10/2/12 – TG: Circuit court rejects Alamo’s request to revisit civil case

Texarkana Gazette
October 2, 2012
By: Lynn LaRowe

Circuit court rejects Alamo’s request to revisit civil case

A federal appeals court rejected Tony Alamo’s request to take a second look at a civil case that ended with a multi-million dollar judgment for two former ministry members.

The court issued a new opinion and judgment Monday essentially the same as one it issued in August in Spencer Ondrisek’s and Seth Calagna’s suit against their former pastor.

The 8th Circuit affirmed a jury’s findings that Alamo is guilty of battery, conspiracy and outrage, but reduced the total judgment awarded to the men from $66 million to $30 million.

“When awarding compensatory damages, the jury considered Ondrisek’s and Calagna’s past and future pain, suffering and mental anguish.

The jury properly weighed the evidence, finding that Alamo continually verbally and physically abused Ondrisek and Calagna.

The abuse included: repeated ritualistic and savage beatings; forced unpaid labor; denial of food; denial of formal education; complete isolation from the outside world; and threats of damnation if they tried to escape,” the opinion released Monday states.

After the court first ruled in August, Alamo’s lawyers filed a motion to have the entire court weigh in on the case, instead of the three-judge panel that penned the opinion affirming the jury’s findings.

Alamo’s lawyers complained that the trial court should have instructed the jury that Arkansas law permits corporal punishment, and the battery complained about by the men might have just been an overstepping of what the law allows.

In the opinion released Monday, the court clearly analyzes the arguments by Alamo’s lawyer about the lack of an instruction on corporal punishment.

The new opinion states if it was an error to refuse the defense’s request for the instruction, it didn’t make any difference in the outcome.

The jury found Alamo guilty of conspiracy and outrage as well as battery, and did not assess damages separately for each, the opinion states.

The court issued an order dismissing Alamo’s petition for a hearing on the case before the entire court.

In: 2012, Breaking News

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