Lawyer Ordered to Pay Liberty Counsel for Bad Faith Litigation Against Jews for Jesus
November 6, 2009
WEST PALM BEACH, FL, (christiansunite.com) -- A Florida circuit court judge, for the fourth time, dismissed a frivolous defamation complaint filed against Jews for Jesus by Edith Rapp. After dismissing the complaint, the court ruled that Rapp's attorney must pay personally for the time and cost expended by Liberty Counsel in defending Jews for Jesus against the complaint.
The case has been repeatedly dismissed because of unprofessional, vindictive, and vitriolic submissions by Rapp's attorney against the Jews for Jesus organization and against Christianity. After multiple warnings, including an order by an appeals court, to remove offensive allegations from the complaint were ignored, the judge stated that "it is unjust that [Jews for Jesus] should be put in this position in the first place but it is doubly unjust that it should have to pay for it." The court ruled that fees and costs for the complaint will be charged to Rapp's attorney, Barry Silver. The court concluded that Silver's vengeful actions against Jews for Jesus were "a deliberate violation of not only prior trial court orders but of the law of the case" and concluded that "this is bad faith litigation conduct on the part of Plaintiff's attorney.'
This case involves a lawsuit over a newsletter report that a stepmother of Bruce Rapp, a Jews for Jesus missionary, had "repeated the sinner's prayer." The newsletter also requested prayer for "new Jewish believer Edie and salvation for her husband, Marty." After Bruce's father (Marty) died, Edith Rapp (Edie) sued Jews for Jesus for printing the information about her. The lawsuit read like a polemic against Christianity. The case was dismissed several times at the trial court.
Because of Silver's bad faith conduct, the court gave Ms. Rapp one final chance to try to state a claim against Jews for Jesus. It remains to be seen whether the court's stern warning and stiff penalty are sufficient to dissuade Silver from his crusade against Jews for Jesus.
Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, defended Jews for Jesus and said, "Court pleadings are not the venue to wage war against those you dislike or with whom you disagree. Attorney Barry Silver has abused the legal process by using it to wage war on Christianity. The court rightly sanctioned the attorney by requiring him to pay attorney's fees and costs to Liberty Counsel and dismissing this frivolous complaint against Jews for Jesus."