Developments in Fort Worth this week (III)–Insurance Company Sues Diocese led by Bp. Jack Iker

From here:

On April 25, 2011 Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, which has issued directors’ and officers’ liability insurance to the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, sued the break-away faction led since November 15, 2008 by former Bishop Jack Leo Iker. A copy of the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Dallas, is HERE.

Among other things, the complaint seeks a declaration that, based on Judge Chupp’s amended summary judgment order signed February 8, 2011 and the Fort Worth Court of Appeals June 25, 2010 opinion that there can be only one Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, the Iker-led diocese affiliated with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone is not an insured under the directors’ and officers’ liability policy issued by the plaintiff. The complaint described the Iker faction as “a different entity formed by former clergy and members of (The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth)” and alleges that this entity “is not a Named Insured and cannot claim benefits of the Policy.” The complaint also seeks to halt a pending arbitration concerning the Iker-led diocese’s insurance claim for attorneys’ fees and defense costs relating to the litigation about the break-away.

The continuing Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, still a diocese of The Episcopal Church, is not a party to this new action



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9 comments on “Developments in Fort Worth this week (III)–Insurance Company Sues Diocese led by Bp. Jack Iker

  1. Northwest Bob says:

    Surprise, surprise! An insurance company that loves collecting premiums, but balks at the possibility of having to pay a claim. Wonder who planted this little nugget in their ear? Could it have been Her Most Reverndship’s legal counsel?
    In the Faith,
    NW Bob

  2. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    How very odd:
    1. that this information is released from the faux diocese of Fort Worth;
    2. that this insurance company has sought a declaration in very much the terms that the faux diocese has sought that the Iker diocese is not the real diocese of Fort Worth;
    3. that it comes on the back of attempts by the faux diocese by any means, fair or foul, to run up costs and start any proceedings it can to go around the existing court decisions;
    4. that having taken advantage of the provision in the insurance agreement that all disputes are subject to arbitration, they are seeking to go behind the back of the already apparently constituted Arbitration Panel to seek a Court declaration, but still claiming the right to rely on arbitration in the event that they lose.

    It all depends on the facts and on the relevant law, but it is all very odd. One wonders, given the above, whether other dioceses of TEC insure with them, and whether pressure has been applied from the dirty tricks department of David Booth Beers of Goodwin Proctor LLP. The shysters have been busy, I expect.

    I will be interested to see what the Curmudgeon has to say. Must go and check.

  3. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    I still think at some time, a serious look into the conflict between the interests of Goodwin Proctor and Beers as a member of that firm, and the interests of TEC who Beers has been acting as both instructing client and lawyer for to channel work and enormous fee income into Goodwin Proctor from TEC should be undertaken. Also it is worth looking into the oversight arrangements between Katherine Jeffert Schori personally and David Booth Beers personally as this is on the most casual view an arrangement where the conflict of interest inherant in the situation would have led to one to expect that other lawyers would be instructed, rather than money and work channelled into Goodwin Proctor by Beers/Schori.

    It stinks.

  4. Cennydd13 says:

    As I’ve said several times, [i]there is no level to which Schori and Company will not stoop in order to win.[/i] This is just another in a long list of shenanigans…..all of which prove that they are getting desperate.

  5. NoVA Scout says:

    Insurers have a legitimate interest in clarity about whom they are insuring. The departing group, by retaining very similar nomenclature to the group it left, clouded the issue needlessly. I have always suspected that the continuing use of Episcopal terminology is motivated by an effort by the seceding group to enhance claims to property. However, whether I’m correct about that or not is irrelevant in this context. From the vantage point of the insurer, there is potential for confusion and this is a good way to clarify it. I would think the directors of the Insurer would be remiss not to resolve this definitively.

  6. NoVA Scout says:

    Insurers have a legitimate interest in certainty as to the identity and interests of their insureds. The issue here is directly caused by the departing faction’s decision to continue to use nomenclature that implies that they are the “Episcopal” diocese. Given their views of the Episcopal Church, I don’t think it a stretch to conclude that the adherence to the “Episcopal” nomenclature is a stratagem of the seceding group to enhance property claims. Whether I’m right or wrong about the motivation is not particularly relevant in this context. However, it does create real uncertainty that the Insurer is entitled to dispel. This would not be an issue but for the efforts of the departing elements to hold themselves out as “Episcopal.”

    I find nothing in the link that documents that Goodwin Procter or “Schori and Company” are involved in this suit.

  7. MCPLAW says:

    No offense guys, but these conspiracy theories are a little nutty. Iker made a claim on an insurance policy, and the insurance company does not want to pay. I assure you they needed no encouragment from TEC to tell their adjusters to find a way to refuse to pay. That is what insurance companies do. Also, they need no help from TEC in finding a basis for denying a claim. They were looking for a way out the day the claim was filed. Chupps order gave them what they needed to hang their hat on.

  8. NoVA Scout says:

    Insurers have a legitimate interest in knowing with precision the identity of their insureds. The situation here is confused because the departing group chose to retain the “brand” identifiers of the group they left. This seems like a responsible and unremarkable action by the insurer to get clarification of its obligations. There is no indication in the links that it the result of unethical conduct by any of the persons rather freely and immoderately chastised by the previous commenters.

  9. NoVA Scout says:

    It seems legitimate that an insurer would want to know with certainty the identity of its insureds. This suit seems relatively unremarkable. The confusion comes from the effort of the departing group to cling to “Episcopal” nomenclature in its operations. My personal opinion is that they are doing so to enhance their legal position as they strive to gain property. But, whether I am correct or not, it does create a problem for entities like insurers, who have every right to clarity on the subject of who benefits from insurance contracts. After looking at the links, I see no indication that this reflects in any way (positively or negatively) on the Episcopal Church. Statements implying ethical lapses (or shenanigans) seem groundlessly extreme.