Sunday, May 17, 2009

Developments In Two Episcopal Church Claims To Property of Breakaway Parishes

In Pennsylvania, the Episcopal Church has filed a complaint (as Plaintiff-in-Intervention) in an ongoing lawsuit, seeking a declaratory judgment that it, rather than the break-away diocese that has affiliated with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, is the proper authority to control the real and personal property of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The complaint-in-intervention (full text) in Calvary Episcopal Church v. Right Reverend Robert William Duncan, (PA Com. Pl., filed 5/12/2009), also asks for an order requiring breakaway Bishop Robert Duncan and his followers to vacate the property of the Pittsburgh diocese and to furnish an accounting. A report by Virtue Online on Friday describes the lawsuit from the perspective of the breakaway diocese.

Meanwhile in California, an Orange County Superior Court judge has refused to impose sanctions for filing a frivolous claim on St. James Church, which disaffiliated from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in 2004. Steadfast in Faith reports that the case began as suit by the Episcopal Diocese against St. James and two other breakaway parishes. (Timeline.) They in turn filed anti-SLAPP motions, which were denied by the California Supreme Court. (See prior posting.) The Episcopal Diocese sought sanctions arguing that the anti-SLAPP motions were frivolous. St. James has filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court in the underlying lawsuit. (See prior posting.)