Man Who Said He Didn't Get To Fly Awarded $138,000

The Washington Post/January 14, 1987

U.S. District Court jury here ordered two Transcendental Meditation organizations yesterday to pay almost $138,000 to a man who contended said the organizations falsely promised he could learn to fly.

The World Plan Executive Council-United States and the Maharishi International University of Fairfield, Iowa, were held liable for fraud and negligence by the federal court jury.

The jury awarded Robert Kropinski $137,890 but refused to grant the punitive damages he had sought in a $9 million lawsuit.

Kropinski, 36, contended he suffered psychological and emotional damage during his 11-year association with Transcendental Meditation.

He testified that he was given false promises including that twice-daily practice of chanting a single sound, would reduce stress, improve his memory, reverse the aging process and promote good health.

Jurors in the month-long trial before U.S. District Judge Oliver Gasch heard testimony about Transcendential Meditation followers reading books with their eyes closed and attempting to fly through a technique known as self-levitation.

The suit alleged that students learned only to "hop with the legs folded in the lotus position."

Mike Tompkins, a spokesman for the organizations, said the groups were deciding whether to appeal the verdict.

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