In Stoupine v. Petrovsky, (NJ App., April 30. 2012), a New Jersey state appellate court, invoking the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine, dismissed a lawsuit between factions of the St. Nicholas Russian Eastern Orthodox Church in Red Bank, NJ. At issue was a dispute between members of the parish council and the church's new rector over who had control of the church's bank accounts. Members of the parish council appealed to the church hierarchy which ultimately ruled that transfer of funds to a new account initiated by the former and the new rectors was proper. The court said:
we cannot divine an adjudicatory role for a civil court in this case that would not intrude upon the church's ecclesiastical domain.... In essence, plaintiffs want the court to reverse the actions of the ecclesiastical hierarchy respecting church governance.... Matters of church governance, predicated upon its canons and hierarchical structure, should not be the subject of secular judicial resolution.