The Death of Jack Slee

Died during an est Training :

James “Jack” Slee died on August 14, 1983, while standing on the stage of the Park Plaza Hotel’s Grand Ballroom in New Haven, Connecticut. When the first responders arrived in the form of the New Haven fire rescue squad, the firefighters were initially prevented from entering the ballroom to treat Slee.

A $5 million lawsuit filed by Slee’s family in 1984 was decided by a federal Jury in Connecticut, in October 1992. Though the jury did find Werner Erhard and his company had been negligent and caused Jack Slee severe emotional distress, they ruled that the est training did not “proximately cause” Slee’s death. (Pressman 210)

Earlier, in November 1983, the Connecticut State Medical Examiner’s office cited emotional stress as a factor in Slee’s death: “Mr. Slee collapsed in a situation in which high emotional stress could be expected. Such emotional stress may have neural and hormonal effects which are deleterious to cardiac rhythm..” (Pressman 208)

Additional resources:

James Slee article on Answers.com

The death of Jack Slee, est participant, August 14, 1983 – excerpted from Steven Pressman’s book: Outrageous Betrayal, The Dark Journey of Werner Erhard from est to Exile. See also more excerpts from the book Outrageous Betrayal: Enlightenment in Two Weekends – The est Training, and A Door to Door Mind Salesman.

Slee v. Erhard 7 F.3d 220 (1993) – United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

Google News Archives search, newspaper articles (1984 – 1991)

See also archived news articles:

The Chronicle Telegram, September 23, 1984, Elyria, Ohio

The Daily Intelligencer, September 23, 1984, Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Syracuse Herald-Journal, September 24, 1984, Syracuse, New York

The Capital, September 24, 1984, Annapolis, Maryland

“PHHT! GURU OF EST CULT VANISHES EX-USED-CAR SALESMAN, REVILED AND IDOLIZED, LEAVES LENGTHY TRAIL OF QUESTIONS, LAWSUITS”, Rocky Mountain News, May 9, 1991

“New Age guru dogged by worldly troubles Est founder Werner Erhard unfound, leaving trail of innuendo and accusations”, April 28, 1991, Elizabeth Fernandez, Dallas Morning News

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