Steve Arterburn filed suit against Frank Minirth in the Superior Court of the State of California in Orange County. The case is listed as follows: 95 CV 00330, Stephen Arterburn v. Frank B. Minirth. In his action against Minirth, Arterburn was seeking damages in excess of $550,000. The file on the case indicates that Arterburns complaint was for defamation, "slander per se," and that "a jury trial [is] demanded."
Arterburn alleged that Minirth said the following words to at least Dr. Paul D. Meier and Nancy R. Brown (Meiers sister): "He [Arterburn] is a murderer and adulterer." It is stated in Arterburns complaint that Minirths statements exposed Arterburn to "hatred, contempt, ridicule, and obloquy" and impugned Arterburns integrity both personally and professionally. Arterburn contended that Minirths statements were slanderous and jeopardized Arterburns financial livelihood, which included book revenues and speaking engagements. Arterburn reported that he had received during the prior year $500,000 in book revenues and over $50,000 for speaking engagements. Thus, Arterburn was seeking over $550,000 in damages.
The following quotations are from Minirths response to Arterburn in the case file:
Minirth contended that his own statement was "qualifiedly privileged" because Minirth made the statement to one or two of his business associates (Dr. Paul Meier and possibly Meiers sister, Nancy Brown). Minirth said, "Dr. Meier understood the statement was not intended to mean that [Arterburn] currently or recently engaged in adultery or murder/abortion and it was merely repetition of what [Arterburn] had already told a nationwide radio audience" (pp. 7,8).
While this suit was dismissed, we do not know if a settlement was made prior to dismissal. This lawsuit raised questions in our minds about whether or not Matthew 18 was implemented. We wrote to both Arterburn and Minirth asking this question. Arterburn replied that "The principles of Matthew 18 were carried out by me and my co-workers in an effort to help Frank see he had made a mistake and needed to repent." Arterburn indicated that Minirth was unwilling to respond to himself and other Christians, thus causing him to engage in the lawsuit. Arterburn also indicated that he never intended to get money from the suit or to drag Minirth into court. Thus far Minirth has not responded. If he does, we will publish his response in a future newsletter.
PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries, 4137 Primavera Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93110
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