On Wednesday, the Western Arkansas federal district court rejected Gospel for Asia’s request for a stay of trial proceedings while an appeals court considers GFA’s motion to dismiss the case. This will allow the case to proceed to discovery and trial.
Read the judge’s order at the link below. Some best hits from the order:
The only foreseeable “harm” of discovery in this forum is that it might reveal that Defendants have, in fact, committed fraud against Plaintiffs and the purported class. This is not the kind of harm a stay is intended to prevent.
Because this Court has no control over appellate dockets or calendars, the risk of harm a stay poses to Plaintiffs and putative class members is substantial.
The public interest weighs heavily against staying this matter. It is certainly the case that the Federal Arbitration Act’s liberal preference for arbitration would favor a stay if Defendants were more likely to succeed on the merits of their appeal. However, the gravity of Plaintiffs’ allegations—that between 2003 and 2014, Defendants fraudulently solicited $700,000,000 in donations from putative class members, and that Defendants continue to fraudulently solicit such donations—and the publicity generated by those allegations give rise to a strong public interest in resolving the merits of this dispute.
In another development, another donor couple have requested to join the suit against GFA.
Motion to Intervene as Plaintiffs
Plaintiffs Matthew Dickson and Jennifer Dickson and proposed Plaintiffs-Intervenors Garland D. Murphy, III, M.D. and Phyllis A. Murphy (residents of this jurisdiction) respectfully request the Court to grant the Murphys permission to intervene as Plaintiffs and proposed class representatives, and to file the proposed amended complaint attached hereto as Exhibit A.
The Murphys donated to GFA but were never employees of GFA.
Motion to Intervene as Plaintiffs
Order on Motion to Stay
Attorneys for Matthew and Jennifer Dickson filed responses (see below) to Gospel for Asia’s motions to dismiss and compel arbitration in the RICO lawsuit against leaders of GFA. According to the filing, the Dickson’s provided ample detail and a clear and compelling case against GFA. The response concluded:
Under a straightforward application of the pleading standards, the Court should find the Dicksons allege facts sufficient to support each of their claims. Their Complaint leaves no doubt as to the nature of their allegations, and it is nearly impossible to imagine that Defendants need even a shred of additional detail to prepare their defenses. Accepting the allegations as true, and drawing all reasonable inferences in the Dicksons’ favor, there is no question that all Defendants are liable for the misconduct the Dicksons allege under each of their four claims. The Court should therefore deny the motions to dismiss, and this case should proceed to discovery forthwith.
In response to GFA’s demand that the Dicksons enter arbitration, the plaintiffs said GFA’s demand was based on an invalid and unenforceable employment agreement. The plaintiffs concluded:
Defendants have entirely failed to carry their burden of proving the existence of a valid arbitration agreement. The arbitration language in the Statement lacks consideration and is helplessly vague. Moreover, the Statement is palpably irrelevant to the dispute the Dicksons have brought before the Court for redress: the deliberate misleading of tens of thousands of similiarly situated donors resulting in Defendants’ enrichment. Rather than allowing Defendants to evade responsibility for their conduct based on the happenstance of the Dicksons’ former and terminated status as “members” of GFA, the Court—following well-settled precedent—should deny Defendants’ motion in its entirety.
Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Claims
Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Compel Arbitration