Court Resurrects Church|Members’ Tiff Over Memo

     (CN) – The Indiana Supreme Court reinstated a woman’s defamation claim against a fellow churchgoer who allegedly called her a “one-woman wrecking crew” with an “evil spirit.”

     Rosalyn West sued fellow churchgoer Betty Wadlington, who allegedly distributed a memo asking for West’s removal from a pair of church committees.
     The memo called West a “one-woman wrecking crew” with an “evil spirit” who was “anything but Christ-like.”
     West sued Wadlington for defamation and invasion of privacy. She also included fellow churchgoer Jeanette Larkins and the city of Indianapolis, because Larkins, a police officer, had forwarded the email to 89 of her co-workers.
     The trial court said it lacked jurisdiction to rule on Wadlington’s religious defense, but the state high court reversed.
     “[A] court with authority to hear claims concerning defamation and invasion of privacy disputes is not ousted of subject matter jurisdiction merely because the defendant pleads a religious defense,” Justice Robert Rucker wrote, remanding the case to the trial court.

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