Sweat Lodge Civil Lawsuits Settle for over $3 Million
James Arthur Ray, the “Spiritual Warrior” who was convicted of three counts negligent homicide last month has settled the civil lawsuit brought by the families of the deceased and others who were injured by Ray. Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman died during a 2009 sweat lodge ceremony led by Ray. The surviving family members sued Ray for negligence, fraud, and wrongful death. Ray is currently serving a two-year sentence for these deaths.
The parties agreed on a settlement that totaled more than three million dollars. This amount will be paid by Ray’s insurance company, not Ray himself. Some of the plaintiffs in the case were motivated to settle the case because they have endured financial burdens since the deaths of their loved ones. At least one plaintiff lost their family’s primary breadwinner in Ray’s sweat lodge.
A wrongful death claim may be brought by the survivors of someone who has died due to another person’s negligence. The deceased families filed this lawsuit to request the damages that their loved ones would have been able to collect from Ray for negligence if they had survived the incident. Arizona Revised Statutes §§ 12-611 – 12-613 govern wrongful death lawsuits.
Ray’s legal troubles are not over. There are two more civil suits pending against him. One is a wrongful death suit that was brought after a woman committed suicide after attending one of Ray’s events. The other suit was brought by the Angel Valley Retreat Center owners.