Friday, December 27, 2019

Suit Over Unification Church Leadership Is Dismissed

In Hyung Jin "Sean" Moon v. Hak Ja Han Moon, (SD NY, Dec. 19, 2019), a New York federal district court applied the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine to dismiss a suit over who is the rightful leader of the Unification Church. The leadership struggle was between the wife and the son of Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Summarizing its holding, the court said:
[N]otwithstanding plaintiff's efforts to cast this proceeding as a "classic corporate dispute" resolvable by reference to neutral principles of law,... this matter is, at bottom, the latest chapter in a protracted controversy over who should replace the late Rev. Moon as leader of the Unification Church. Because this Court may not, consistent with the First Amendment, intervene in that dispute, plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed in its entirety for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.