Jehovah's Witness suit referred

Daryl Slade

Calgary Herald

Thursday, October 21, 2004

A judge has recommended case management for the wrongful death lawsuit filed by a father who claims the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is responsible for his teenage daughter Bethany's death.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Barbara Romaine said during a hearing Wednesday that she will refer her recommendation to have a case management judge appointed to shepherd the case through the Court of Queens Bench, to Associate Chief Justice Allen Sulatycky for consideration.

Romaine then set aside three days starting Feb. 22 to hear an application by Allan Ludkiewicz , lawyer for the defendants, to strike the statement of claim filed by Lawrence Hughes in August.

Hughes filed the claim against the Society, Edmonton's Cross Cancer Institute, two doctors and several Jehovah's Witnesses, saying the Jehovah's Witness church's policy against blood transfusions prompted the death of the 17-year-old girl from acute myeloid leukemia on Sept. 5, 2002.

Vaughn Marshall, Hughes' lawyer, requested case management and said outside court this was the most sensible way to manage this litigation.

"Given all of the court activity during the guardianship proceedings about Bethany in 2002, where 26 separate court applications were made in six months, this lawsuit cries out for case management" said Marshal, " ... and the sooner the better".

The lawyer also said he was confident the application to quash the lawsuit will be defeated.

Bethany Hughes, 17, died less than six months after she underwent a series of blood transfusions against her wishes after Alberta Child Services took custody of her when she was diagnosed with leukemia.

(c) The Calgary Herald 2004