Tuesday, December 31, 2013

SC court rejects bid to add Bishop Lawrence to lawsuit

30 Dec 2013
Jan Pringle

St. George, SC, December 30, 2013 – South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein today denied efforts by The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) to expand its lawsuit by adding claims against four diocesan officials.

The judge, who had only a few months ago rejected efforts by the national Episcopal Church to drag literally all of the diocese’s officers into the suit, said there was no reason to single out the specific members of the clergy for acting consistent with the wishes of the Diocese as approved by literally thousands of members of the diocese.

In November, TECSC had asked the judge to expand its suit to include Bishop Mark Lawrence and three other clerics, alleging that actions they took to withdraw the diocese from the denomination were outside the scope of their legal authority and violated state law. In denying the motion, Judge Goodstein briefly referenced a last minute TECSC affidavit that asserted an early conspiracy to leave TEC. The Very Rev. Paul Fuener, a priest named in the affidavit, observed, “I am confident that his recollection of our interview is seriously in error, if not worse.”

In its official response to the motion, the diocese filed a document that stated, in part: “The allegations on any paper other than one filed in a court would be libelous. … In an era when the public believes the legal profession contributes very little to society’s well-being, the … motion serves only to support that belief.”

Following the judge’s decision, the diocese expressed gratitude:

“We are grateful that Judge Goodstein dismissed this most recent effort to harass our people with time-consuming, expensive litigation,” said Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese. “Attorneys for both TEC and TECSC have tried to distract attention from the denomination’s efforts to seize our property by suing our clergy and pursuing our lay leadership. The judge’s decision ends the legal fishing expedition and forces all to focus on the only issue that matters: whether our religious freedom is protected.”  the rest

Judge impedes Episcopalians' efforts to portray conspiracy to leave church and take assets


Post a Comment

<< Home