Friday, May 17, 2013

Louisiana Appeals Court Upholds Election, Injunctive Relief In Baptist Church Dispute

In Thornton v. Carthon, 2013 La. App. LEXIS 923 (LA App., May 15, 2013), a Louisiana state appeals court affirmed the trial court's decision confirming the court-ordered election of the board of trustees of Shreveport's Baptist Temple Church.  Some of the newly elected trustees had been attempting to call a membership meeting to oust Rev. Alvin Carthon as the church's pastor.  The trial court found, and the appeals court agreed, that a membership meeting purporting to vote Carthon out had been premature, but that Carthon should be enjoined from entering the church without court approval and from acting on behalf of the church in any natter. Affirming the trial court's judgment, the appeals court said: "The court's rulings sanctioning the newly-elected Board and holding Rev. Carthon's immediate participation in abeyance were clearly aimed at allowing the Board and church membership time to deliberate and choose the ministerial leadership for the church."