Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
John Hollenhorst ReportingA lawsuit against the Kingston polygamy clan was back in court today, and there are so many defendants lawyers are even arguing about whether some of them actually exist.
This is the first time in memory that a lawyer had to assure a judge he does not represent anyone who doesn't actually exist. None of his 200 real clients were in court, but the judge seemed so exasperated, it was like he was herding cats -- hundreds and hundreds of cats.
Mary Ann Kingston fled the Kingston clan and now she seems to have turned around and started firing back at every Kingston in sight.
John Morris, Plaintiff's Lawyer: “If they knew about the pattern, if they knew what was going on, if they participate in that organization, we think they should be liable.”
Her 110 million dollar lawsuit names as defendants more than 240 members of the clan and nearly 100 businesses they allegedly own. She claims she was forced to marry her uncle when she was 16 and her father beat her when she tried to flee.
In court lawyers argued over where defendants live, whether they've been properly served, whether some even exist. Judge William Bennett ordered some defendants in and some out.
Judge William Barrett: "I don't know about you, but I can't keep track of this stuff. There are too many defendants in this lawsuit and they all can't be blamed."
The point was echoed by a Kingston clan lawyer.
Carl Kingston, Lawyer: "Most of the people don't even know Mary Anne, for the first thing. And obviously I think you know as well as I do that 250 people couldn't have done what she claimed they did."
John Morris, Plaintiff's Lawyer: “The goal is to establish in part that if you join an organization like that and you know what’s going on, you do it at your peril.”
Daniel Irvin, Kingston Clan Lawyer: “If there was an illegal activity going on, they have yet to prove that there was an illegal activity going on.”
Don't expect this case to wrap up quickly. It's already been in process for two years, and they're still trying to nail down the cast of characters.