KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Legal Newsline) – A new lawsuit says a human trafficking victim who was awarded nearly $8 million is going after a group that she believes is linked to the cult that trafficked her.
On Feb. 15, attorneys for plaintiff Kendra Ross filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas against The Promise Keepers Inc. and The Promise Keepers 417 Inc. Those two groups have stolen the trademark of the well-known, Colorado-based nonprofit, it says.
“The defendants in this matter, The Promise Keepers, Inc and Promise Keepers 417, have no association or relationship to the Colorado-based non-profit Promise Keepers Inc., a Christian ministry started in the early 1990’s which holds stadium events designed to redeem and enhance the character of men," the group says.
"Promise Keepers, also known as PK, is considering trademark litigation to strip defendants of using 'Promise Keepers' in the title for their organizations.”
Ross contends that funds awarded to her in another suit were fraudulently transferred from Royall Jenkins and other judgment debtors to "The Promise Keepers Inc." On May 23, the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas awarded her $7.94 million against Royall Jenkins, The Value Creators Inc. and The Value Creators LLC, she says.
The court ruled against Jenkins, the founder of The Value Creators, in May 2018 over counts of forced labor, human trafficking, violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, violations of various states' minimum wage laws, violations of the RICO Act, conversion, unjust enrichment, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Ross had filed suit against Jenkins after allegedly being forced to work in the group’s bakeries or restaurants and live in its homes for a decade.
In the three-count complaint, Ross contends that Jenkins transferred assets to The Promise Keepers Inc. "with actual intent to hinder, delay, and defraud Ms. Ross and her efforts to collect her judgment, which remains unsatisfied."
The complaint also claims that the assets were transferred by The Value Creator judgment debtors to the defendants "without receiving reasonably equivalent value in return and with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud Ms. Ross and their creditor."
According to an article in the Washington Post, Ross "was separated from her mother at the age of 12 and ordered to marry another group member at age 20. She was also shipped against her will from Kansas City to Atlanta, then to Newark, Harlem, Tennessee and Ohio before escaping from the group at age 21."
Ross has yet to recoup the monies awarded to her and it is unclear where Jenkins is currently located, the complaint states.
In June 2018, the suit states Ross filed a motion for writ of execution that was granted in October 2018. According to the complaint, marshals attempted to serve Jenkins three times at his Kansas City address that had been used in various court filings. The suit says marshals were unable to locate Jenkins at that address.
Ross is represented pro bono by a legal team from McGuireWoods led by Betsy Hutson of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office, and by Gillian Chadwick of the Washburn Law Clinic in Topeka, Kansas.