrants. Saldivar was reared as a Jehovah's Witness, and as is often the case, Saldivar had a troubled childhood. Saldivar was a loner with few social skills. He dropped out of high school during his senior year.  Discouraged by his job at a supermarket, and encouraged by a friend attending vocational school, Saldivar decided to pursue training as a Respiratory Therapist.  After obtaining a G.E.D., and completing one year of vocational school, Saldivar began his career as a RT in 1989.  At the age of 20, this "angel of death" began his spree of "mercy killings". The first victim was an elderly female who was suffering from cancer and terminally ill. Saldivar disconnected part of her breathing apparatus so that she would suffocate to death. Over 1,000 patients died at some point on Saldivar's (third) shift during the eight years at the hospital where he worked fulltime. Saldivar also worked at a number of other hospitals on a part-time basis over the years. Even Saldivar did not know how many people he had killed. Saldivar stated that he stopped keeping count after the number passed 60.

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UNITED STATES v. THERESA GOLDBERG and UNITED STATES v. DAVID GOLDBERG were two 1998-99 New York federal criminal court cases which involved a Jehovah's Witnesses couple named David and Theresa Gaetonina Goldberg. The Goldbergs were originally charged with the kidnapping of a handicapped 6 year old Hasidic boy, named Chaim Weill. Theresa Goldberg had provided health care services for the Brooklyn boy for several years as a city government provided Home Health Aide subcontractor. However, Goldberg felt that the child was not getting proper attention and treatment for his cerebral palsy from his parents. Goldberg wanted to get the boy some sort of unorthodox healing or holistic treatments in South Carolina. Under the pretense of taking the child out for a stroll in his wheelchair, Goldberg abducted the child and later attempted to transport the boy to South Carolina without the parents knowledge or permission. The FBI arrested Theresa Goldberg in Chester, Virginia two days later where she and the child were found sleeping in a car. Interestingly, when the child was rescued by the FBI, his yarmulke had been thrown away, and his payess had been cut off.

Both David and Theresa Goldberg were allowed to plead guilty to reduced charges. Theresa Goldberg pled guilty to "kidnapping conspiracy" and received a 57 month sentence, of which she probably served very little. David Goldberg, who knew of his wife's plans to kidnap the child, was allowed to plead to "criminal conspiracy", and received a sentence of only 10 months.

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IN THE MATTER OF JUDITH M. DAVIS was a 1998-2004 California disciplinary action brought by the California Board Of Registered Nursing against a Jehovah's Witness Registered Nurse named Judith Davis, who is the wife of a Jehovah's Witness named Dion Tolbert. On February 6, 1998, Davis was admitted to the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center ER and confirmed to be under the influence of opiates and PCP. Davis also had in her possession sixteen 100mg ampules of Demerol, one nearly empty 2mg vial of Ativan, and two syringes. On February 16, 1998, a complaint was filed with the Board against Davis alleging her positive test for opiates and PCP and her use and possession of drugs. On July 10, 1998, the Board began an investigation of the complaint against Davis. In April 1999, Davis admitted that she had tried to commit suicide on February 6, 1998. On September 3, 2001, pursuant to an Order to Compel Psychiatric Examination issued by the Board, Davis was examined by a Dr. Rath, who diagnosed Davis as having borderline personality disorder and major depression recurrent type, and concluded she was unable to safely practice nursing. Davis contested the diagnosis and repercussions to her career. In October 2004, the California Board Of Registered Nursing suspended Davis' license pending a future mental health examination determining that Davis was capable of safely practicing as a RN. Outcome/current status unknown.

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Per the Fall 1997 issue of DME MEDICARE NEWS, a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Chiropractor, named James N. Roebuck, then age 45, had been "indefinitely" suspended by the federal government from participating in the federal Medicare Insurance Program, effective February 1997. James N. Roebuck, Jr. is the son of well known Jehovah's Witness Chiropractor, James N. Roebuck, Sr., who not only treated JWs throughout the greater Philadelphia area for 40 years, but reportedly was "Chiropractor-to-the-stars" at the International HQs of the WatchTower Bible and Tract Society.  Dr. James Roebuck, Sr., died in 1995, while performing services at the WatchTower Society's large Patterson, New York complex. James N. Roebuck, Sr. also traveled for years on behalf of the WatchTower Society, serving as "Chairman's Assistant" and "Purchasing Supervisor" at numerous WatchTower Conventions around the United States. Curiously, when doing PR media interviews at these conventions, Roebuck would "profession-drop" that he was a Chiropractor, but he would then indicate that he was performing various non-medical services at that convention.

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MILLS v. ALEATA MAY BEACH, STROER v. ALEATA M. BEACH, and OKLAHOMA v. ALEATA BEACH were two 1994-95 Oklahoma civil lawsuits and one criminal court case which involved a Jehovah's Witness Registered Nurse named Aleata May Beach. Aleata M. Beach was indicted in 1994 for the murders of four terminally ill patients who were all under Beach's care at Grady Memorial Hospital. All four patients died in August 1994. Three days after the fourth patient died, Aleata May Beach attempted suicide, but failed. Aleata Beach left a suicide note in which she detailed how she killed each patient. However, after recovering from the failed suicide attempt, Beach recanted her story, and blamed the suicide attempt and the note on depression caused by her work with terminally ill patients. At her trial, a doctor and a nurse both testified that they had heard Beach state that she had killed the four patients, but they also opined that she did not do so. Beach had graduated in May 1992.

Beach was eventually cleared of all criminal charges because the deaths of the four terminally ill patients could not be proven to have been caused by Beach. Autopsies performed later were hampered by the fact that the bodies had been embalmed. Beach voluntarily surrendered her nursing license rather than submit to an investigation by the state licensing board. Families of two of the deceased patients filed wrongful death suits, but the outcomes are unknown.

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IN RE PAMELA WARD, RN was a 2004-06 Connecticut regulatory disciplinary proceeding. Effective 12/1/2004, Pamela Ward's license to practice as a Registered Nurse was suspended for a term of one year by the State of Connecticut. Pam Ward waived her right to a hearing and did not contest the state's allegations that on January 24, 2004, while employed at a Stamford, CT nursing home, named Courtland Gardens Health Center, that Pamela Ward "failed to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation within acceptable standards of practice". It is not known what consequences, if any, resulted to the elderly resident.
 
In October 2004, Pamela Ward, by then residing and working at the world headquarters of the WatchTower Bible and Tract Society, in Brooklyn, New York, signed a Consent Order which required Ward to submit this Order to all current and future employers during the probationary period, as well as have those employers submit quarterly evaluations to the state. There were also restrictions as to the type of institutions at which Ward could provide any type of nursing services. In January 2006, Pamela Ward received Notice that she had successfully completed the probationary period, and her license was restored.
 
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FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH v. CHRISTIE LEE COOK was a 2003 Florida regulatory disciplinary proceeding. Christie L. Cook was licensed as a Physical Therapist by the state of Florida in August 1996. In October 2002, a regulatory audit disclosed that Christie Cook had failed to provide the state with proof of required continuing education training, and followup on such further disclosed that Cook had moved multiple times without giving the state the required notice -- including by then residing and working at the world headquarters of the WatchTower Bible and Tract Society, in Brooklyn, New York. At a public hearing in October 2003, Christie Lee Cook was assessed a $250.00 administrative fine, plus costs, plus issued a Letter of Concern.
 
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QUEENSLAND v. REX PETERSON was a 2006 Australia criminal prosecution of a 69 year-old Jehovah's Witness Minister, who was widely known in Brisbane, Queensland as a respected Doctor of Homeopathy. In November 2006, Rex Peterson was sentenced to 3 years in prison, with all but 4 months suspended, for having sexually assaulted two unidentified brothers back during the early 1970s.
 
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CROWN v. JAMES BARRATT was a 2002 British criminal prosecution of a Jehovah's Witness Elder who was and still is a widely known Doctor of Homeopathy. In 2002, James Barratt, then age 45, a married father of two who then lived and practiced in Rugby, Warwickshire, was convicted by a Jury at Warwick Crown Court of using his position as a Jehovah's Witness Elder during the late 1980s and early 1990s to befriend two different young teenage males whom he eventually sexually molested. James Barratt was sentenced to two years in prison, with one year suspended. Barratt was also placed on the Sex Offender Registry for 10 years. Thus, James Barratt is currently free and clear of this past criminal sex conviction.

James Barratt's JW Wife has died, and he has relocated to a new area where he has been reinstated as a Jehovah's Witness, and he currently actively practices as a HOMEOPATH. James Barratt has a significant internet presence -- selling homeopathic concoctions on both eBAY and his own online website.

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STATE BOARD OF CHIROPRACTIC EXAMINERS v. EDWARDS was a 1998-2000 case before Missouri's Administrative Hearing Commission. The State Board of Chiropractic Examiners filed a complaint on May 26, 1998, seeking the Commission’s determination that Gary F. Edwards' license to practice chiropractic be subject to discipline as a result of Edwards’ treatment of a patient named Duane Troyer. The Board’s allegations included incompetency, gross negligence, misconduct, and practicing medicine.

Gary F. Edwards, was a Jehovah's Witness Chiropractor, who did business in Independence, Missouri, as Edwards Back & Neck Care Center. This case arose out of Gary Edwards' treatment of a Mennonite farmer, named Duane Troyer, starting in April 1990. Apparently, this Jehovah's Witness Chiropractor had developed a relationship of trust with many members of Missouri's Mennonite and Amish communities.  Duane Troyer's parents and a grandmother had been patients of Edwards, and they referred Duane to Edwards. In October 1996, The Kansas City Star published an article which explained why many Mennonites and Amish sought out Gary Edwards:

"Medical science has produced many wondrous machines, but none was more alluring to the region's Mennonite or Amish communities than the one in Gary Edwards' Independence chiropractic office. Typically, the patient was ushered into an examining room where the chiropractor talked over any symptoms and then switched on what patients say he called "the Interro" or "the nutrition machine." Several independent accounts produce the same description: a computer screen and keyboard attached by wire to a stubby pencil-shaped probe.

But the machine wasn't used on just anybody. "If a doctor or anybody but the Mennonite families asked about it," said Michelle Moore, who worked briefly for Edwards as a file clerk, "I was to say that it didn't exist." It was a special machine, she said, for special people.

Edwards would touch the probe to points on a patient's hand, acupuncture-style, Amish patients said. Supposedly the Interro detected the body's electrical impulses. The computer software, in theory, measured those impulses to see how well various organs in the body worked. The diagnosis was instant. And completely worthless. The Interro does not work. It can treat nothing. It can make no valid diagnosis."

[Readers interested in the use of "quack" medical devices by Jehovah's Witnesses at WatchTower Society world headquarters, should click HERE.]

Duane Troyer was a hemophiliac who had contracted AIDS from contaminated blood in 1984.  When Troyer learned that he was HIV positive, in April 1989, Duane was engaged to be married to fellow Mennonite, Regina Hershberger.  Duane and Regina Troyer were married on September 15, 1989. During the period of preparation for their Mennonite wedding, their religious leaders conducted an anointing ceremony, and prayed for Duane to be healed. Although the couple believed that God could heal Duane, they followed all precautions as recommended by Duane’s medical doctor. Duane and Regina understood that they must use a condom and contraceptive foam during sex, in order to guard against transmitting the virus to Regina, and that they must take precautions with regard to Duane’s blood, and that they would NOT be able to have children.

Duane and Regina Troyer first visited Gary Edwards on April 3, 1990.  Duane informed Edwards that he was HIV positive and wanted to know if there was anything that Edwards could do to help him. During that first visit, Edwards did not conduct any physical examination or chiropractic evaluation of Duane, other than the following. Although Edwards had never treated an HIV patient before, Edwards explained the use of his "Interro machine", which was a version of an Electro-Accupuncture According to Voll (EAV) machine, named after Reinhard Voll, the man who pioneered the use of such techniques.  Edwards attached a probe to Duane’s fingers and toes.  The probe was connected to a computer, which measured the electrical energy levels of certain body organ systems. Edwards' version of the Interro was an advanced model that not only diagnosed a patient's problems, but also assisted in the preparation of a homeopathic remedy. Edwards placed a bottle on top of the Interro while operating the machine. The bottle contained distilled water and gin. According to EAV theory, the machine places an electrical charge in the water, and the alcohol is necessary to hold the charge. The charge is meant to correct an electrical imbalance in the body. Edwards gave the bottle to Duane and told him to place 10 drops under his tongue three times per day, after slapping the bottle on the palm of his hand. Based on the Interro's readings, the computer printed a list of suggested vitamin, mineral, and herb supplements, which Edwards also gave to Troyer. Edwards represented to Duane and Regina that the object of his treatment was to bring the body’s systems into balance, and allegedly, that his treatment could eradicate the HIV from Duane’s body, which Edwards later denied saying.

On May 1, 1990, Duane again visited Edwards’ office.  Edwards again used the Interro, which indicated improvement, to formulate additional drops and suggest additional supplements. Duane visited Edwards’ office again on August 7, 1990.  His condition was better than at the previous visit.  Duane reported stiffness in his neck and back.  Edwards performed a chiropractic adjustment on Duane, used the Interro machine, and gave Duane more drops and supplements. Edwards allegedly stated that he would be able to eradicate the HIV.  Regina allegedly asked if she and Duane could have children when Duane’s body eradicated the HIV, and if Edwards and his wife would have children if they were in Duane and Regina’s position.  Edwards allegedly replied that he would proceed to have children if he were in their position because Duane’s body had gotten rid of the virus and it was not transmittable to anyone, which Edwards later denied saying.

Duane visited Edwards’ office on September 25, 1990.  Duane and Regina were moving to Montana at that time. Edwards used the Interro, which indicated that Troyer's body’s systems were close to balance, but gave Duane more drops and more supplements. On November 12, 1990, Duane visited Edwards’ office while he was in Missouri for a short visit to tend his farm.  Edwards drew blood for an HIV test and sent it to a lab.  Duane returned to Montana. The test showed that Duane remained HIV positive.

Edwards called and reported the test results to Regina Troyer on November 20, 1990, because Duane was en route back to Montana at the time with Regina's parents.  Allegedly, Edwards told Regina that the HIV test was negative, and that the HIV could not be transmitted to her. When Duane and Regina's parents arrived in Montana, Regina told them about her conversation with Edwards. Elizabeth Hershberger was skeptical that Duane's HIV had been eradicated. She called Edwards when she returned home to Missouri the first week of December. Edwards allegedly told Elizabeth Hershberger that he was absolutely certain that Duane's HIV had been eradicated, and that Duane could not transmit HIV to Regina, and that if Duane and Regina had a child, the child would be healthy. Allegedly, Edwards also placed a call to Duane’s parents’ home on November 21, 1990. Duane and Regina never had unprotected sexual relations prior to November 20, 1990. However, based on Edwards’ telephone calls, the couple believed that it was no longer necessary to practice safe sex.

On August 29, 1991, Duane visited Edwards’ office. Edwards used the Interro, which indicated that Troyer's body was nearly in balance, but gave more drops and more supplements. Edwards allegedly stated that the HIV was eradicated. Edwards indicated that Duane should return in 12 months.

Regina Troyer’s mother, Elizabeth Hershberger, made two telephone calls to Edwards’ office on November 2, 1991.  Elizabeth had learned that Regina was pregnant and wanted to find out if Regina would be OK. Edwards made an 11-minute collect call to the Hershberger residence on November 5, 1991. Allegedly, Edwards assured Hershberger that there was no risk to Regina. In her Christmas letter in 1991, Elizabeth announced that Regina was pregnant and that the couple's "homeopathic doctor" said there was no risk from HIV.

Regina Troyer gave birth to a daughter on May 20, 1992. Duane and Regina had moved back to Missouri by that time. Both Regina and the baby tested HIV positive. After the birth of his daughter, Duane’s health rapidly deteriorated.  At the urging of his parents and grandmother, Duane again visited Edwards’ office on July 31, 1992.  Edwards drew blood and took a hair sample, and sent them to a lab for analysis.  Edwards also did an chiropractic adjustment and diathermy, and gave Duane a supplement. Regina later alleged that she overheard Edwards tell Duane that his illness and symptoms had nothing to do with AIDS.

On August 12, 1992, Duane was admitted to Audrain Medical Center in Mexico, Missouri, and was diagnosed with pneumonia and AIDS. At Duane’s request, the hospital released him to go home on August 15, 1992. Later in August 1992, Duane was taken to the hospital in Brookfield, and was then transferred to Columbia.  Doctors diagnosed meningitis and a possible tumor in his brain, which were complications of AIDS. Because no treatment would be effective, the doctors sent Duane home to die. Duane Troyer died on September 5, 1992. Regina Troyer and her daughter were still alive as of late 1999, and were receiving medical treatment for their HIV conditions.

Quite interestingly, Duane Troyer's Mennonite father, David Troyer, who had been, and possibly still was, a patient of Gary Edwards, testified in 1999 to his recollection of events back in 1990-1. David Troyer stated that he accompanied Duane and Regina on visits to Edwards' office “a couple of times.”   David Troyer stated that he never heard Edwards state that he could cure HIV, and that Edwards stated that “he couldn’t cure anybody, but he could make their life more pleasant.”

The Commission made findings of fact that Gary Edwards represented that:  (1) Edwards' treatment could cure HIV/AIDS, (2) Duane Troyer had been cured, and, (3) Duane Troyer's later symptoms had nothing to do with AIDS.

With regard to the Board's charge of "incompetency", the Commission ruled, in part: "By attempting to cure HIV/AIDS, representing that Duane was cured, and failing to recognize that chiropractic was an inadequate and ineffective means for treatment of HIV/AIDS, Edwards demonstrated incompetence."

With regard to the Board's charge of "misconduct", the Commission ruled, in part: "By representing that he could cure HIV/AIDS and that the condition was cured, Edwards committed misconduct."    

With regard to the Board's charge of "gross negligence", the Commission ruled, in part: "Because we have concluded that Edwards acted with wrongful intent rather than with mere recklessness, he is not subject to discipline for gross negligence."

With regard to the Board's charge of "fraud, misrepresentation, and dishonesty", the Commission ruled, in part: "Edwards made false statements in order to make Duane and Regina pay him for the Interro treatments and drops.  Further, he did not tell Duane and Regina that the brown bottles contained nothing but gin and water.  Therefore, he is subject to discipline for fraud, misrepresentation, and dishonesty."

With regard to the Board's charge of "practicing medicine", the Commission ruled, in part:  "... Edwards went beyond providing nutrition by prescribing or administering a medicine and attempting to practice medicine ... ."

In February 2000, Missouri's Administrative Hearing Commission ruled that Gary Edwards could be disciplined by Missouri's State Board of Chiropractic Examiners.  In May 2000, the Board revoked Edwards' license to practice chiropractic, with imposition of revocation stayed pending Edwards' successful completion of a two-year suspension and a subsequent five-year probationary period.

However, in April 2002, on appeal from Gary Edwards, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that the Board's fact-finding body had erred by not allowing Edwards to have access to certain evidence during the discovery process, and reversed the Commission's decision, and remanded the case for further proceedings. DECISION. The Board subsequently withdrew its complaint against Edwards when Missouri's Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal on the reverse and remand.

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EDWARDS v. GERSTEIN ET AL. Thereafter, Edwards filed a new lawsuit alleging that members of the Missouri Board of Chiropractic Examiners acted with gross negligence during the board's disciplinary proceedings against him, and alleging that a board employee engaged in malicious prosecution during her investigation of claims against Edwards. After venue in the case was moved from Jackson County to Cole County, the circuit court ultimately dismissed Edwards' suit, finding the board members were entitled to quasi-judicial immunity and that the board employee was immune from suit under the official immunity and public duty doctrines. Edwards appealed, but lost at the Court of Appeals level in December 2006. However, in October 2007, Missouri's Supreme Court reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings on Edwards' charge of "gross negligence", from which the court ruled that the Commission members and employee were not immune (did not mean they were -- just that the charge could be heard).

In August 2010, a Cole County jury ruled in Edward's favor and awarded Edwards $6,284,759.00 against the individual board members. In January 2012, on appeal to the Missouri Court of Appeals, the the lower court's decision and award was affirmed. Unknown if appealed to Supreme Court of Missouri.

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TARR ET AL v. EDWARDS was a 1999 Missouri civil court case. Incomplete details. In May 1999, three females filed a civil lawsuit against the Jehovah's Witness Chiropractor, Gary F. Edwards, alleging inappropriate sexual behavior. Sandra Tarr, a former employee, claimed that Edwards sexually harassed her by touching her, hugging her, kissing her, and rubbing up against her body.  Leslie Tuttle and Michelle Brown, both patients of Gary Edwards, alleged that objectionable behavior occurred while they were being treated at Edward's Independence, Missouri chiropractic office. Edwards denied the allegations. Outcome of this civil lawsuit is unknown. Unknown if criminal charges were pursued.

 

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