AS Haley: A Small but Significant Victory for St. John's, Stockton
Monday, January 24, 2011
The thirteen individual defendants sued in Stockton, however, decided not to answer Bishop Lamb's complaint, but to file what is called in California a "demurrer" to it. A demurrer, in effect, says to the court: "So what if everything the plaintiff alleges in his complaint were true? Even if you regarded everything true as pled, the plaintiff still has not stated a claim on which you can grant any relief."
The vestry and rector of St. John's (Father Lee Nelson) thus challenged the sufficiency of Bishop Lamb's complaint against them, individually. They argued that since it was the parish corporation that owned legal title to all the property, there was no point in suing them for the property as well. They were legally the officers and directors of the parish corporation, to be sure; but in that capacity, they do not have any right to own or possess the corporate assets.
And last Thursday, in Stockton, Superior Court Judge Lesley D. Holland agreed with the defendants. He rejected Bishop Lamb's arguments that the individuals needed to be sued so that they could be ordered to vacate the property. He pointed out that Bishop Lamb had already sued the corporation itself, and that was sufficient in order to obtain the relief that he was requesting. There was no need to sue the corporate officers and directors as well. the rest