Kolbek et al v. Twenty First Century Holiness Tabernacle Church, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Honorable Susan O. Hickey on December 24, 2013. (cnn)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
DESIREE KOLBEK, et al.
CASE NO. 10-CV-4124
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY HOLINESS
TABERNACLE CHURCH, INC., et al.
JENNIFER KOLBEK, et al.
Before the Court are Motions for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of Defendants Tony
Alamo (ECF No. 522), Sharon Alamo (ECF No. 499), Jeanne Estates Apartments, Inc., (ECF
No. 493) and Twenty First Century Holiness Tabernacle Church, Inc. (ECF No. 515). Plaintiffs
have filed a response. (ECF No. 582). Defendants have filed replies. (ECF Nos. 588, 589, 593,
& 594). The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.
Plaintiffs Desiree Kolbek, Summer Hagan, Jamie Rodriguez, Pebbles Rodriguez, Jeanne
Orlando, Amy Eddy, and Nikki Farr are all former members of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries
(“TACM”). TACM is an organization of churches and businesses that are operated by individual
members of TACM and Defendant Tony Alamo.
Plaintiffs allege that TACM operates as a
“communal organization.” Members of TACM work in businesses affiliated with the ministry.
Earnings from the businesses are deposited into an account shared by the church and businesses,
and rather than receiving a salary, members’ living expenses are paid with money from this joint
account. According to Plaintiffs, Tony Alamo exercises some degree of control over everything
in TACM, from the church, to the businesses, to the lives of the church members.
Plaintiffs allege that, when they were members of TACM, they were forced to become
“spiritual wives” of Tony Alamo. Plaintiffs were “married” to Tony Alamo and moved into his
home when they were minors. Jeanne Orlando was fifteen; Amy Eddy was fifteen; Pebbles
Rodriguez was twelve; Desiree Kolbek was eight; and Summer Hagan was eleven. While
Plaintiff Nikki Farr was never “married” to Alamo, she states that she was moved into his home
at the age of fifteen and was “groomed” to be a spiritual wife.
As the “spiritual wives” of Tony Alamo, Plaintiffs state that Alamo subjected them to
frequent sexual abuse and physical abuse as minors. Plaintiffs allege that this abuse took place
in Alamo’s home in Fouke, Arkansas; in other facilities on TACM property in Arkansas and
California; in buses operated by TACM; in unknown hotels in Arizona and California; and at a
federal correctional facility in Texarkana, Texas. In addition to suffering physical and sexual
abuse, Plaintiffs allege that they were falsely imprisoned on TACM property and that their
privacy was constantly invaded while they were “married” to Alamo.
Each of the Plaintiffs left or “escaped” the church on separate occasions between 1999
and 2010. 1 In July of 2009, Tony Alamo was convicted of sexual abuse crimes against five of
the Plaintiffs in this case. United States v. Hoffman, 626 F.3d 993 (8th Cir. 2010). In addition to
a sentence of 175 years imprisonment, Alamo was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of
$2.5 million. Plaintiffs filed this civil action on August 27, 2010. In its original configuration,
Nikki Far left in June 1999 at the age of fifteen. Amy Eddy and Jeanne Orlando left in June 2006 at the
ages of twenty-two and twenty-seven, respectively. Jamie Rodriguez left in August 2006 at the age of seventeen.
Kolbek left in November 2006 at the age of fifteen. Summer Hagan left in August 2007 at the age of sixteen.
Pebbles Rodriguez left the church in June 2010 at the age of twenty-five.
the suit included claims against numerous TACM church entities, individual church members,
and TACM businesses. Plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed most of these parties as the result
of a settlement agreement. The only Defendants that remain are Tony Alamo, Sharon Alamo,
Jeanne Estates Apartments, Inc., (“Jeanne Estates”) and Twenty First Century Holiness
Tabernacle Church, Inc. (“Twenty First Century”).
Defendant Sharon Alamo is another “spiritual wife” of Tony Alamo. While they are not
legally married, Sharon Alamo admits that she has held herself out to be Tony Alamo’s wife
since August 31, 1989. Plaintiffs allege Sharon Alamo was a “sister wife” to them and that they
shared a home with her during the time they were being abused. Defendant Jeanne Estates is an
apartment complex based in Fort Smith, Arkansas that, according to Plaintiffs, is “used to
generate money [to support] Tony [Alamo’s] house and TACM operations.” Jeanne Estates is
and/or was owned and operated by members of TACM. Defendant Twenty First Century is a
corporate church entity with its principal place of business in Dyer, Arkansas.
While Tony Alamo was the perpetrator of the sexual and physical abuse, Plaintiffs claim
that the other Defendants should also be held liable because they and their agents encouraged
and facilitated the abuse or, at the very least, did nothing to prevent the abuse when they had the
duty and ability to do so. Plaintiffs’ claims arising from the sexual and physical abuse are:
negligence, negligent entrustment, negligent hiring, outrage, battery, mandatory reporter liability,
transporter liability under 18 U.S.C. § 2255, and trafficking liability under 18 U.S.C. § 1595.2 In
The following claims have been asserted against Sharon Alamo, Jeanne Estates, and Twenty First Century:
negligence, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, defamation, outrage, transporter liability, and trafficking
liability. Plaintiffs’ negligent entrustment claim is only asserted against Sharon Alamo. Plaintiffs’ negligent hiring
and mandatory reporter claims are only asserted against Jeanne Estates and Twenty First Century. The following
claims have been asserted against Tony Alamo: battery, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, defamation,
outrage, transporter liability, and trafficking liability.
addition to their claims based on physical and sexual abuse, Plaintiffs allege that all of the
Defendants are liable for invasion of privacy, defamation, and false imprisonment.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The standard of review for summary judgment is well established. When a party moves
for summary judgment, “[t]he court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Krenik v. County of LeSueur, 47 F.3d 953 (8th Cir. 1995).
This is a “threshold inquiry of…whether there is a need for trial—whether, in other words, there
are genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may
reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
250 (1986); see also Agristor Leasing v. Farrow, 826 F.2d 732 (8th Cir. 1987). A fact is material
only when its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute is
genuine if the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury to return a verdict for either
party. Id. at 252.
The Court must view the evidence and the inferences reasonably drawn from the
evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Enterprise Bank v. Magna Bank, 92
F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no
genuine issue of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id. The
nonmoving party must then demonstrate the existence of specific facts in the record that create a
genuine issue for trial. Krenik, 47 F.3d at 957. A party opposing a properly supported motion for
summary judgment may not rest upon mere allegations or denials, but must set forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256.
Statute of Limitations
Defendants argue that the majority of Plaintiffs’ claims are time-barred by the applicable
statutes of limitation. In response, Plaintiffs argue that the limitations period on each claim has
been tolled by Ark. Code. Ann. § 16-15-116, § 16-56-130, and/or equitable tolling. The Court
will address each of these provisions as they relate to Plaintiffs’ state claims and federal claims.
A. Plaintiffs’ state claims
Plaintiffs have asserted claims against various Defendants for negligence, negligent
entrustment, negligent hiring, outrage, battery, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy,
defamation, and mandatory reporter liability. Each of these claims has a statute of limitation
ranging from one to three years. 3 Plaintiffs filed this suit on August 27, 2010. 4 The majority of
Plaintiffs’ claims stem from Defendants’ actions alleged to have occurred while Plaintiffs were
still a part of Tony Alamo’s church. 5 Because the majority of Plaintiffs left the church between
1999 and 2006, there is no dispute that most of their state claims were filed outside of the one to
three year period provided by the relevant statutes of limitation. 6 The primary dispute lies in
whether the statutory period was tolled, thereby rendering Plaintiffs’ claims timely.
1. Tolling pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-116
The relevant portion of Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-116 provides that, if a person is “under
twenty-one (21) years of age or insane at the time of the accrual of the cause of action, that
Negligence, negligent entrustment, negligent hiring, outrage, and invasion of privacy claims carry a 3-year statute
of limitations. Battery, false imprisonment, and defamation carry a 1-year statute of limitations. Mandatory reporter
claims must be brought within three years of a plaintiff’s eighteenth birthday. See Ark. Code. Ann. §§ 16-56-104
Pebbles Rodriguez was not added as a Plaintiff until December 21, 2010. (ECF No. 14).
Plaintiffs’ claims for defamation and invasion of privacy are alleged to have arisen more recently.
Summer Hagan did not leave the church until August 2007. Pebbles Rodriguez did not leave the church until June
person may bring the action within three (3) years next after attaining full age[.]” (emphasis
Because the age of twenty-one is specifically referenced in the statute, Plaintiffs
interpret “full age” as meaning twenty-one. Accordingly, Plaintiffs maintain that the statutes of
limitation on their claims did not expire until their twenty-fourth birthdays. The parties all
acknowledge that Desiree Kolbek, Summer Hagan, and Jamie Rodriguez are the only Plaintiffs
who filed claims prior to turning twenty-four. 7 Therefore, even if Plaintiffs’ definition of “full
age” is applied, these three Plaintiffs are the only individuals who have claims that might be
protected under the tolling provisions of § 16-56-116.
Defendants vigorously dispute Plaintiffs’ interpretation of “full age” under the tolling
provision. Defendants argue that Arkansas law clearly states that a person is of “full age” when
they reach the age of eighteen. If this definition of “full age” is applied, the statutes of limitation
would have expired when Plaintiffs reached the age of twenty-one rather than twenty-four.
Defendants’ definition of “full age” is derived from Ark. Code Ann. § 9-25-101 which provides
in relevant part:
(a) All persons of the age of eighteen (18) years shall be considered to
have reached the age of majority and be of full age for all purposes. Until
the age of eighteen (18) years is attained, they shall be considered
(b) Any law of the State of Arkansas that presently requires a person to
be of a minimum age of twenty-one (21) years to enjoy any privilege or
right or to do any act or to participate in any event, election, or other
activity shall be deemed to require that person to be of a minimum age of
eighteen (18) years.
The Court agrees with Defendants’ application of § 9-25-101 in determining the
definition of “full age.” Courts applying Arkansas law have consistently interpreted § 16-56-116
as tolling a statute of limitation until a plaintiff reaches the “full age” of eighteen, not twenty7
Desiree Kolbek was born in May of 1991. Summer Hagan was born in August of 1991. Jamie Rodriguez was
born in September of 1988.
one. Miller v. Subiaco Acad., 386 F. Supp. 2d 1025, 1029 (W.D. Ark. 2005) (“The question of
‘full age’ is determined by Ark. Code Ann. § 9–25–101….It is apparent that the statute of
limitations is tolled when any person entitled to bring an action, at the time of the accrual of the
cause of action, is under eighteen (18) years of age. Inasmuch as it is apparent that plaintiff
became eighteen, or reached ‘full age’ in 1980, any disability of age was removed many years
ago.”); Phillips v. Sugrue, 800 F. Supp. 789, 791 (E.D. Ark. 1992) (employing § 9-25-101 to
define “full age” when applying § 16-56-116 to plaintiff’s claim); Follette v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 41 F.3d 1234, 1236 (8th Cir. 1994) (“The Arkansas savings statute provides that any minor
entitled to bring an action may do so within three years after coming of age.”). See also HOWARD
W. BRILL, ARKANSAS LAW OF DAMAGES, p. 217 (5th ed. 2004) (Noting that § 16-56-116 “gives
a party who was a minor at the time of the accrual of the cause of action three years from the
time of reaching majority in which to commence an action.”). Accordingly, Desiree Kolbek,
Summer Hagan, and Jamie Rodriguez attained full age when they turned eighteen, and their state
claims were tolled until they reached the age of twenty-one. Desiree Kolbek did not reach the
age of twenty-one until May 2012—close to two years after her claims were filed. Similarly,
Summer Hagan did not reach the age of twenty-one until August 2012—approximately two
years after her claims were filed. Accordingly, these Plaintiffs’ state claims were timely filed
pursuant to the tolling provisions § 16-56-116. Jamie Rodriguez, on the other hand, reached the
age of twenty-one in September 2009. Her claims were not filed until August 2010. Jamie
Rodriguez’s state claims are therefore not timely under the tolling provisions of § 16-56-116. In
the following section, the Court will consider whether Jamie Rodriguez, Amy Eddy, Jeannette
Orlando, Pebbles Rodriguez, and Nicole Farr’s claims are timely under a separate tolling
2. Tolling pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-130
In addition to arguing that certain Plaintiffs’ claims were tolled pursuant to § 16-56-116,
Plaintiffs also maintain that their claims were tolled under Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-130, a
separate statute that directly addresses civil claims based on sexual abuse. Section 16-56-130
reads as follows:
(a) Notwithstanding any other statute of limitations or any other
provision of law that can be construed to reduce the statutory period set
forth in this section, any civil action based on sexual abuse which
occurred when the injured person was a minor but is not discovered until
after the injured person reaches the age of majority shall be brought
within three (3) years from the time of discovery of the sexual abuse by
the injured party.
(1) A claim based on an assertion of more than one (1) act of
sexual abuse is not limited to the injured party's first discovery
of the relationship between any one (1) of those acts and the
injury or condition, but may be based on the injured party's
discovery of the effect of the series of acts.
(2) It is not necessary for the injured party to establish which
act in a series of acts of childhood sexual abuse caused the
injury or condition that is the subject of the lawsuit.
(c) For the purposes of this section:
(1) “Childhood sexual abuse” means sexual abuse which
occurred when the injured person was a minor;
(2) “Minor” means a person of less than eighteen (18) years of
(3) “Time of discovery” means when the injured party
discovers the effect of the injury or condition attributable to
the childhood sexual abuse.
Plaintiffs maintain that all of their claims are timely because they were filed within three
years from the time they “discover[ed] the effect of the injury or condition attributable to the
childhood sexual abuse,” as provided for under § 16-56-130. Defendants attack the application
of § 16-56-130 on several different grounds. First, Defendants Twenty First Century and Jeanne
Estates argue that the statute only tolls the statutory period on claims made against individuals
who actually committed the sexual abuse. Accordingly, because they are “non-perpetrators,”
these Defendants argue that the statute does not toll the statutory period on claims made against
them. Second, all of the Defendants maintain that the Plaintiffs “discovered” the effects of their
injuries more than three years before filing their claims. Third, Defendants maintain that the
statute does not toll many of Plaintiffs’ claims—defamation, for example—because these claims
are not “based on sexual abuse.”
No court in Arkansas has applied § 16-56-130 or interpreted its statutory language.
Accordingly, in addressing the parties’ arguments, the Court will predict, as best it can, how the
Arkansas Supreme Court would decide these issues. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Johnson,
719 F.3d 1010, 1015 (8th Cir. 2013).
a. Applying § 16-56-130 to non-perpetrators
Section § 16-56-130 applies to civil actions “based on” childhood sexual abuse.
Defendants maintain that a claim made against a non-perpetrator is not a claim “based on”
childhood sexual abuse.
Section § 16-56-130 makes no explicit distinction between perpetrators and nonperpetrators of sexual abuse. The statute very broadly encompasses claims “based on” childhood
sexual abuse and places virtually no limitations on what types of claims may qualify.
“Childhood sexual abuse” is defined within the statute as “sexual abuse which occurred when the
injured person was a minor[.]” The statute does not single out specific criminal statutes that
would define the parameters of “childhood sexual abuse” or state that a criminal conviction is
necessary for the statute to apply. This lack of specificity is telling. Other courts considering
statutes with similar language have relied heavily on this lack of limiting language in concluding
that claims are tolled as to both perpetrators and non-perpetrators.
In Werre v. David, 275 Mont. 376, 913 P.2d 625 (Mont. 1996), the Supreme Court of
Montana interpreted a tolling statute very similar to Arkansas’s which tolls actions that are
“based on intentional conduct brought by a person…for injury suffered as a result of childhood
sexual abuse.” Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-216. In that case, the Montana Supreme Court reasoned
that, because the plaintiff’s negligence claims against a non-perpetrator “would not exist absent
the intentional sexual abuse” by the perpetrator, the sexual abuse was the “starting point or
foundation” for the negligence claims. Werre, 275 Mont. at 387. Thus, it could be concluded
that the plaintiff’s claims against a non-perpetrator were “based on” the sexual abuse and were
eligible for tolling. Id. The same reasoning was applied to a very similar statute in Almonte v.
New York Med. Coll., 851 F. Supp. 34 (D. Conn. 1994). The Connecticut statute tolls claims for
personal injury “caused by” sexual abuse. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-577d. The Court noted
that the statute “does not expressly limit its application to offenders; rather…the unambiguous
language of the statute indicates that the statutory focus is on actions flowing from a particular
type of harm, and not parties.” Almonte, 851 F. Supp. at 37. The Court concluded that the
proper focus was on the harm that was “caused by” the sexual abuse and not whether a defendant
was primarily liable or secondarily liable for the abuse. Id. See also C.J.C. v. Corp. of Catholic
Bishop of Yakima, 138 Wash. 2d 699, 712, 985 P.2d 262, 269 (Wash. 1999).
Courts who have found that claims against non-perpetrators are excluded from sexual
abuse tolling provisions have largely done so because of limiting language that does not exist in
Arkansas’s tolling provision. In Bernie v. Blue Cloud Abbey, 2012 S.D. 64, 821 N.W.2d 224,
228 (S.D. 2012), the Supreme Court of South Dakota held that claims “based on” childhood
sexual abuse were not tolled as to non-perpetrators because the statute’s definition of sexual
abuse was limited to “intentional” conduct and specific violations of South Dakota’s criminal
code. Similarly, the Eighth Circuit held that a Missouri tolling provision did not apply to nonperpetrators because the statute defined “childhood sexual abuse” as “any act committed by the
defendant against the plaintiff…and which act would have been a violation of [certain
enumerated criminal acts].” Walker v. Barrett, 650 F.3d 1198, 1209 (8th Cir. 2011) (citing Mo.
Ann. Stat. § 537.046). See also Sandoval v. Archdiocese of Denver, 8 P.3d 598, 602 (Colo. Ct.
App. 2000) (“[W]e agree with defendants that the references to the criminal code to define
‘sexual assault’ and ‘sexual offense’…are highly significant and indicate that the General
Assembly intended that the act upon which claims must be based is that of a perpetrator and not
the negligence of a non-complicitous third party.”); Kelly v. Marcantonio, 678 A.2d 873, 876
(R.I. 1996) (“The statute's definition of ‘childhood sexual abuse’ dictates that only violators of
chapter 37 of title 11, actual perpetrators, can be defendants under § 9–1–51….”).
Applying the reasoning of these cases, along with Arkansas’s well-settled rules of
statutory interpretation, the Court finds that § 16-56-130 tolls claims against non-perpetrators of
sexual abuse. “The first rule in considering the meaning and effect of a statute is to construe it
just as it reads, giving the words their ordinary and usually accepted meaning in common
language.” Rylwell, L.L.C. v. Arkansas Dev. Fin. Auth., 372 Ark. 32, 36, 269 S.W.3d 797, 800
(Ark. 2007). Section 16-56-130 states that claims “based on” childhood sexual abuse are eligible
for tolling. “Base” is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “that on which a thing stands or
rests…; foundation…a starting point or point of departure.”
DICTIONARY, 172 (2d ed. 1999). When applying “base” as a verb, the Oxford dictionary defines
it as “hav[ing] the foundation for something” or “us[ing] as a point from which something can
definition/base?region=us (last visited December 3, 2013). Given these definitions, the Court
concludes that the plain meaning of “based on” is a starting point or foundation. Accordingly, an
action is “based on” childhood sexual abuse when the sexual abuse is the starting point or
foundation of the claim.
Applying the plain meaning of “based on,” the Court finds no reason to limit the
application of § 16-56-130 to claims against perpetrators. To illustrate, Plaintiffs’ negligence
claims against certain non-perpetrators would not exist absent the intentional sexual abuse
committed by Defendant Tony Alamo.
Therefore, the sexual abuse by Alamo is the
“foundation” or “starting point” of Plaintiffs’ negligence claims against non-perpetrators. 8
As demonstrated by the authority cited above, the Court’s reading of the statute is further
bolstered by the legislature’s decision to define “childhood sexual abuse” very broadly without
referring to the criminal code or intentional conduct by a defendant. Simply put, the Court finds
nothing in the statute to indicate that the legislature intended to qualify or limit a plaintiff’s
ability to pursue claims against non-perpetrators.
b. Claims “based on” sexual abuse
Defendants argue that, even if claims against non-perpetrators may be tolled by § 16-56130, Plaintiffs’ state claims are not “based on” childhood sexual abuse, and, therefore, are not
eligible for tolling. The Court will separately address each of Plaintiffs’ state claims. 9
The Court will discuss in a later section precisely which state claims, in addition to negligence, can be classified as
“based on” childhood sexual abuse.
Plaintiff Nicole Farr is excluded from this analysis. Nicole Farr was never “spiritually married” to Alamo. Rather,
she alleges that she was “’groomed’ to become one of his ‘spiritual wives’” and lived in his house for some period
of time. (ECF No. 337, Par. 51). She states that she was subject to “threats” and “abuse,” but she admits that she
was never sexually abused. (ECF No. 585, Exh 18, p. 107). Accordingly, none of her state claims can be classified
as being “based on” childhood sexual abuse, and, therefore, they are not tolled by § 16-56-130.
Plaintiffs have asserted claims against Defendants for negligence, negligent entrustment,
and negligent hiring. Plaintiffs allege, among other things, that Defendants were negligent for
“failing to protect Plaintiffs from sexual abuse and physical beatings”; “allowing Tony Alamo to
use and/or benefit from the use of their property when they knew or had reason to know of
Alamo’s dangerous condition or proclivities”; “failing to require that [certain church members]
monitor Alamo’s activities once they received notice of the ‘spiritual’ ceremonies whereby
Alamo wed child brides….”; and/or “creating an environment by which [certain church
members] allowed Alamo unsupervised access to Plaintiffs to engage in inappropriate physical
Upon review of these allegations, it is clear that Tony Alamo’s sexual abuse of Plaintiffs
is the “starting point” or “foundation” of Plaintiffs’ negligence, negligent entrustment, and
negligent hiring claims. Accordingly, these claims are “based on” childhood sexual abuse as
required by § 16-56-130 and may be tolled. C.J.C. v. Corp. of Catholic Bishop of Yakima, 138
Wash. 2d 699, 709, 985 P.2d 262, 267 (Wash. 1999) (“[U]nder the facts presented here,
intentional sexual abuse is the predicate conduct upon which all claims are based, including the
negligence claims. The alleged sexual abuse is essentially an element of the plaintiffs' negligence
claims.”); Werre v. David, 275 Mont. 376, 387, 913 P.2d 625, 632 (Mont. 1996) (“…Joann's
negligence claim against Margaret would not exist absent the intentional sexual abuse by
Kenneth; stated differently, Kenneth's intentional sexual abuse of Joann is the starting point or
foundation for Joann's negligence claim against Margaret.”); Almonte v. New York Med. Coll.,
851 F. Supp. 34, 35 (D. Conn. 1994) (tolling the statute of limitations and allowing a negligence
claim against an employer based on sexual abuse perpetrated by an employee).
To the extent that Plaintiffs’ negligence claims are based upon physical abuse, they are
not tolled by § 16-56-130.
Plaintiffs, with the exception of Nicole Farr, allege that “the conduct of Defendants,
including but not limited to, physical beatings, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and other acts” caused
Plaintiffs’ “emotional distress to…a degree so severe that no reasonable person could be
expected to endure.” (ECF No. 337, p. 33). Because sexual abuse is a part of the foundation of
Plaintiffs’ outrage claims, this portion of the claim is eligible for tolling under § 16-56-130. See
Guertin v. McAvoy, 042004, 2005 WL 1009649 (Mass. Super. Mar. 7, 2005). To the extent that
Plaintiffs’ outrage claims are based upon physical abuse, they are not tolled by § 16-56-130.
Plaintiffs assert a claim for battery against Defendant Tony Alamo based upon his acts of
sexual abuse committed upon them. Clearly, this battery claim is based upon sexual abuse.
Furthermore, it is a claim made solely against the perpetrator of the abuse. Accordingly, the
claim is eligible for tolling under § 16-56-130.
iv. False Imprisonment
Plaintiffs assert a claim of false imprisonment against all Defendants. Plaintiffs allege
that the Defendants “violated Plaintiffs’ personal liberties by detaining them [on various church
properties]…through…intimidation, violence, threats of violence, [and] physical force.” (ECF
No. 337, p. 27). Plaintiffs’ false imprisonment allegations against Defendant Tony Alamo are
Plaintiffs make the additional allegation that Tony Alamo falsely
imprisoned them by “detaining, beating, and sexually abusing Plaintiffs.” (ECF No. 337, p. 34).
Plaintiffs’ false imprisonment claims against Defendants is not founded upon Alamo’s
acts of sexual abuse. Rather, the claim focuses on the acts of intimidation and physical violence
directly perpetrated by these Defendants. Accordingly, the claim is not based on sexual abuse
and is not tolled by § 16-56-130.
Plaintiffs’ false imprisonment claim against Defendant Tony Alamo is somewhat related
to Alamo’s acts of sexual abuse in that the abuse was allegedly used to unlawfully restrict
Plaintiffs’ movements. However, the gravamen of a false imprisonment claim is an unlawful
detention and restriction.
Ltd. Stores, Inc. v. Wilson-Robinson, 317 Ark. 80, 83, 876 S.W.2d
248, 250 (Ark. 1994). Stated another way, a plaintiff brings a false imprisonment claim to seek
damages for harm stemming from the restriction of their liberty and not necessarily for the harm
stemming from the incidental abuse. The fact that sexual abuse was one of many tools used to
effectuate the “imprisonment” does not warrant classifying the claim as “based on” sexual abuse.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ false imprisonment claim against Tony Alamo is not tolled by § 16-56130.
v. Invasion of Privacy and Defamation
Plaintiffs allege that Defendants “unreasonably invaded Plaintiffs’ right to privacy” by
intruding upon Plaintiffs’ legitimate expectation of seclusion, publicly disclosing Plaintiffs’
private facts, and publicizing information that placed Plaintiffs in a false light. Specifically,
Plaintiffs allege that Defendants placed them in a false light by stating that Plaintiffs were Tony
Alamo’s “willing child brides.” Plaintiffs also bring a defamation claim based on similar
Much like the false imprisonment claims, these invasion of privacy and defamation
claims are not “based on” childhood sexual abuse. Plaintiffs are seeking damages for harm done
by the personal intrusion into their personal lives and for harm done to their reputations.
Accordingly, childhood sexual abuse is not the foundation for the claims, and § 16-56-130 is,
vi. Mandatory Reporter Liability
Plaintiffs assert claims for mandatory reporter liability against certain church defendants,
church business defendants, and church members. Plaintiffs allege that certain Defendants were
required to report suspicions about Plaintiffs’ “maltreatment” under Ark. Code. Ann § 12-18-402
and failed to do. Child maltreatment is defined under the statute as “abuse, sexual abuse,
neglect, sexual exploitation, or abandonment.” Id. Pursuant to § 12-18-206, a defendant may be
held “civilly liable for damages proximately caused by” the failure to report maltreatment.
To the extent that Plaintiffs’ mandatory reporter claim is based on a failure to report
sexual abuse, as opposed to physical abuse, it is clearly aligned with the requirements of § 16-56130. The sexual abuse is the foundation for liability under the mandatory reporter statute.
Accordingly, the claim is eligible for tolling under § 16-56-130.
c. Discovery of the effects of the abuse
Claims based on childhood sexual abuse are timely under § 16-56-130 if they are filed
within three years from the time of discovery of the sexual abuse by the injured party. The
statute defines “time of discovery” as the time “when the injured party discovers the effect of the
injury or condition attributable to the childhood sexual abuse.” Id. Defendants maintain that
Plaintiffs’ claims based on sexual abuse are barred because they discovered the effects of their
injuries more than three years before filing suit. More specifically, Defendants argue that
Plaintiffs discovered their injuries by the time they each left Tony Alamo Christian Ministries,
which, for most Plaintiffs, was between 1999 and 2006. 10
“When the running of the statute of limitations is raised as a defense, the defendant has
the burden of affirmatively pleading this defense.” State v. Diamond Lakes Oil Co., 347 Ark.
618, 623, 66 S.W.3d 613, 616 (Ark. 2002). Once a defendant has shown that on the face of the
complaint an action is barred by the applicable limitations period, “the burden shifts to the
plaintiff to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the statute of limitations was in fact
tolled.” Id. “[R]easonable doubts about when a statute of limitations began to run ought to be
resolved in favor of allowing a claim to proceed.” Highland Indus. Park, Inc. v. BEI Def. Sys.
Co., 357 F.3d 794, 797 (8th Cir. 2004) (citing Dunlap v. McCarty, 284 Ark. 5, 7, 678 S.W.2d
361, 363 (Ark. 1984)).
Defendant Jeanne Estates notes that Plaintiffs “testified, with varying descriptions, to the
effect that it was ‘hell’ to live at Alamo’s house and she knew she had to leave.” Defendant
Twenty-First Century similarly argues that “Plaintiffs allege they knew of…Alamo’s conduct
and its harmful nature at the time it occurred and this knowledge continued undiminished
throughout the applicable statutory limitations period.” Plaintiffs respond that, because of their
sheltered lives and the “brainwashing” within Alamo’s church, they did not really begin to
understand how wrong their relationships with Alamo were until after they left his house. They
argue that they did not begin to understand the relationship between the sexual abuse and their
injuries until 2009 when Alamo was convicted of sexual offenses and/or they began to see a
The Court has already determined that Summer Hagan and Desiree Kolbek’s state claims are timely under § 1656-116. Accordingly, tolling under § 16-56-130 , the time of discovery of their injuries, and the time of their
departure from the church is not at issue. Pebbles Rodriguez did not leave the church until June 2010. She was
added as a Plaintiff in December 2010 and, therefore, brought her claims within three years of her departure.
therapist in 2009. This would place their claims, filed in 2010, well within the three-year
statutory period that begins to run upon discovery.
In support of their discovery contentions, Defendants cite to Plaintiffs’ deposition
testimony and psychological examination reports. Jeannette Orlando testified that she decided to
leave Alamo’s house because of “a very big buildup of everything that had happened” to her.
(ECF No. 496, Exh 9, p. 68-69). She specifically mentioned mental abuse and physical abuse as
reasons for departing and stated that she was “tired of being abused” and “tired of seeing the
other girls being abused[.]” Id. Amy Eddy testified that she started thinking about leaving
Alamo’s house “from the very first time [she] walked in and…saw him beating two three-yearold children.” Jamie Rodriguez testified that she told a fellow church member at some point that
she “really needed” to leave the church. (ECF No. 496, Exh. 5, p. 75). Plaintiffs’ psychological
examination reports, much like their deposition excerpts, place a heavy emphasis on physical
abuse as a reason for their departures. (ECF No. 496, Exh. 25-31).
The testimony above does not clearly indicate that these Plaintiffs had discovered the
effects of their sexual abuse injuries by the time they left Alamo’s house. Plaintiffs’ testimony
and psychological examination reports show that there were multiple reasons for their departures
from Alamo’s house, including physical abuse, mental abuse, lack of freedom, etc. In other
words, life within Alamo’s church was intolerable for a great number of reasons. Given these
contributing factors, the Court cannot hold as a matter of law that Plaintiffs’ departures
conclusively demonstrate that they had “discovered” the effects of the sexual abuse injuries by
the time of departure. The discovery question is further complicated by Plaintiffs’ allegations
that they were “brainwashed” by Alamo and raised to believe that their sexual relationship with
him was ordained by God. Given these unique conditions, a reasonable jury could find that it
was possible for Plaintiffs to have been fed up with their living conditions in Alamo’s house
while not fully understanding the extent of the sexual abuse or its effects.
The jury may very well find that the Plaintiffs had discovered the effects of their injuries
by the time they departed Alamo’s house, but such a finding is not a foregone conclusion.
Because the discovery of Plaintiffs’ injuries is a disputed factual issue, summary judgment must
be denied as to Defendants’ § 16-56-130 statute of limitations arguments.
3. Equitable Tolling
In the alternative, Plaintiffs argue very briefly that the statutes of limitation on all of their
state claims qualify for equitable tolling.
Arkansas allows for the equitable tolling of the
statutory period in cases where an act of fraud has concealed a cause of action. Chalmers v.
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., 326 Ark. 895, 902, 935 S.W.2d 258, 261 (Ark. 1996). In order
for equitable tolling to apply, “‘[t]here must be some positive act of fraud, something so furtively
planned and secretly executed as to keep the plaintiff's cause of action concealed or perpetrated
in a way that it conceals itself.’” Id. (quoting First Pyramid Life Ins. Co. v. Stoltz, 311 Ark. 313,
843 S.W.2d 842 (Ark. 1992)). “’[M]ere ignorance on the part of the plaintiff of his rights” and
“mere silence of one who is under no obligation to speak” does not amount to fraudulent
concealment. “[E]ven if fraudulent concealment is found, the [plaintiff] must additionally prove
that the fraud would not have been detected by the exercise of reasonable diligence.” Barre v.
Hoffman, 2009 Ark. 373, 326 S.W.3d 415, 418 (Ark. 2009) (citing Delanno, Inc. v. Peace, 366
Ark. 542, 547, 237 S.W.3d 81, 85 (Ark. 2006)).
Plaintiffs offer this sole point in support of their fraudulent concealment argument:
“[Plaintiffs] were taught to believe that being selected as a child bride was an honor and that the
abuse they suffered was a normal part of li[fe].
As such, the wrong they suffered was
fraudulently concealed from them[.]” (ECF No. 583, p. 77). This allegation is not sufficient to
create a genuine issue of fact as to the existence of fraudulent concealment. Plaintiffs have
offered no evidence or argument that Tony Alamo’s teachings were an act of fraud designed to
conceal Plaintiffs’ causes of action. While these teachings may have caused Plaintiffs to be
ignorant of their rights and the extent of their injuries, they do not necessarily amount to
fraudulent concealment. Furthermore, Plaintiffs have not even attempted to offer argument on
the issue of whether an exercise of reasonable diligence on behalf of Plaintiffs would have
revealed the alleged fraud by Alamo. Moreover, Plaintiffs do not offer any specifics on how
Defendants other than Alamo actually committed fraud or disseminated the teachings that
Plaintiffs allege are fraudulent. For these reasons, Plaintiffs’ equitable tolling theory does not
present a question of fact that must go to the jury.
4. Summary of state claims that have been tolled
Desiree Kolbek and Summer Hagan’s state claims were tolled until their twenty-first
birthdays pursuant to § 16-56-116. Because their state claims were brought prior to their twentyfirst birthdays, their state claims are timely.
As to Jeannette Orlando, Jamie Rodriguez, and Pebbles Rodriguez 11 a fact question exists
as to whether the following state claims have been tolled pursuant to § 16-56-130: negligence,
negligent entrustment, negligent hiring, outrage, battery, and mandatory reporter liability. These
claims may only be tolled to the extent that they are based on sexual abuse. To the extent that
these claims are based on physical abuse, they are not tolled by § 16-56-130 and are time barred.
The Court notes that Pebbles Rodriguez did not leave the church until June 2010. She joined this case in
December 2010. Accordingly, to the extent that her negligence, outrage, and battery claims are based on actions
that were occurring up to the time of her departure, her claims would be timely under the applicable statutes of
limitations without the need for tolling under § 16-56-130. However, the Court is not aware of any actions taken by
Defendants since Alamo’s incarceration in 2008 that could form the basis of Pebbles Rodriguez’s outrage,
negligence, or battery claims.
As to Jamie Rodriguez, Jeannette Orlando, and Amy Eddy, the following state claims are
time barred and do not qualify for tolling:
false imprisonment and invasion of privacy
(intrusion). These Plaintiffs’ false imprisonment claims accrued before they left the church in
2006. Accordingly, their claims filed in 2010 were outside of the one-year statute of limitations
period for false imprisonment claims. As to invasion of privacy (intrusion), Plaintiffs allege that
their privacy was intruded upon because, while they lived in Tony’s home, their belongings were
subject to search at any time and that their conversations with their parents were monitored.
(ECF No. 584, Par 48-49). Plaintiffs have offered no evidence showing that Plaintiffs’ privacy
was intruded upon after they left Alamo’s house. Accordingly, their invasion of privacy claims
based on intrusion were filed outside the three-year statute of limitations period.
As to Nicole Farr, none of her state claims are tolled under § 16-56-130 because she was
never sexually abused. Farr left Alamo’s house in 1999 and did not bring claims arising from her
time there until 2010. Accordingly, her invasion of privacy (intrusion), negligence, negligent
entrustment, negligent hiring, battery, outrage, false imprisonment and mandatory reporter
liability claims are time barred.
For clarification purposes, the Court notes that there are a few state claims that are timely
without applying a tolling statute. Pebbles Rodriguez did not leave Alamo’s house until June
2010. She joined this case in December 2010. To the extent that her false imprisonment,
invasion of privacy (intrusion, false light, and public disclosure of private facts), and defamation
claims are based on actions that were occurring up to the time of her departure, those claims
would be timely filed. As to Jamie Rodriguez, Nicole Farr, Jeannette Orlando, and Amy Eddy,
Plaintiffs maintain that some of their defamation claims and invasion of privacy (false light and
public disclosure) claims arise from actions occurring in 2011 and 2012. Accordingly, the Court
will examine these claims on their merits in a later section.
B. Plaintiffs’ Federal Claims
Plaintiffs have asserted two federal claims against Defendants. First, Plaintiffs have
alleged trafficking liability pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1595. While Defendants vigorously dispute
the merits of the application of § 1595, there appears to be no dispute that Plaintiffs’ § 1595
claims fall within the statute’s ten-year statute of limitation. Second, Plaintiffs have alleged
transporter liability pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2255. Section 2255 provides a civil remedy for
personal injuries suffered by minors who were victims of sexual abuse as defined by certain
criminal statutes. At the time Plaintiffs’ claims were filed in 2010, Section 2255 provided:
(b) Statute of limitations. Any action commenced under this section shall
be barred unless the complaint is filed within six years after the right of
action first accrues or in the case of a person under a legal disability, not
later than three years after the disability.
The statute has since been amended to extend the statutory period from six years to ten years. 12
Because there is no indication that the amended statutory period was meant to be applied
retroactively, and because applying the statute retroactively would impermissibly revive a timebarred action, the Court will apply the six-year statute of limitation that was in effect at the time
Defendants’ alleged actions took place. Landgraf v. USI Film Prod., 511 U.S. 244, 280, 114
S.Ct. 1483 (1994) (stating that a “statute would have a genuinely retroactive effect ... where it
would impair rights a party possessed when he acted, increase his liability for past conduct, or
impose new duties with respect to transactions already completed”); Hughes Aircraft Co. v.
United States ex rel. Schumer, 520 U.S. 939, 950, 117 S.Ct. 1871 (1997) (“[E]xtending a statute
The amendment took effect after the parties submitted argument on the present motion, and none of the parties
have attempted to supplement their briefs to address the amendment’s effect.
of limitations after the pre-existing period of limitations has expired impermissibly revives a
moribund cause of action.”).
Kolbek and Hagan’s claims are clearly timely under § 2255’s statute of limitations
because they were filed within three years of their eighteenth birthdays. Assuming arguendo
that Jamie Rodriguez suffered injuries under the statute in 2006, when she was nearly eighteen,
her claims filed in 2010 would be timely under the six-year statute of limitations. The § 2255
claims of the remaining Plaintiffs are time barred. Assuming arguendo that Orlando, Farr, Eddy,
and Pebbles Rodriguez suffered injuries covered by § 2255 when they were nearly eighteen, their
claims would need to be filed by the age of twenty-four in order to be timely. Each of these
Plaintiffs was over twenty-four when their claims were filed.
Plaintiffs attempt to salvage their time-barred § 2255 claims by summarily stating that,
like their state claims, their § 2255 claims are tolled by Arkansas’ childhood sexual abuse tolling
provision, Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-130. This is incorrect. When a limitations period is set by a
federal statute, state tolling provisions do not apply. Victor Foods, Inc. v. Crossroads Econ. Dev.
of St. Charles Cnty., Inc., 977 F.2d 1224, 1227 (8th Cir. 1992) (“[T]he Missouri savings statute is
irrelevant because state tolling and savings provisions do not apply when Congress has provided
a federal statute of limitations for a federal claim.”); Brown v. Berhndt, 1:12-CV-00024, 2013
WL 1704877 at *6 (E.D. Ark. Apr. 19, 2013) (“[S]ince there is a federal statute of limitations,
Arkansas state law tolling and savings statutes are inapplicable.”). 13 Accordingly, Summer
While Plaintiffs have not argued the point, it is worth noting that there is no indication that the “discovery” rule
applies to § 2255. The statute clearly provides that a claim must be filed within six years of the injury accruing. It
contains no language inferring that a claim does not accrue until the effect of the injury is discovered by a plaintiff.
See Singleton v. Clash, 12 CIV. 8465, 2013 WL 3285096 at *6 (S.D.N.Y. July 1, 2013) (“Congress's failure to
include language providing for the discovery rule counsels against implying it into the statute….Congress
appreciated that it was dealing with injuries to minors and could have adopted language similar to that in state sexual
abuse statutes which expressly provide for the discovery rule.”).
Hagan, Desiree Kolbek, and Jamie Rodriguez are the only Plaintiffs who have § 2255 claims that
are potentially viable.
Joint Venture Liability
Before discussing the merits of Plaintiffs’ remaining claims, it is necessary for the Court
to discuss Plaintiffs’ joint-venture allegations. Plaintiffs’ Fifth Amended Complaint alleges that
all of the Defendants are directly liable for their own acts of negligence, false imprisonment,
invasion of privacy, defamation, outrage, and mandatory reporter liability.
Plaintiffs argue that Defendants Jeanne Estates Apartments, Inc. (“Jeanne Estates”) and Twenty
First Century Tabernacle Church, Inc. (“Twenty First Century”) are vicariously liable through
the acts of their agents and/or their participation in a joint-venture. 14 The Court will examine the
actions of these entities’ agents in later sections addressing the merits of each claim. The Court
will now address whether Twenty First Century and Jeanne Estates are a part of a joint venture.
If individuals are a part of a joint venture, they “may be held jointly and severally liable
for one another's wrongful acts.” Nat'l Bank of Commerce (of El Dorado) v. HCA Health Servs.
of Midwest, Inc., 304 Ark. 55, 59, 800 S.W.2d 694, 697 (Ark. 1990). In order for a business
relationship to be classified as a joint venture, the relationship “must have the elements of a
partnership.” Id. More specifically, the following elements must exist: “(1) two or more
persons combine in a joint business enterprise for their mutual benefit; (2) right of mutual control
or management of the venture; and (3) an expressed or implied understanding that they are to
share in the profits or losses of the venture.” Burge v. Pack, 301 Ark. 534, 536, 785 S.W.2d 207,
208 (Ark. 1990).
Plaintiffs Fifth Amended Complaint also alleges that Defendants are vicariously liable through their participation
in a “joint enterprise.” Joint enterprise liability is distinct from joint venture liability, See Yant v. Woods, 353 Ark.
786, 789 (Ark. 2003), and Plaintiffs have offered no argument at the summary judgment stage for why joint
enterprise liability might be applicable in this case. Accordingly, the Court will assume that Plaintiffs have
abandoned this theory.
According to Plaintiffs, Twenty First Century and Jeanne Estates are part of a joint
venture known as Tony Alamo Christian Ministries (“TACM”). While not making this clear in
their complaint, Plaintiffs also appear to argue in their summary judgment pleadings that Sharon
Alamo is a participant in the joint venture of TACM. Accordingly, Plaintiffs maintain that each
of these Defendants is liable for the wrongful acts of the others.
As evidence of a joint venture, Plaintiffs have alleged that the followers of TACM
“operate as a communal or communist organization” and that “all earnings of the followers and
the church businesses are deposited into” a single bank account, known as the “Bookkeeper”
account, from which all church expenses, church business expenses, and church member living
expenses are paid. (ECF No. 583, p. 13). In other words, Jeanne Estates and Twenty First
Century operate solely for the benefit of TACM and its membership. Accordingly, Jeanne
Estates’ profits and any monies collected by Twenty First Century are deposited into the
Bookkeeper account. Jeanne Estates, Twenty First Century, and individual church members,
such as Sharon Alamo, have their expenses paid out of the Bookkeeper account. Plaintiffs allege
that Tony Alamo is the person in control of the Bookkeeper account. (ECF No. 583, p.14).
Plaintiffs’ joint venture theory is not on solid ground as to the existence of a “joint
business enterprise” and the sharing of profits and losses between Jeanne Estates and Twenty
First Century. Jeanne Estates is an apartment complex that, according to Plaintiffs, is “used to
generate money [to support] Tony [Alamo’s] house and TACM operations.” (ECF No. 337, Par.
55). Plaintiffs characterize Twenty First Century as a “church defendant” rather than a “church
business.” Plaintiffs do not clearly allege that Twenty First Century can be classified as a profit
seeking business enterprise. The only information the Court has been given that shows Twenty
First Century’s status as a profit generator is Plaintiffs’ allegation that Twenty First Century
received charitable donations that were fraudulently converted into profits for TACM. While the
Court recognizes that Twenty First Century may directly benefit from the profits generated by
Jeanne Estates, and may even contribute money it collects to the Bookkeeper account, it is
difficult to conceptualize how a church and business can form a “joint business enterprise” that
provides for profit sharing when one of the entities is not necessarily a profit-seeking enterprise.
The Court is not prepared to hold that the interdependency between these two organizations is
sufficient to establish a “joint business enterprise.”
Even if the Court assumes that Plaintiffs have offered sufficient evidence of a profit
sharing, joint business enterprise, Plaintiffs’ joint venture theory also breaks down when
considering the element of “mutual control.” Plaintiffs have offered no evidence showing that
agents or members of Twenty First Century and Jeanne Estates exercised mutual control over
each other’s activities. Rather, Plaintiffs state that Tony Alamo “made all business decisions for
everyone” and that he is “the controlling partner” over all of the TACM churches and business.
(ECF No. 583, p 15). A single individual exercising unilateral control over multiple entities is
not akin to “two or more persons” engaging in a business enterprise and each of those people
having mutual control over the enterprise. Accordingly, the Court can say that, as a matter of
law, Plaintiffs’ allegations about the control of Jeanne Estates and Twenty First Century do not
show the existence of a joint venture. Admittedly, the configuration of TACM’s businesses and
properties are exceedingly difficult to classify. As Plaintiffs point out, this was likely by design.
While the Court has no desire to dignify an organization’s attempts to avoid liability by hiding
the ball and creating mass confusion, we cannot force the application of joint venture liability
where it simply does not fit. Accordingly, Jeanne Estates and Twenty First Century cannot be
held liable for each other’s acts under joint venture theory.
The following sections will examine whether Defendants are directly liable to Plaintiffs
for their actions and/or vicariously liable through the actions of their respective agents.
Plaintiffs allege trafficking liability against Defendants pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1595. In
2003, § 1595 was enacted to provide a civil cause of action for an individual who was a victim of
sex trafficking as a minor. More specifically, § 1595 provides a civil remedy for a victim of
violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1591 which provides:
(a) Whoever knowingly—
(1) in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, or within the special
maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, recruits, entices,
harbors, transports, provides, obtains, or maintains by any means a person;
(2) benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value, from
participation in a venture which has engaged in an act described in violation
of paragraph (1), knowing, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that means of
force, threats of force, fraud, coercion described in subsection (e)(2), or any
combination of such means will be used to cause the person to engage in a
commercial sex act, or that the person has not attained the age of 18 years
and will be caused to engage in a commercial sex act, shall be punished as
provided in subsection (b).
It is undisputed that certain Plaintiffs were sexually abused as minors while on out-ofstate trips with Tony Alamo. 15 Plaintiffs allege that this abuse amounted to a “commercial sex
act” because Plaintiffs’ living expenses were paid for with money provided by the ministry’s
businesses. They allege that Defendants violated § 1591 because they financially benefitted
from the commercial sex acts by having their living and operating expenses paid for by the
ministry’s businesses. Defendants dispute the application of § 1591 and § 1595 for many
While Plaintiffs’ Complaint generally alleges § 1595 claims on behalf of all Plaintiffs, the only Plaintiffs
referenced in Plaintiffs’ summary judgment pleadings are Jeanne Orlando and Amy Eddy. (ECF No. 584, Par. 5155).
reasons, one being that the sexual abuse and the financial arrangements in this case do not
amount to “commercial sex acts.”
Section 1591 defines “commercial sex act” as “any sex act, on account of which anything
of value is given to or received by any person.” “[T]he use of the phrase ‘on account of which’
suggests that there…needs to be a causal relationship between the sex act and an exchange of an
item of value.” United States v. Marcus, 487 F. Supp. 2d 289, 306-07 (E.D.N.Y. 2007) rev’d on
other grounds, 538 F.3d 97 (2d Cir. 2008). Defendants rightly point out that Plaintiffs have not
offered any evidence showing that Plaintiffs’ living expenses were paid as some sort of quid pro
quo for the sex acts that occurred with Alamo. 16 Nor have Plaintiffs offered evidence to show
that Defendants were compensated “on account of” the sex acts. In sum, Plaintiffs offer no
evidence of a causal relationship between the sex acts and the payment of expenses. The fact
that sexual abuse was committed by the ministry’s leader and that members of the ministry had
their expenses paid for through ministry funds is simply not sufficient to establish a violation of
18 U.S.C. § 1591. Accordingly, the civil remedy provision of 18 U.S.C. § 1595 is not available
to Plaintiffs, and summary judgment on these claims is appropriate.
Plaintiffs allege transporter liability against Defendants pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2255.
Section 2255 provides a civil remedy for an individual who, while a minor, was a victim of
certain criminal violations. One violation covered under § 2255 is transporting a minor across
state lines with the intent that the minor engage in criminal sexual activity. See 18 U.S.C.
Plaintiffs cite Ditullio v. Boehm, 662 F.3d 1091, 1095 (9th Cir. 2011) in support of their contention that Plaintiffs
engaged in commercial sex acts. In Ditullio, the Plaintiff testified that the Defendant “gave her crack cocaine ‘on a
daily basis so that [the Defendant] could have his way with [her] at any given time’ and that she lived with him in
order to obtain drugs on a regular basis.” Unlike the plaintiff in Ditullio, Plaintiffs have not offered any evidence or
testimony at the summary judgment stage to establish that they deliberately accepted anything of value (i.e. payment
of living expenses) in exchange for having sex with Alamo.
§2423(a). To recover under § 2255, the victim must have actually suffered personal injury as a
result of the criminal violation.
The criminal statutes alleged to have been violated by
Defendants, in addition to 18 U.S.C. §2423, are 18 U.S.C. § 1591 17, 18 U.S.C. § 2241(c), 18
U.S.C. § 2242, and 18 U.S.C. §2243. 18
The Court has already determined that § 2255 claims are time barred as to Plaintiffs
Jeannette Orlando, Amy Eddy, Nicole Farr, and Pebbles Rodriguez. The only Plaintiffs who
could conceivably have timely claims under § 2255 are Desiree Kolbek, Summer Hagan, and
Jamie Rodriguez. However, while Plaintiffs’ Complaint generally alleges § 2255 claims on
behalf of all Plaintiffs, Plaintiffs have only offered factual support for the § 2255 claims of Amy
Eddy and Jeanne Orlando. (ECF No. 583, p. 54-55; ECF No. 584, Par. 52-56). Defendants
argue that Plaintiffs’ failure to set forth facts substantiating Kolbek, Hagan, and Jamie
Rodriguez’s § 2255 claims requires summary judgment in Defendants’ favor. The Court agrees.
In support of their § 2255 claims, Plaintiffs explicitly set out evidence of criminal violations by
Defendants against Plaintiffs Orlando and Eddy but remain conspicuously silent about all of the
Based on the extremely general allegations in Plaintiffs’ Fifth Amended
Complaint and the continued lack of specificity in their summary judgment responses, the Court
cannot say with confidence that Kolbek, Hagan, and Jamie Rodriguez are even attempting to
bring claims under § 2255. In any case, the evidence submitted is not sufficient to create a
As discussed previously, § 1591 requires the commission of a “commercial sex act.” The Court has already
determined that Plaintiffs have failed to show that commercial sex acts were committed. Accordingly, civil liability
for § 1591 violations pursuant to § 2255 is not available.
There is some dispute about whether a criminal conviction is required in order to pursue a civil claim under 18
U.S.C. § 2255. The weight of authority indicates that no conviction is required and that a defendant must only be
proven to have violated the criminal statute by a preponderance of the evidence. See Doe v. Liberatore, 478
F.Supp.2d 742, 755 (M.D.Pa.2007); M.B. v. Camp Stewart for Boys, Inc., SA:12-CV-01133, 2013 WL 2297112 at
*4 (W.D. Tex. May 24, 2013); Smith v. Husband, 376 F.Supp.2d 603, 607 (E.D. Va. 2005); Cisneros v. Aragon, 485
F.3d 1226, 1232 (10th Cir. 2007). However, because Plaintiffs’ § 2255 claims are being dismissed on other
grounds, the Court does not need to address this issue.
genuine issue of material fact. Accordingly, summary judgment in favor of Defendants is
appropriate as to Plaintiffs’ § 2255 claims.
Plaintiffs allege that Defendants have published defamatory statements that have caused
them injury. As evidence in support of their defamation claims, Plaintiffs have submitted three
documents that make statements about certain Plaintiffs. They also refer the Court to statements
made on the TACM website.
The first document is a newsletter entitled “Tony Alamo is Innocent.” (ECF No. 585,
Exh. F). The document states that it is a “press release” from TACM and has a copyright date of
September 2009. The “press release” contains letters, supposedly written by Desiree Kolbek’s
mother, Jennifer Kolbek, stating that Desiree Kolbek is a “pathological liar,” that she lied under
oath, and that she has been a danger to families she has lived with. The press release also
contains a letter from a church member describing Desiree Kolbek as “lascivious.” In addition,
the press release contains a letter calling Jeanne Orlando a “compulsive, pathological liar.”
The second document submitted is a newsletter entitled “Jennifer Exposes Desiree.”
(ECF No. 585, Exh. G). It has a copyright date of May 2011 and can currently be accessed
through the TACM website. The newsletter contains another letter, supposedly written by
Jennifer Kolbek, where Desiree Kolbek is referred to as a “psychopath.” The newsletter also
contains letters supposedly written by members of Amy Eddy’s family. These letters claim that
Eddy is a promiscuous, “sexually deranged, pathological liar.” As to Jeanne Orlando, the
newsletter contains statements claiming that she lied under oath in court.
The third document submitted is a letter of support to Tony Alamo from Robert Gilmore
dated November 20, 2008. (ECF No. 585, Exh. B). Plaintiffs claim the letter was posted to the
ministry’s website. Robert Gilmore, writing on behalf of RG & Associates Security, stated that
he had never observed any abuse of children or adults during the time that RG & Associates
provided security for the church properties. 19 He does not mention any of the Plaintiffs in the
Finally, Plaintiffs direct the Court to “an entire section of the TACM website (‘False
Accusers against Tony Alamo’)[.]” Plaintiffs’ only allegation about this section of the website is
that it is a “repository of defamatory statements about Plaintiffs and others.” Plaintiffs do not
direct the Court to any specific website entries, other than those noted above, that mention any of
To support a claim for defamation, the following elements must be proven: “(1) the
defamatory nature of the statement of fact; (2) that statement's identification of or reference to
the plaintiff; (3) publication of the statement by the defendant; (4) the defendant's fault in the
publication; (5) the statement's falsity; and (6) damages.” Faulkner v. Arkansas Children's
Hosp., 347 Ark. 941, 955–56, 69 S.W.3d 393, 402–03 (Ark. 2002) (internal citations omitted).
A plaintiff must establish that there has been actual damage to her reputation. United Ins. Co. of
Am. v. Murphy, 331 Ark. 364, 370, 961 S.W.2d 752, 756 (Ark. 1998) (abolishing the doctrine of
defamation per se which presumed reputational injury). When a plaintiff has not pled “specific
facts demonstrating that she has suffered actual damage to her reputation, but has only pled a
conclusion to that effect,” dismissal of the defamation claim is appropriate. Suggs v. Stanley, 324
F.3d 672, 680 (8th Cir. 2003).
RG & Associates was previously a defendant in this lawsuit. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims against
RG & Associates on December 12, 2013. (ECF No. 666). The Court only includes Robert Gilmore’s letter as
evidence of defamation against the remaining Defendants because it was publicly disseminated by TACM through
Defendants argue that Plaintiffs’ defamation claims should be dismissed because (1) they
have failed to allege any specific defamatory statements about Summer Hagan, Nikki Farr,
Pebbles Rodriguez, and Jamie Rodriguez, and (2) Desiree Kolbek, Amy Eddy, and Jeanne
Orlando have failed to offer any factual support for their alleged reputational injuries. 20
While Plaintiffs’ Fifth Amended Complaint generally alleges a defamation claim on
behalf of all Plaintiffs, Defendants are correct in pointing out that Plaintiffs have not offered
evidence of any statements made against Summer Hagan, Nikki Farr, Pebbles Rodriguez, and
Jamie Rodriguez. Their evidence of defamation is limited to specific mentions of Desiree
Kolbek, Amy Eddy, and Jeanne Orlando. (ECF No. 583 p. 61; ECF No. 584, Par. 59-61; ECF
No. 585, Exhs. B, F, G). The closest Hagan, Farr, and the Rodriguez’s come to offering
evidence of defamatory statements is their reference to a “repository of defamatory statements
about Plaintiffs” on the TACM website.
They do not point out any specific defamatory
statements, and the Court has not found any specific mention of these Plaintiffs on the section of
the website that they reference.
Accordingly, the Court finds that these Plaintiffs’ bare
defamation allegations are not sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact.
Plaintiffs have offered evidence of allegedly defamatory statements made about Plaintiffs
Kolbek, Eddy, and Orlando. In support of the allegation that they sustained damages, Plaintiffs
offer the following: “Defendants’ statements, for the reasons identified above, were false, and
resulted in damage to the Plaintiffs’ reputation, loss of earning capacity, and mental and physical
damage.” (ECF No. 583, p. 62).
This lone statement is not sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact regarding
Plaintiffs’ defamation claims. Plaintiffs have offered no facts to support their allegations of
Certain defendants also claim that they are not liable for defamation because they had no involvement in the
publication of the material. Because the Court has determined that Plaintiffs’ defamation claims against all
Defendants fail on other grounds, the Court declines to discuss these arguments.
actual reputational injury. Rather, they have merely recited one element that must be proven in
order to sustain a defamation claim. Nor have Plaintiffs offered any specific facts or allegations
relating to their claims of lost earning capacity. And while the Court can certainly understand
how the statements made by Defendants could have caused Plaintiffs mental suffering, “evidence
of mental anguish, in the absence of proof of an actual reputational injury, cannot support an
award of damages in a defamation action.” Little Rock Newspapers, Inc. v. Fitzhugh, 330 Ark.
561, 587, 954 S.W.2d 914, 928 (Ark. 1997). Because Plaintiffs Kolbek, Eddy, and Orlando have
failed to set forth specific facts demonstrating that they have suffered actual damage to their
reputations, summary judgment in favor of Defendants is appropriate.
Plaintiffs allege that Twenty First Century, Jeanne Estates, and Sharon Alamo acted
negligently by “allowing Tony Alamo unfettered access to Plaintiffs”; “facilitating ‘spiritual
weddings’ with Plaintiffs”; failing to protect Plaintiffs from sexual abuse and physical beatings;
failing to investigate sexual abuse complaints; failing to “prevent Tony Alamo’s verbal
discussions of sexual activities with Plaintiffs”; and failing to prevent “Tony Alamo and others
from taking and distributing nude photographs of one or more Plaintiffs[.]” (ECF No. 337, p.
As to Jeanne Estates and Twenty First Century, Plaintiffs also allege that these
Defendants were negligent in failing to keep property they owned in a reasonably safe condition
by “housing Tony Alamo and Plaintiffs within the home [and] installing a carousel, petting zoo
and pool to entice Plaintiffs[.]” Plaintiffs further allege that Twenty First Century and Jeanne
Estates were negligent in “permitting an adjoining door between [their] office and Alamo’s
bedroom.” (ECF No. 337, p. 19-21). Plaintiffs maintain that the actions described above
proximately caused Plaintiffs injuries resulting in damages to Plaintiffs.
“To prove a cause of action based on negligence, the plaintiff must not only prove both
that he sustained damages and that the defendant was negligent, but also that the defendant's
negligence was the proximate cause of the damages.” Lovell v. Brock, 330 Ark. 206, 215, 952
S.W.2d 161, 166 (Ark. 1997).
Proximate cause is a question of fact for the jury unless
“reasonable minds could not differ.” Id. In order to prove that a defendant has been negligent,
“plaintiff must show a failure to exercise proper care in the performance of a legal duty, which
the defendant owed the plaintiff under the circumstances.”
Kowalski v. Rose Drugs of
Dardanelle, Inc., 2011 Ark. 44, 6, 378 S.W.3d 109, 114 (Ark. 2011). “The question of what
duty, if any, is owed a plaintiff alleging negligence is always a question of law and never one for
the jury.” Marlar v. Daniel, 368 Ark. 505, 508, 247 S.W.3d 473 (Ark. 2007).
1. Sharon Alamo
Plaintiffs allege Sharon Alamo was a “sister wife” to Plaintiffs and shared a home with
them during the time they were being abused. Sharon Alamo does not dispute that she holds
herself out to be Tony Alamo’s wife and that Plaintiffs lived with her in Tony Alamo’s home
when they were minor children. 21 Plaintiffs state that, when they left their parents to live in
Tony Alamo’s home, Sharon Alamo provided care for them on a daily basis. Plaintiffs allege
that Sharon Alamo was fully aware of their abuse, facilitated their abuse, and even participated
in the physical abuse of Plaintiff Jeannette Orlando.
Plaintiffs assert that Sharon Alamo breached her duty of care to Plaintiffs by allowing the
abuse to take place through her lack of intervention. More specifically, Plaintiffs allege that their
“special relationship” to Sharon Alamo imposed upon her a duty to protect them from the abuse
of Tony Alamo. “[I]n general, no liability exists in tort for harm resulting from the criminal acts
Sharon Alamo is not legally married to Tony Alamo, but she states that she has been in a “spiritual marriage” with
him since August 31, 1989 and that “she has remained in his residence since their spiritual marriage.” (ECF No.
500, p. 1).
of third parties[.]” Ouachita Wilderness Inst., Inc. v. Mergen, 329 Ark. 405, 421, 947 S.W.2d
780, 789 (Ark. 1997). However, where a “special relationship” exists between the plaintiff and
defendant, the defendant has a duty to protect the plaintiff from foreseeable criminal acts by a
third party. Id. (citing Keck v. American Employment Agency, Inc., 279 Ark. 294, 652 S.W.2d 2
(Ark. 1983)). Because the special relationship question is directly tied to whether a duty existed,
it is a question of law for the Court to decide. Keck v. American Employment Agency, Inc., 279
Ark. 294, 298 652 S.W.2d 2 (Ark. 1983). Whether the criminal acts of the third party and the
resulting injuries to a plaintiff were foreseeable may present a question of fact for the jury. Id.
Plaintiffs maintain that a special relationship existed between them and Sharon Alamo
because, as minors, they were sent by their parents to live in Tony and Sharon’s house; Sharon
provided custodial care for them on a daily basis over a number of years; and Tony Alamo’s acts
of abuse were known to Sharon, or at the very least, foreseeable to her. The Court agrees with
Plaintiffs that a special relationship did exist.
Arkansas courts have never examined whether a special relationship exists under these
specific circumstances. However, it is generally recognized that a special relationship exists
where person takes custody of a child “under circumstances such as to deprive [the child] of his
normal opportunities for protection.” Restatement (Second) of Torts § 314A (1965). See Bjerke
v. Johnson, 742 N.W.2d 660, 665 (Minn. 2007) (“Although [Defendant] was never given legal
custody of [Plaintiff], there is evidence to show that [Defendant] accepted entrustment of some
level of care for [Plaintiff] when [Plaintiff] stayed at [Defendant’s] home, at a location distant
from her parents' home.”); Doe v. Goff, 306 Ill. App. 3d 1131, 1134 (Ill. App. Ct. 1999) (holding
that a voluntary custodian has a duty to protect from reasonably foreseeable harm). More
specifically, courts have held that a wife who allows children into her home with knowledge of
her husband’s dangerous sexual proclivities has a special relationship with the children and a
duty to protect them from the foreseeable harm. See Pamela L. v. Farmer, 112 Cal.App.3d 206,
211-12 (Cal. App. 1980); Chaney v. Superior Court, 39 Cal. App. 4th 152, 157 (Cal. App. 1995);
Faul v. Perlman, 104 So. 3d 148, 154 (Miss. Ct. App. 2012), reh'g denied (Oct. 30, 2012); J.S. v.
R.T.H., 155 N.J. 330, 351, 714 A.2d 924, 935 (N.J. 1998) (“Based in large measure on the strong
public policy of protecting children from sexual abuse, we conclude that there is a sound, indeed,
compelling basis for the imposition of a duty on a wife whose husband poses the threat of
sexually victimizing young children.”).
In this case, it is undisputed that Plaintiffs, as minor children, were sent to live with Tony
and Sharon Alamo by their parents. These Plaintiffs allege that they suffered sexual and physical
abuse as minors during the time period in which their primary residence was a single-family
home shared with Tony and Sharon Alamo. There is ample evidence that creates a question of
fact as to whether Sharon Alamo knew or should have known that harm was likely to result from
residing in a home with Tony Alamo. Plaintiffs allege that Tony Alamo had sex with them while
Sharon Alamo was present in the home and that anyone in the home near Tony Alamo’s
bedroom could hear the sexual activity taking place inside the room. (ECF No. 585, Exh. 19, p.
224). Plaintiffs allege that Tony boasted in public about his many spiritual wives, including
Plaintiffs. Id. at 66. He allegedly had certain Plaintiffs inappropriately massage him in front of
church members. Id. at. 86. Plaintiffs’ allegations aside, there is objective evidence that Sharon
Alamo knew that Plaintiffs’ were “spiritual wives” of Tony Alamo and were being sexually
abused. Tony Alamo has made no secret of his belief in polygamy and his belief that girls may
be legally married at puberty. In fact, he has published articles to that effect. (ECF No. 585, Exh
3-4). Tony Alamo openly fathered children with at least two other “spiritual wives” who lived in
the home with Tony, Sharon, and Plaintiffs. (ECF No. 585, Exh. 15, p. 47, 57).
TACM’s businesses—Jeanne Estates apartments—was named after Plaintiff Jeanne Orlando,
strongly signaling some unique measure of “devotion” to an underage girl living in Tony and
Sharon’s home. (ECF No. 585, Exh. 19, p. 236).
In sum, when Plaintiffs left their families to join Sharon and Tony Alamo in their home,
they were placed in the care and custody of these two adults for many years, at least on an
informal basis. Plaintiffs were minor children, unable to fully protect themselves from the
alleged acts of Tony Alamo.
Accordingly, Sharon Alamo had a special relationship with
Plaintiffs and a duty to protect them from any harm that was foreseeable. The Court finds that
there is a question of fact as what Sharon Alamo knew about Plaintiffs’ alleged abuse and
whether she knew that a failure to protect and/or intervene would result in harm to Plaintiffs.
When a man has expressed his belief in polygamy, is living with multiple women, is openly
fathering their children, and is continuously soliciting underage girls to come live in his home
without their parents, it certainly leaves open the question of what Sharon Alamo knew about the
alleged sexual abuse that was occurring at the hands of her husband. 22
Because there are remaining questions of fact as to the foreseeability of Plaintiffs’ harm
and the proximate cause of that harm, summary judgment in favor of Sharon Alamo is not
2. Twenty First Century
Plaintiffs allege that much of the alleged abuse that they suffered was in Tony Alamo’s
home—a home that was owned and operated by Twenty First Century. Plaintiffs allege that
The Court would like to make clear that Sharon Alamo’s special relationship only extends to her time with
Plaintiffs as minors. Sharon Alamo owed no duty to protect Plaintiffs’ from criminal acts that were allegedly
perpetuated when they were over the age of eighteen.
Twenty First Century had a duty to protect them from Tony Alamo’s abuse for multiple reasons:
(1) a special relationship existed between Twenty First Century and Plaintiffs who were
members of the Twenty First Century congregation; (2) agents of Twenty First Century had a
special relationship with Plaintiffs and the duties arising from those relationships are imputed to
Twenty First Century; and (3) Plaintiffs were owed a duty as invitees on Twenty First Centuryowned property where their abuse took place.
A. Duty arising from special relationship
As the Court discussed above, a party generally may not be held liable in tort for harm
resulting from the criminal acts of third parties unless a special relationship exists. Plaintiffs
allege that Twenty First Century had a special relationship with Plaintiffs arising from their
status as church members who were in the “custody” of the Twenty First Century church during
the time they were allegedly abused.
Whether a church has a special relationship to its members is a very complex and
unsettled issue. See C.J.C. v. Corp. of Catholic Bishop of Yakima, 138 Wash. 2d 699, 985 P.2d
262 (Wash. 1999); Doe v. Corp. of President of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
2004 UT App 274, 98 P.3d 429, 431 (Utah Ct. App. 2004); Berry v. Watchtower Bible & Tract
Soc. of New York, Inc., 152 N.H. 407, 413, 879 A.2d 1124, 1129 (N.H. 2005); F.D.P. v. Ferrara,
2002 PA Super 223, 804 A.2d 1221, 1229 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2002). The decisions generally turn on
whether a plaintiff was truly in the “custody” of the church at the time of abuse and whether the
criminal acts of the abuser were foreseeable to the church leaders who gave the abuser access to
Plaintiffs have devoted roughly one paragraph to discussing this complicated issue and
have only offered one case in support of their proposition that Twenty First Century had a duty
to Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs generally state that they were in Twenty First Century’s custody and that
the alleged sexual abuse was foreseeable to Twenty First Century. However, Plaintiffs have
offered no discussion regarding any governing body within Twenty First Century that supervised
Tony Alamo or generally had a hand in placing him in a position of leadership. Stated another
way, Plaintiffs have not clearly alleged that their harm was foreseeable to anyone in the church
who had the authority to control Tony Alamo’s role in the church. The evidence indicates that
no one within Tony Alamo Christian Ministries placed Tony Alamo in his position, and no one
had the authority to supervise him or remove him from it.
The cases dealing with this issue have generally involved hierarchical religious
institutions or governing bodies within a church that have some sort of supervisory or placement
power over church leaders and should have foreseen the possibility of sexual abuse by the church
leader. Doe v. Corp. of President of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2004 UT App
274, 98 P.3d 429, 432 (Plaintiffs alleging that the church “had a system of disciplinary action in
place which was meant to…identify sexual predators and other dangerous individuals within the
membership in order to protect innocent members from harm.”); C.J.C. v. Corp. of Catholic
Bishop of Yakima, 138 Wash. 2d 699, 722, 985 P.2d 262, 274 (Wash. 1999) (holding that a
special relationship could exist between church and child members in situations where the
“church chooses its officials, directs their activities, and may restrict and control their conduct.”);
Beal v. Broadard, SUCV200205765C, 2005 WL 1009632 (Mass. Super. Feb. 4, 2005)
(addressing whether a special relationship and duty existed where the alleged abuser was
appointed as a ministerial servant by a body of elders who had knowledge of prior incidents of
sexual dangerousness.); Hutchison ex rel. Hutchison v. Luddy, 560 Pa. 51, 64, 742 A.2d 1052,
1059 (Pa. 1999) (holding that a special relationship and duty to protect existed where a bishop
and the Diocese knew that defendant had a propensity for pedophilic behavior yet placed him in
a position where he would be around children). Because Plaintiffs have not clearly alleged or
argued that any such system of oversight or control over Tony Alamo existed within Twenty
First Century, the Court cannot say as a matter of law that Twenty First Century had a duty to
Plaintiffs arising out of a church-member relationship. 23
In the alternative, Plaintiffs claim that they had a special relationship with Twenty First
Century agents, Sally Demoulin and Angela Morales, and that the duty these agents owed to
Plaintiffs can be imputed to Twenty First Century. These two individuals have been voluntarily
dismissed by Plaintiffs, and it appears that Plaintiffs are no longer pursuing this argument. (ECF
B. Duty of a property owner to an invitee
Plaintiffs allege that Twenty First Century owned 24 and operated the house that they lived
in with Tony Alamo where much of the physical and sexual abuse took place. Plaintiffs allege
that they were owed a duty of care as business invitees.
There is “no duty upon business owners to guard against criminal acts of a third party
unless they ‘know or have reason to know that acts are occurring or about to occur on the
premises that pose imminent probability of harm to an invitee.’” Willmon v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 957 F. Supp. 1074, 1077 (E.D. Ark. 1997) aff'd, 143 F.3d 1148 (8th Cir. 1998) (quoting
To the extent that Plaintiffs allege that their fellow Twenty First Century members owed them a duty arising out
of a special relationship, the argument cannot be sustained. Plaintiffs have offered no case law to support the
proposition that members of a congregation, in non-leadership positions, have a special relationship to other
members that would give rise to a duty to intervene and/or protect.
Twenty First Century does not appear to dispute Plaintiffs’ assertion that it owns and operates the house in
question. However, their Fifth Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs have alleged that the house is owned by Sanford and
Terri White. (ECF No. 337, Par. 53).
Boren v. Worthen Nat. Bank of Arkansas, 324 Ark. 416, 424, 921 S.W.2d 934, 939-40 (Ark.
Obviously, in order to show that the harm was foreseeable, Plaintiffs must show that
someone in the employment or leadership of Twenty First Century was aware of the probability
of harm. In their summary judgment pleadings, the only parties Plaintiffs have clearly alleged
were officers of Twenty First Century are Sally Demoulin and Angel Morales. (ECF No. 583, p.
20). However, as mentioned above, these ladies have been voluntarily dismissed from the suit,
and Plaintiffs appear to have abandoned their arguments surrounding their actions.25
Accordingly, Plaintiffs have not alleged facts showing that agents or officers of Twenty First
Century had reason to know that Tony Alamo posed an imminent probability of harm. Without
this evidence, even if Plaintiffs were invitees on land owned by Twenty First Century, Plaintiffs
have not shown that Twenty First Century owed Plaintiffs a duty of protection.
Because Plaintiffs have failed to show that Twenty First Century owed them a duty of
protection, summary judgment in favor of Twenty First Century is appropriate as to Plaintiffs’
3. Jeanne Estates
Plaintiffs allege that Jeanne Estates, as a part of a joint venture, owed a duty to Plaintiffs
because Plaintiffs were invitees who were injured on property owned by the joint venture. The
Court has already determined that joint venture liability is not applicable in this case. Plaintiffs
have not alleged that they were injured on property owned by Jeanne Estates or one of its agents.
In their recent response to Twenty First Century’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No.650, p. 6),
Plaintiffs have thrown out names of other alleged agents of Twenty First Century who are not parties to this suit.
Plaintiffs argue that Twenty First Century could conceivably be vicariously liable through the acts of these
individuals. However, no facts about the specific knowledge of these alleged agents were pled in Plaintiffs’
summary judgment materials or their recent response to the motion. Accordingly, there is not adequate factual
support for Plaintiff to rest their negligence theory against Twenty First Century on these alleged agents.
Accordingly, the Court does not need to examine whether Jeanne Estates owed a duty to Plaintiff
as a property owner.
Alternatively, Plaintiffs allege that Jeanne Estates is vicariously liable through its agents
who had a duty to Plaintiffs due to their “special relationship” with Plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs’ summary judgment response only refers generally to “church business defendants”
and not Jeanne Estates specifically, it is difficult to determine who exactly is alleged to be an
agent of Jeanne Estates. However, in Plaintiffs’ recently filed response (ECF No. 647, p. 9-10)
to Jeanne Estate’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, Plaintiffs specifically mention Vicki
Larison and Linda Williams as being agents of Jeanne Estates. Plaintiffs maintain that Jeanne
Estates could be vicariously liable for the acts of these women, but they offer absolutely no facts
about how these women could have had a special relationship with Plaintiffs or how they might
have been negligent. Accordingly, the Court finds no basis for a discussion about Jeanne
Estate’s potential vicarious liability as it relates to these women.
As to Sharon Alamo’s employment relationship with Jeanne Estates, Plaintiffs allege
generally that she assisted with bookkeeping for “Defendants…on many occasions.” (ECF No.
583, p. 10). 26 However, they make no specific allegations regarding her work for Jeanne Estates.
Moreover, when given the opportunity to make the matter clear, they did not mention her
specifically as an agent of Jeanne Estates in their recent response to Jeanne Estate’s Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings.
Accordingly, because Plaintiffs have not submitted evidence
showing that Sharon Alamo was an agent of Jeanne Estates, the Court need not examine whether
The Court takes issue with Plaintiffs’ citation for this assertion. Plaintiffs cite to the deposition testimony of
Angela Morales. (ECF No. 585, Exh 15, p. 38 and 74). Morales testified that Sharon had a desk in an office where
church business was conducted. Morales says nothing of the work that Sharon actually performed. Morales also
states that she did some clerical work for Action Distributors, a former defendant in this case. But again, she does
not mention any work performed by Sharon Alamo.
Jeanne Estates could be vicariously liable through any special relationship Sharon Alamo had
Because Jeanne Estates did not owe a duty to Plaintiffs as a part of a joint venture and
because Plaintiffs have not submitted evidence to support a theory of vicarious liability for the
acts of Jeanne Estates’ agents, summary judgment in favor of Jeanne Estates is appropriate as to
Plaintiffs’ negligence claims.
Plaintiffs have asserted a claim for negligent entrustment against Defendant Sharon
Alamo. (ECF No 337, par. 75-78). The Complaint states that she owned or continues to own
property which was used by Tony Alamo to “sexually, physically, psychologically, and
emotionally assault and abuse the Plaintiffs.” The negligent entrustment portion of Plaintiffs’
Complaint does not specify what property Sharon Alamo is alleged to own. However, in a
separate section of the Complaint, Plaintiffs state that Sharon Alamo is the co-owner of a church
bus on which Plaintiffs were transported with Tony Alamo. Plaintiffs’ summary judgment
pleadings contain no further details about Sharon Alamo’s property ownership.
Sharon Alamo maintains in her motion for summary judgment that the only relevant
property she ever owned was a church bus purchased in 2007. 27 She has produced a title in
support of this assertion. (ECF No. 500, Exh. I). She states that she is unaware of any ownership
interest in any other buses purchased before that time. Importantly, Pebbles Rodriguez is the
only Plaintiff who was still a member of the church in 2007. Rodriguez was twenty-two years
old in 2007, and the Court is not aware of any actionable claims she has relating to any actions
that occurred on the bus.
Sharon Alamo owns other property that is arguably tied to Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, but it is not property
that Plaintiffs’ have alleged was used to facilitate the alleged abuse. (ECF No. 500, p. 10).
In their response to Sharon Alamo’s motion for summary judgment, Plaintiffs do not
refute Alamo’s statements about her property ownership (or lack thereof). Rather, they generally
talk about property owned by various individuals who are no longer parties to this action and do
not mention whether any of these properties are actually owned by Sharon Alamo. These very
general allegations are not sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact. Because Plaintiffs
have failed to meet proof with proof, summary judgment in favor of Sharon Alamo is proper as
to Plaintiffs’ negligent entrustment claims.
Plaintiffs have asserted claims for negligent hiring, retention, and supervision against
Defendants Twenty First Century and Jeanne Estates. (ECF No 337, par. 84). Plaintiffs allege
that Defendants were negligent in hiring, retaining, and supervising various individuals. Many
of these alleged employees were previously parties to this lawsuit. With the exception of Sharon
Alamo, they have all been voluntarily dismissed. Accordingly, Plaintiffs are no longer pursuing
this claim as it relates to these dismissed individuals.
It appears that Plaintiffs continue to maintain their negligent hiring claim as it relates to
the Defendants’ alleged employment of Sharon Alamo.
The Court has already held that
Plaintiffs have failed to show that Sharon Alamo was an agent of either of these Defendants. See
Negligence. Plaintiffs allege generally that she assisted with bookkeeping for “Defendants…on
many occasions.” (ECF No. 583, p. 10). However, they make no specific allegations regarding
her work for Jeanne Estates or Twenty First Century. Moreover, the testimony cited for the
proposition that Sharon Alamo “assisted with the bookkeeping” does not actually support the
allegation. Plaintiffs cite to the deposition testimony of Angela Morales. (ECF No. 585, Exh 15,
p. 38 & 74). Morales testified that Sharon had a desk in an office where church business was
conducted. Morales says nothing of any work that Sharon actually performed. Morales also
states that she did some clerical work for Action Distributors, a former defendant in this case.
But again, she does not mention any work performed by Sharon Alamo.
Because Plaintiffs have failed to set forth any evidence supporting Sharon Alamo’s
alleged employment with Jeanne Estates and Twenty First Century, summary judgment in favor
of these Defendants is warranted as to Plaintiffs’ negligent hiring claims.
Invasion of Privacy
Plaintiffs have asserted claims for invasion of privacy against Jeanne Estates, Twenty
First Century, Sharon Alamo, and Tony Alamo. There are four actionable forms of invasion of
privacy: “’(1) appropriation, which consists of the use of the plaintiff's name or likeness for the
defendant's benefit; (2) intrusion, which is the invasion by one defendant upon the plaintiff's
solitude or seclusion; (3) public disclosure of private [f]acts, which is the publicity of a highly
objectionable kind ... even though it is true and no action would lie for defamation; and (4) false
light in the public eye, consisting of publicity which places the plaintiff in a false light before the
public.’” Milam v. Bank of Cabot, 327 Ark. 256, 263, 937 S.W.2d 653, 657 (Ark. 1997)
(quoting Dunlap v. McCarty, 284 Ark. 5, 9, 678 S.W.2d 361, 363–64 (Ark. 1984)). Plaintiffs are
alleging invasion of privacy on three of these four grounds: intrusion, public disclosure of
private facts, and false light.
At the outset, the Court notes that the only Plaintiffs with potentially viable intrusion
claims are Desiree Kolbek, Summer Hagan, and Pebbles Rodriguez. The Court has ruled that the
intrusion claims of the other Plaintiffs are time barred.
To sustain a claim of intrusion, a plaintiff must prove actions “on the defendant's part in
the nature of prying or intrusion which is offensive or objectionable to a reasonable person. The
‘thing’ into which there is intrusion or prying must be, and be entitled to be, private.” Williams
v. Am. Broad. Companies, Inc., 96 F.R.D. 658, 669 (W.D. Ark. 1983) (applying Arkansas law);
see also Cannady v. St. Vincent Infirmary Med. Ctr., 2012 Ark. 369 (2012), reh'g denied (Nov. 8,
In support of her intrusion claim, Desiree Kolbek alleges that she kept a diary when she
lived with Tony Alamo and that this diary is in his possession. (ECF No. 585, Exh. 28, p. 150).
Summer Hagan states that all of the Plaintiffs were required to have telephone conversations in
common areas of the house so that they could be monitored. (ECF No. 585, Exh. 27, p. 111 and
153). She does not specify who actually monitored these phone calls, but it apparently was at the
direction of Tony Alamo. Jeanne Orlando testified that the belongings of all women who lived
in house, including Pebbles Rodriguez, were subject to search at any moment. (ECF No. 585,
Exh. 19, p. 325-326).
Based on the allegations above, Plaintiffs cannot sustain an intrusion claim against
Sharon Alamo, Jeanne Estates, or Twenty First Century. Plaintiffs allege no specific intrusive
actions by these Defendants or their employees. Accordingly, summary judgment in favor of
these Defendants is proper.
Because the intrusions alleged above were done by Tony Alamo or at his direction, the
Court finds that Plaintiffs’ intrusion claims against Tony Alamo are sufficient to withstand
summary judgment. Alamo argues that Plaintiffs’ intrusion claim should be dismissed because
they had no legitimate expectation of privacy when they lived in his home. In other words,
because they lived in a home with many individuals, they could not have expected to have any
privacy that could be intruded upon. The Court finds that, in this case, the existence of privacy
or lack thereof, is a question that is better left for the jury. Accordingly, summary judgment on
this claim is not appropriate.
Public Disclosure of Private Facts
While Plaintiffs claim that they are pursuing an invasion of privacy claim based on public
disclosure of private facts, they have not alleged any facts in support of the claim. Plaintiffs
devote a section of their summary judgment brief to this topic, but they do not identify the
“private facts” that have been publicly revealed. They merely state that “Defendants publicly
disclosed matters concerning the private lives of Plaintiffs.” This bare allegation is not sufficient
to withstand summary judgment.
3. False Light
An invasion of privacy claim based on false light is “conditioned upon the complaining
party's demonstrating that (1) the false light in which he was placed by the publicity would be
highly offensive to a reasonable person, and (2) that the defendant had knowledge of or acted in
reckless disregard as to the falsity of the publicized matter and the false light in which the
plaintiff would be placed.” Dodrill v. Arkansas Democrat Co., 265 Ark. 628, 638, 590 S.W.2d
840, 845 (Ark. 1979). Unlike a claim for defamation, Plaintiffs do not have to show evidence of
actual reputational injury stemming from the publication of the false information. Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc. v. Lee, 348 Ark. 707, 719, 74 S.W.3d 634, 644 (Ark. 2002) (“The privacy tort covers
behavior harmful to the plaintiff even though there is no injury to his reputation.”).
Plaintiffs’ false light claims rely on the same documents referenced in their arguments
regarding defamation. There are documents that were released to the public from Tony Alamo
Christian Ministries which refer to Orlando, Eddy, and Kolbek as pathological liars.
documents also refer to Kolbek as “lascivious” and to Eddy as “sexually deranged.” The
documents also state that Kolbek has been a danger to families she has lived with in the past. 28
As with the defamation claims, Plaintiffs’ false light evidence is limited to specific
mentions of Desiree Kolbek, Amy Eddy, and Jeanne Orlando. Nikki Farr, Pebbles Rodriguez,
Jamie Rodriguez, and Summer Hagan’s bare allegations of false light are not sufficient to create
a genuine issue of material fact. Plaintiffs’ false light evidence also fails to implicate Sharon
Alamo and Jeanne Estates. There is no evidence that Sharon Alamo, Jeanne Estates, or agents of
Jeanne Estates published the allegedly false information. Plaintiffs’ bare allegations against
these Defendants are not sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact.
The Court finds that Kolbek, Orlando, and Eddy’s false light claims against Tony Alamo
and Twenty First Century are sufficient to withstand summary judgment. It is undisputed that
the documents in question were disseminated on behalf of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries.
The top of the documents refer to Tony Alamo as “pastor.” The documents also contain
information about where a reader can attend church services. Tony Alamo is clearly implicated
in the dissemination of these materials. And as the primary “church entity” within Tony Alamo
Christian Ministries, it is certainly possible, if not certain, that Twenty First Century ratified the
publication of this material. The falsity of the information, the Defendants knowledge of its
falsity, and the level of offensiveness are questions of fact for the jury to decide.
In sum, summary judgment in favor of Tony Alamo is not proper as to Plaintiffs’
intrusion and false light claims, and summary judgment in favor of Twenty First Century is not
Plaintiffs also allege that false information about Plaintiffs was contained in a letter written by Robert Gilmore
and a section of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries website entitled “False Accusers against Tony Alamo.”
However, no Plaintiffs are explicitly referenced in these materials. See Defamation. Accordingly, the evidence is
not helpful in establishing a false light claim.
proper as to Plaintiffs’ false light claims. Summary judgment as to all other invasion of privacy
claims is granted.
Plaintiffs have asserted claims for false imprisonment against Jeanne Estates, Twenty
First Century, Sharon Alamo, and Tony Alamo. The Court notes that the only Plaintiffs with
potentially viable false imprisonment claims are Desiree Kolbek, Summer Hagan, and Pebbles
Rodriguez. The Court has ruled that the false imprisonment claims of the other Plaintiffs are
In Arkansas, false imprisonment is defined as “the unlawful violation of the personal
liberty of another, consisting of detention without sufficient legal authority.” Grandjean v.
Grandjean, 315 Ark. 620, 624, 869 S.W.2d 709, 711 (Ark. 1994). “Any express or implied
threat of force whereby one is deprived of his liberty or compelled to go where one does not wish
to go is an imprisonment.” Ltd. Stores, Inc. v. Wilson-Robinson, 317 Ark. 80, 83, 876 S.W.2d
248, 250 (Ark. 1994).
Plaintiffs allege that they were unlawfully detained on various properties including Tony
Alamo’s house, the “house of scorn,” church buses, and “other TACM property.” Summer
Hagan has testified that Tony Alamo’s “spiritual wives” had to attend school inside Alamo’s
house because they were not allowed outside of the house. (ECF No. 585, Exh. 27, p. 54).
Hagan also testified that, as punishment for “misbehavior,” she was beaten with a paddle and
forced to stay inside Alamo’s house for a month. Id. at 329-330. She also states that Alamo’s
“spiritual wives” were sent to a separate property, the “house of scorn,” as punishment and were
not allowed to go outside.
A male church member confirms that this was a typical
punishment. (ECF No. 585, Exh. 30, p. 68-69). Hagan said that, while she might have had the
ability to unlock the door to the house, she did not do so out of fear because Alamo told her there
were guards outside the house that would shoot her if she tried to escape. Id. Desiree Kolbek
testified that she was also confined to Tony Alamo’s home and that there were watchmen,
security guards, and surveillance cameras outside the home to prevent escape. (ECF No. 585,
Exh. 28, p. 224-225). Pebbles Rodriguez makes similar allegations. (ECF No. 585, Exh. 17, p.
109-110). The cited testimony tends to indicate that it was Tony Alamo who ordered that the
girls be confined to the properties mentioned above.
Plaintiffs’ false imprisonment evidence fails to implicate Sharon Alamo, Jeanne Estates’
property, or Jeanne Estates’ agents.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that a
material issue of disputed fact exists as to these Defendants. Summary judgment in favor of
these Defendants is, therefore, granted.
Plaintiffs have clearly alleged facts that implicate Tony Alamo. Twenty First Century’s
potential liability is not as clearly drawn. The lines between the actions of Tony Alamo and the
actions of Twenty First Century are blurry. Plaintiffs state that they were confined at the
direction of Tony Alamo, but they also indicate that the armed guards, or “watchmen,” who were
stationed outside of the homes were church members. If these armed guards were affiliated with
Twenty First Century and they directly participated in the confinement of Plaintiffs at Twenty
First Century’s direction, then Plaintiffs’ claims against Twenty First Century could be
Twenty First Century and Tony Alamo argue that Plaintiffs’ false imprisonment claims
fail as a matter of law because there was no actual imprisonment, just the “feeling of
imprisonment.” Defendants also maintain that the alleged threats of force were not immediate
enough to effect an unlawful imprisonment. The Court finds that these are questions of fact that
are better left to the jury. Accordingly, Tony Alamo and Twenty First Century’s motions for
summary judgment are denied as to Desiree Kolbek, Summer Hagan, and Pebbles Rodriguez’s
false imprisonment claims.
Mandatory Reporter Liability
Plaintiffs have asserted claims for mandatory reporter liability against Jeanne Estates and
Twenty First Century. 29 Plaintiffs claim that the “ordained ministers” in Tony Alamo Christian
Ministries and teachers who worked for the ministry’s school are mandated to report child abuse
under Arkansas’ child maltreatment law, Ark. Code Ann. § 12-18-402. The statute contains a
detailed list of individuals who are considered mandated reporters—teachers and clergy
members are included on this list. Pursuant to § 12-18-206, a defendant may be held “civilly
liable for damages proximately caused by” the failure to report maltreatment.
Plaintiffs do not argue that Jeanne Estates and Twenty First Century as entities are
mandatory reporters under § 12-18-402. Rather, they argue that Jeanne Estates and Twenty First
Century are vicariously liable for the failure to report by their agents—the clergy members and
The question of vicarious liability for an individual’s failure to report has been
considered by the Arkansas Supreme Court. Cooper Clinic, P.A. v. Barnes, 366 Ark. 533, 237
S.W.3d 87 (Ark. 2006). In Cooper Clinic, the Arkansas Supreme Court considered whether a
hospital that did not have a duty to report under the statute could be vicariously liable for its
employee doctor’s mandatory duty to report. The Court concluded that the hospital could not be
The test for whether an employee is acting within the scope of his
employment is whether the individual is carrying out the “object and
purpose of the enterprise,” as opposed to acting exclusively in his own
interest….In this case, we have already held that Cooper Clinic had no duty
under the statute to report the suspected child abuse of [the victim]. Dr.
The Court has already held that Plaintiff Nikki Farr’s mandatory reporter claim is time barred.
Staudt admittedly had a duty under the statute to report the suspected abuse,
but her statutorily-imposed duty was an individual duty that did not extend
to the clinic. As the Child Maltreatment Act imposes no duty on the clinic
to report the suspected child abuse, Dr. Staudt's responsibility to report
suspected child abuse cannot be said to benefit Cooper Clinic—that is, Dr.
Staudt's decision to report or not to report suspected child abuse is not the
“object and purpose” of Cooper Clinic, but rather such a decision is
“exclusively in [Dr. Staudt's] interests.” Thus, not only did the clinic have
no duty itself under the statute to report suspected child abuse, but it also
cannot be held vicariously liable for Dr. Staudt's failure to report.
Id. at 541 (quotations and citations omitted).
The Arkansas Supreme Court appears to have taken the position that, if an institution
itself has no duty to report, then an individual’s actions related to reporting the abuse are not
actions that are taken in the scope of their employment. Because Jeanne Estates and Twenty
First Century have no duty to report, the Court finds that they cannot be held vicariously liable
for the clergy members and teacher’s alleged failure to report. 30
judgment in favor of Defendants is granted as to Plaintiffs’ mandatory reporter claims.
Plaintiffs have asserted claims for battery against Tony Alamo for the alleged physical
and sexual abuse that was inflicted upon them. 31 Battery is defined as “wrongful or offensive
physical contact with another through the intentional contact by the tortfeasor and without the
consent of the victim, the unpermitted application of trauma by one person upon the body of
another person.” Costner v. Adams, 82 Ark. App. 148, 156, 121 S.W.3d 164, 170 (Ark. Ct. App.
Additionally, Plaintiffs have not offered facts to establish that any of the clergy members or teachers were actually
agents or employees of Jeanne Estates. Summary judgment in favor of Jeanne Estates is additionally warranted on
The Court held that the battery claims of Jamie Rodriguez, Jeanne Orlando, Amy Eddy, and Pebbles Rodriguez
are time barred to the extent that they are based on physical abuse. To the extent that they are based on childhood
sexual abuse, they are timely pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-130. Nikki Farr’s battery claims are solely based
on physical abuse and are time barred. See Statute of Limitations.
Tony Alamo argues that he is entitled to summary judgment on this claim because “much
of the sexual abuse alleged in the Complaint is alleged to have occurred with the consent of the
Plaintiffs, in that they are alleged to have become Tony Alamo’s ‘spiritual brides’[.]” Plaintiffs
vigorously dispute that there is any evidence to suggest that the sexual acts with Tony Alamo
The alleged consent of the Plaintiffs is clearly a question of fact that is better left to the
jury. Accordingly, Alamo’s motion for summary judgment as to this claim is denied.
Plaintiffs, with the exception of Nikki Farr, have asserted a claim for the tort of outrage
against all Defendants. Plaintiffs’ outrage claims are based upon the “physical beating, verbal
abuse, and sexual abuse” committed by Tony Alamo that caused Plaintiffs emotional distress.
To establish a claim for outrage, Plaintiffs must demonstrate the following elements: “(1)
the actor intended to inflict emotional distress or knew or should have known that emotional
distress was the likely result of his conduct; (2) the conduct was ‘extreme and outrageous,’ was
‘beyond all possible bounds of decency,’ and was ‘utterly intolerable in a civilized community’;
(3) the actions of the defendant were the cause of the plaintiff's distress; and (4) the emotional
distress sustained by the plaintiff was so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to
endure it.” Kiersey v. Jeffrey, 369 Ark. 220, 222, 253 S.W.3d 438, 441 (Ark. 2007) (quoting
Crockett v. Essex, 341 Ark. 558, 19 S.W.3d 585 (Ark. 2000)). “The type of conduct that meets
the standard for outrage must be determined on a case-by-case basis.” Id.
1. Jeanne Estates
The Court has granted summary judgment in favor of Jeanne Estates on all of Plaintiffs
other claims in this suit, including, negligence, negligent hiring, mandatory reporter liability,
false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, defamation, transporter liability, and trafficking
Plaintiffs have not alleged any additional facts, that the Court has not already
considered, that might support a claim of outrage against Jeanne Estates. Accordingly, summary
judgment is granted as to Plaintiffs’ outrage claims against Jeanne Estates.
2. Twenty First Century
The Court has granted summary judgment in favor of Twenty First Century on Plaintiffs’
claims of negligence, negligent hiring, mandatory reporter, defamation, transporter liability, and
The only sustainable allegations Plaintiffs make against Twenty First
Century involve their claims of false imprisonment and invasion of privacy (false light). These
allegations do not implicate Twenty First Century or its agents in any physical, verbal, or sexual
abuse which form the basis of Plaintiffs’ outrage claims. Accordingly, summary judgment is
granted as to Plaintiffs’ outrage claims against Twenty First Century.
3. Sharon Alamo
The Court has granted summary judgment in favor of Sharon Alamo on Plaintiffs’ claims
of negligent entrustment, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, defamation, transporter
liability, and trafficking liability. Plaintiffs’ negligence claims against Sharon Alamo remain.
Plaintiffs’ negligence claims are based on the allegation that Sharon Alamo knew that they were
being sexually abused and physically abused by Tony Alamo for years and did nothing to
intervene. The Court finds that these allegations are sufficient to sustain a claim of outrage
against Sharon Alamo at this stage in the proceedings. If Sharon Alamo feels that the testimony
at trial does not establish that her actions rose to a level of extreme and outrageous conduct
sufficient to sustain an outrage claim, she is free to file a motion for judgment as a matter of law
pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Procedure 50.
4. Tony Alamo
As the alleged perpetrator of the physical, verbal, and sexual abuse that spanned many
years, the outrage claims against Tony Alamo are clearly sufficient to survive summary
judgment. Parkhurst v. Belt, 567 F.3d 995, 1002 (8th Cir. 2009). If Tony Alamo feels that the
testimony at trial does not establish that his actions rose to a level of extreme and outrageous
conduct sufficient to sustain an outrage claim, he is free to file a motion for judgment as a matter
of law pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Procedure 50. 32
For the reasons stated above, Defendant Tony Alamo’s Motion for Summary Judgment
(ECF No. 522) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part; Defendant Sharon Alamo’s Motion
for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 499) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part; Defendant
Twenty First Century’s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 515) is GRANTED in part
and DENIED in part; and Defendant Jeanne Estates’ Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
493) is GRANTED. An order of even date consistent with this opinion shall issue.
IT IS SO ORDERED, this 24th day of December, 2013.
/s/ Susan O. Hickey
Susan O. Hickey
United States District Judge
The Court has held that Desiree Kolbek and Summer Hagan’s outrage claims based on sexual abuse and physical
abuse are timely. However, the outrage claims of Jamie Rodriguez, Pebbles, Rodriguez, Jeanne Orlando, and Amy
Eddy are only timely to the extent that they are “based on” sexual abuse. To the extent that the outrage claims
against Sharon Alamo and Tony Alamo are based on physical and verbal abuse, they are untimely. See Statute of
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