A religious discrimination lawsuit brought by a family who live ina polygamous community has resulted in a $5.2 million verdict in favor of the family.
The lawsuit was started by the Cook family who live in Colorado City, Ariz and Hildale Utah, which are largely polygamous towns and took their action against the town to which moved because they were refused accessed to essential utilities. Why? They alleged it was because they were not members of another religious order, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The Cookes sued and the case has been playing out for the last two months in Phoenix’s U.S. District Court.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the jury deliberated through the day Thursday before siding with the Cookes. It ultimately awarded husband Ronald Cooke and wife Jinjer Cooke $650,000 each for discrimination, as well as $1.95 million each for retaliation and interference, according to their attorney William Walker.
The $5.3 million total award exceeds what the family was seeking; during closing arguments Thursday, Walker asked the jury to give the Cookes each $2 million — a high sum he said would send a message to the cities. Thursday, he called the verdict and higher award “a total victory.”
“I’m thrilled,” Walker said. “I’m particularly thrilled for the Cookes who have withstood this discrimination for five and half years and have finally been vindicated by a jury of their peers.”
Hildale attorney Blake Hamilton said Thursday night that he was extremely disappointed by the outcome but respects the judicial process.