Sweat Lodge Suit Filed

Motivational speaker is at the center of a criminal investigation

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Yavapai County Sheriff's Office/AP
    This photo provided by the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office shows a "sweatbox" structure at Angel Valley resort in Sedona, Ariz., where two people deid and 19 others fell ill.

    The first of what could be a flurry of lawsuits stemming from a sweat lodge ceremony led by Carlsbad author and motivational speaker James Arthur Ray in northern Arizona was filed on Friday.

    The family of one of three people who died after the Oct. 8 sweat ceremony filed a wrongful death suit, and a southern Arizona woman who was badly hurt also filed suit.

    Both accuse Ray, the owners of the Angel Valley Retreat Center where his retreat was held and others of negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraud and other actions.

    A call seeking comment from Ray's attorney wasn't immediately returned. Amayra Hamilton, who with her husband owns Angel Valley, says there was nothing wrong with the lodge itself and she had no part in how Ray ran the ceremony.

    The deaths and 18 other hospitalized happened at the end of a five-day Ray-led "Spiritual Warrior" program.

    Ray cleared his schedule for the rest of the year saying he wants to concentrate his time and resources on bringing closure to what happened.

    He is currently the focus of a criminal investigation. No charges have been filed.