Ministry seeks removal from wrongful death suit

Coleman wrongful death suit

Representing the family of Sheri Coleman, attorneys Rebekah Williams and Jack Carey exit the Monroe County Courthouse in Waterloo after a hearing was held on the wrongful death suit against Chris Coleman and Joyce Meyer Ministries.
(Teryn Schaefer photo)

Attorneys representing Joyce Meyer Ministries and the family of Sheri Coleman appeared before a judge in Monroe County court last Wednesday afternoon, as the ministry made arguments in support of a request to be removed from the wrongful death lawsuit filed last year in connection with its employment of convicted triple-murderer Chris Coleman.

In May, televangelist Joyce Meyer and her son, Dan Meyer, were removed from the case as direct defendants in the lawsuit, although the cause of action against the ministry itself — Chris Coleman’s former employer — remains in effect.

The family of Sheri, Garett and Gavin Coleman filed suit against Chris Coleman and the ministry on May 4, 2011. Just one day later — on the two-year anniversary of their murders in Columbia — a jury found Chris Coleman guilty of strangling his wife and two sons. He is serving three concurrent life sentences in a Wisconsin prison.

Ministry attorneys argued before Judge Richard Aguirre last Wednesday that it took the necessary steps of an employer in this matter, and is not responsible for the acts committed by its former security chief.

Police testified at last year’s murder trial that death threats were sent by Chris Coleman to his own work e-mail account, and that a mistress, Tara Lintz, had even accompanied him on business trips.

The family of Sheri Coleman claims in its filing that the ministry should have warned Sheri that her husband was having an affair, which police testified was a motive in the killings.

“It was the duty” of the ministry, attorneys for Sheri’s family told the judge, to warn the family of these threats that were drawn to the ministry’s attention by Chris Coleman himself.

Judge Aguirre withheld a decision on the ministry’s motion until a later date.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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