Sunday, January 11, 2015

Challenge To Catholic School's Entrance Requirements Dismissed Under Ecclesiastical Abstention Doctrine

In In re Vida, (TX App., Jan. 7, 2015), a Texas state appeals court held that under the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine, a trial court must dismiss for lack of jurisdiction a suit by parents of a Catholic school kindergartner against the school superintendent.  The suit alleging negligence, tortious interference with contract and conspiracy was filed after the school refused to admit the student to first grade because she failed to meet the 6-year old age requirement.  The court said:
Just as the courts cannot question the admission requirements for Catholic churches, they also do not have jurisdiction to consider a claim arising from the admission requirements for Catholic schools which “are subject to the authority of the Church” under Canon Law.