PETERSON V. SORLIEN, Supreme Court of MN, 1980. 299 N.W.2d 123 by JohnMValentine


PETERSON V. SORLIEN, Supreme Court of MN, 1980. 299 N.W.2d 123 History: Action by Plaintiff Peterson for false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress from an effort by her parents and other people named as defendants, to make her disaffiliate w/an organization called the Way Ministry; County Dist. Court directed verdict in favor of Defendant Sorlien, Plaintiff’s former minister; jury returned a verdict exonerating parents and other remaining defendants of false imprisonment; jury found Defendants Morgel and Mills liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress assessing them $1 compensatory damages and $4000/$6000 punitive damages Facts: Peterson (21) got involved in Way Ministry cult and grades slipped, sold car, etc.; parents picked her up and took her to Morgel’s house for deprogramming; Peterson was there for 16 days, 13 of which were clearly voluntary, as she went to the park for picnics, etc. Issue(s): Whether Peterson’s behavior in the first three days she was at Morgel’s house constituted consent. Holding: Dist. Court. affirmed Analysis: Susan’s consent b/c a function of time b/c w/cult she was a different person and prior to treatment may have been impaired; after treatment, was said to have returned to her “old self” B/c cult’s change people’s personalities, limitations on child’s mobility don’t constitute meaningful deprivations of personal liberty

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