Damages against Church partially reduced

A jury's $14.2 million award in a wrongful-death verdict against the Christian Science Church and five of its members has been lowered by $3.7 million. Minnesota Judge Sean Rice said on March 17, 1994, that the award was excessive when compared with awards in similar cases in the state. The judge cut actual damages from $5.2 million to $1.5 million, but left intact a $9 million punitive-damage award against The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. Victor Westberg, Manager of Committees on Publication for the Church, in Boston, said that the Church plans to appeal the verdicts. "The court's decision," Mr. Westberg stated, "affects not only our Church but all churches and comes at a time when precious religious rights are under attack in our society and in our world."

April 25, 1994

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