Child-bride suit set for 2009

A multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by a former child bride against polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs may finally go to trial in 2009.

A judge in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court signed a proposed scheduling order on Friday in Elissa Wall‘s personal injury lawsuit against Jeffs, the Fundamentalist LDS Church and its real estate holdings arm, the United Effort Plan Trust. The order lays out a timetable for the lawsuit, setting a potential trial date for March 2009.

“The estimated length of trial is four days,” said the order.

Attorneys for the court-controlled UEP Trust have filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed against them. They are asking the judge to rule on their motion before the court process commences.

The order includes a cap of 20 depositions, each taking no more than seven hours, but an unlimited number of document requests.

Wall is suing Jeffs, the FLDS Church and the UEP Trust stemming from her marriage at age 14 to her 19-year-old cousin. She was the prosecution’s star witness in the criminal case against Jeffs. The 52-year-old polygamist leader is now serving two 5-to-life sentences in the Utah State Prison for rape as an accomplice, for performing the marriage. During Jeffs’ trial, his defense attorneys noted that Wall filed her lawsuit against Jeffs before going to police to report a rape.

Wall’s attorneys recently sought to expand her lawsuit to include claims of negligence on behalf of the UEP Trust, alleging that under Jeffs’ leadership there was no separation between the FLDS Church and the trust.

The UEP Trust controls homes, businesses and property in the FLDS enclaves of Hildale, Utah; Colorado City, Ariz.; and Bountiful, British Columbia in Canada. It came under court control in 2005, after allegations that Jeffs and other top FLDS leaders mismanaged it. Its assets were frozen, and a court-appointed fiduciary was placed in charge.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday December 22, 2007.
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