The Virginia Supreme Court Decision in the Falls Church Case (IV): A.S. Haley's Analysis

The Court says that Virginia is a State that follows and applies “neutral principles of law,” but don’t let that fool you. What exactly is so “neutral” about (a) judges creating a trust out of whole cloth that the parties themselves never formalized, so that (b) a church like ECUSA can secure a windfall for the unjust enrichment of one of its dioceses?

Justice Powell’s result rests entirely upon her finding that a “fiduciary relationship” existed between The Falls Church and the national Church. But she spends no time whatsoever in examining the particulars of such a relationship, or deciding just when and how it actually came into being.

Fiduciary relationships are very special in the eyes of the law. A fiduciary is a person or entity in whom one confides (such as a client with his attorney, a patient with his psychiatrist, or a penitent with his priest) — or it can also be a person or entity to whom one entrusts money or property, such as a client with his stockbroker or banker. Or it can simply be the trustee who holds certain property in trust for what the law calls the beneficiary of that trust — the person for whose benefit the trust was established.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

2 comments on “The Virginia Supreme Court Decision in the Falls Church Case (IV): A.S. Haley's Analysis

  1. Brian from T19 says:

    After reading all of A.S. Haley’s analyses of court decisions, I find it indeed troubling how nearly every single court and judge in the United States seems to completely misunderstand the law. How are these judges getting their jobs?

  2. pendennis88 says:

    So denominational trusts are now valid in Virginia. And it is not possible to designate charitable contributions in Virginia. One question I have had is whether this will come back to haunt the TEC diocese. Frequently in the past, parishioners have wanted to make donations to their local parish. Well, there are no such donations any more. You write a check, you are writing it to TEC. Do they think that will not influence people in their future stewardship and capital campaigns? My guess is they are hoping that parishioners will not hear about that, and are possibly willing to try to decieve donors about it, but I suspect that many will be aware, and if they are not fine with it, won’t be as generous as before. If this church belongs to TEC, let TEC pay for it, may be the attitude. There are other needs that good stewardship might lead one to help with.