Westboro Baptist Church ordered to pay US$11 million to family of fallen US soldier

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Westboro Baptist Church has lost a lawsuit and has been ordered by United States District Court: District of Maryland to pay US$11 million to the family of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, a fallen soldier, who was killed while serving in Iraq.

The lawsuit was filed by Snyder’s father, Albert, after the church held a protest across the street from the cemetery where funeral services were being held. The church was sued for, “defamation of character, invasion of privacy–intrusion upon seclusion, invasion of privacy–publicity given to private life, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy,” according to court documents obtained by Wikinews.

Wikinews has also learned that the church filed a motion for a mistrial on October 29, but was ultimately denied.

The jury ordered that $2.9 million be awarded to the Snyder family for compensatory damages and $8 million in punitive damages, but reports say that the church cannot afford that amount, with their assets worth under $1 million. The defendants plan to appeal the judgment and have expressed confidence they can get it overturned.

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