In 1956, Sister Ephrem of the Most Precious Blood, experienced apparitions of the Virgin Mary, during which, Sister Ephrem claimed, she was told: “I am Our Lady of America.” The Archbishop supported a program of devotions to Our Lady of America. In 1965 Pope Paul VI approved creation of a cloister, which lasted until at least 1977, when surviving members left and formed a new congregation, dedicated to devotions to Our Lady of America. Sister Ephrem directed it until her death in 2000. Sister Therese succeeded Sister Ephrem, who willed to Sister Theres all her property, mostly purchased with donated money. Sister Therese worked with McCarthy, a lawyer, and Langsenkamp until 2007, when Langsenkamp and McCarthy established the Langsenkamp Family Apostolate in the chapel in which the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared to Sister Ephrem. They sued Sister Therese, claiming theft of physical and intellectual property, fraud, and defamation. She counterclaimed, alleging theft of a statue and of the website and defamation by calling her a “fake nun.” The district court denied McCarthy’s motion that the court take notice of the Holy See’s rulings on Sister Therese’s status in the Church. The Seventh Circuit reversed, with “a reminder” that courts may not decide (or to allow juries to decide) religious questions. Determination of the ownership of the property is likely possible without resolving religious questions. View "McCarthy v. Fuller" on Justia Law
Justia U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries
Defendant, a non-profit company that blocks unwanted bulk e-mail, maintains a list of internet protocol addresses of spam distributors, which internet service providers use to block e-mails originating from those addresses. Plaintiff, a now-defunct internet marketing company, sued for tortious interference with contractual relations, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, and defamation. The district court granted default judgment and awarded $11,715,000 in damages. When defendant changed strategy, the Seventh Circuit affirmed default judgment but vacated the award. On remand, the court awarded a total of $27,002. The Seventh Circuit vacated and remanded with instructions to enter judgment in the nominal amount of three dollars. The district court properly struck most of plaintiff's evidence, either as an appropriate discovery sanction or for proper procedural reasons. The evidence did not support an award of $27,000 in actual damages because plaintiff based its damage calculations on lost revenues rather than lost profits.