The lawyers who sought to add Charismatic Christian author and speaker Joyce Meyer as a defendant in a wrongful death suit will not proceed with their effort, according to documents recently filed.
They could, however, still file a separate lawsuit against Meyer, whose ministry they claim could have prevented the deaths of Sheri Coleman and her two sons, whose bodies were found strangled last May inside of their home.
"We anticipate that they will refile the suit, naming her as a defendant," reported Mike King, the attorney for Joyce Meyer Ministries.
Jack Carey and Enrico Mirabelli, lawyers for Sheri Coleman's mother and brother, had originally named JMM a "respondent in discovery" – the first step toward getting a judge to add a defendant to a suit.
Carey had claimed that the Fenton, Mo.-based ministry knew or should have known that their chief of security, Christopher Coleman, was a threat to his family because he was having an extramarital affair and was making anonymous threats against them in the months leading to their murders.
Police have suggested that Christopher Coleman, 32, may have killed his family to escape his marriage without losing his job to a no-divorce policy.
Notably, however, the ministry says there is no such policy. Meyer, herself, is divorced.
Despite their insistence, the plaintiff’s lawyers were unable to pull through with their effort to convert the ministry to a defendant after missing a key deadline.
The lawyers had waited too long to depose Meyer and other ministry officials, and with depositions not having been taken within six-month window, Monroe County Circuit Judge Dennis Doyle said last week that he could not force JMM officials to submit depositions for the trial.
"I am without authority to order them to comply with discovery," Doyle said, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
The plaintiff’s lawyers were expected to make a motion in front of the judge next week, asking that Meyer be added as a defendant.
Instead, the lawyers are now expected reveal on Feb. 23 why they filed the motion Tuesday to drop JMM officials and Chris Coleman's father, Pastor Ronald Coleman, from the list of people they want to question in relation to the suit.
Despite the seemingly good news, JMM attorney King held off the celebration, saying he didn't believe the dismissal was the end of litigation against the ministry.
"I'm happy if this means they are dropping us from all future litigation," King told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "But, if this means they're just going to go venue shopping, then I'm not happy."
Last week, after missing the deadline, Carey said he would “absolutely” question Meyer on the stand.
But he also admitted to a local CBS affiliate that the questions he could ask would be restricted in light of Doyle’s ruling last Tuesday.
The next hearing was originally scheduled for Feb. 26. Judge Doyle scheduled one for Feb. 23 in light of the latest motion.