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Sidney Daily News - Way attorneys seek dismissal of lawsuit
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Sidney Daily News - July 27th 2000
Way attorneys seek dismissal of lawsuit

Attorneys representing The Way International have filed a motion seeking dismissal of a lawsuit filed by two former followers in Shelby County Common Pleas Court.

The Way, 5555 Wierwille Road, New Knoxville, claims attorneys for Mrs. Allen and Mr. Allen have failed to provide requested documents, missed court deadlines, and have given improper answers to questions posed by attorneys.

The Allens filed the complaint against The Way and leaders of the religious organization in April, seeking damages for breach of contract and claiming a variety of allegations. The couple were followers and employees of The Way for about 20 years before both left in 1999.

Humiliation, stress

The Allens claim they suffered humiliation, embarrassment and stress at the hands of The Way officials, and that officials attempted to "coerce" Mrs. Allen into engaging in sexual activity with the Rev. L. Craig Martindale, former president, between 1996 and 1999.

Martindale is named a defendant in the lawsuit along with the Rev. Rosalie F. Rivenbark. Martindale resigned as The Way president recently and was replaced by Rivenbark. Martindale claims he and Mrs. Allen had a consensual affair.

In the motion filed last week, defense attorneys Louis Columbo of Cleveland and Michael Boller of Sidney claim attorneys representing the Allens have not produced any documents they have requested nor answered some questions properly. Documents sought include a contract between the Allens and The Way when they were employed there, and information related to any psychological treatment the Allens may have received. The defense described this information as "core documents" in the case.

Trial ‘by ambush'

"Defendants simply cannot prepare their defense without the requested documents, a fact plaintiff obviously knows," the motion states. "Their conduct is plainly designed to frustrate preparation by defendants and to try the case by ambush."

A month ago, Judge John D. Schmitt ordered the plaintiffs to provide documents and to answer questions fully. The only document filed by plaintiffs' attorneys was a list of witnesses they said would be called at trial. The list does not contain addresses of those witnesses nor the area of expertise of two "expert witnesses" and therefore is not adequate, the defense claims.

The plaintiffs also have failed to meet court deadlines and failed to file for time extensions to meet deadlines. "Plaintiffs' flagrant violations of court orders and willful disregard for the procedural rules that govern this matter can be characterized as nothing other than bad faith," the motion states.

Schmitt also ordered the plaintiffs to identify 50 "John Doe" defendants to be added to the case, but they have not done so.

Failed to answer

Defense attorneys also claim the Allens have failed to answer questions on the topics of alleged physical or psychological abuse, people who have contributed funds to the lawsuit, people with knowledge of the Allens' claims, information about WayDale, an Internet site operated by the Allens, and identities of people who have posted messages on WayDale or corresponded with the Allens by e-mail about the case.

The site, found online at www.waydale.com, offers "insider" information about The Way operations that the Allens say is provided by current and former members. Information and comments about the lawsuit are posted there.

The Allens are seeking $2 million on a claim of breach of contract and additional damages on other claims. They also claim The Way officials defrauded them of money, conspired against them and damaged their reputations. They claimed damages totaling $56 million.

The Allens also claim the "mark and avoid" designation ordered by The Way leaders on former members defamed them. The Way denies this charge.

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 28 May 2006 )