SC Court of Appeals Denies TEC Appeal

The Court of Appeals effectively said it will not tolerate legal shenanigans to delay a trial to decide whether the denomination may seize South Carolina property, including churches and the diocesan symbols. In asking the Court of Appeals to dismiss the action, the Diocese of South Carolina argued that TECSC is appealing a court order that is “unappealable”.

South Carolina’s Court of Appeals justices agreed.

“We are grateful that the court recognized that TEC and TECSC are misusing the judicial system to delay resolution of this case,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese. “Their strategy of using legal motions to delay court decisions caused eight months to be wasted when they asked the federal court to override the state court injunction. As in that matter, the courts sided with the Diocese of South Carolina.”

TEC has a long history of dragging out legal battles, apparently in hopes of draining the resources of parishes and dioceses it seeks to punish for leaving the denomination. According to the latest published reports, TEC has spent more than $40 million on litigation in the past few years. TEC routinely appeals court decisions in hopes of wearing down its opposition ”“ and to intimidate parishes and dioceses that wish to leave the denomination.

Read it all.

The background to this story is here.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, Theology

13 comments on “SC Court of Appeals Denies TEC Appeal

  1. Milton Finch says:

    So, how much will this shorten the overall legal process? Three years, possibly?

  2. Ralph says:

    In the process of “…draining the resources of parishes and dioceses it seeks to punish…” where does all that money go?

    Yep – straight to the Bentley dealer, via the lawyers who need to keep the legal action going. Follow the Money Trail.

    Perhaps the lawyers and Bentley dealers tithe some of it back to their churches, so maybe some diocesan and parish funds are being used for the purpose for which they were originally intended!

  3. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Very good news indeed. Nor surprising at all, but still very welcome.

    I understand the cynicism expressed by #1 and 2 above when it comes to lawyers and the whole legal process, which is often terribly slow and always inordinately expensive. But even though David Booth Beers may be the man we all love to hate, in the end the fact remains that this scandalous, draconian, foolish, and utterly reprehensible legal strategy that TEC has been following during the tenure of +KJS isn’t his fault. It’s hers. And the Executive Council must share in the blame. Shame on them all.

    David Handy+

  4. tjmcmahon says:

    I wonder if Mr. Haley or another knowledgeable attorney could comment on how this relates to the earlier request of the diocese to have this determined at the SC Supreme Court level. Does this indeed put everything back on track for a trial over the summer, or can TEC now appeal the Appeals Court ruling up to the S Carolina Supreme Court, just dragging things out longer?

  5. SC blu cat lady says:

    TJ, I have mentioned the same thing other places- How does this affect the Diocese’s appeal to SC Supreme Court?? From what I understand the trial is scheduled for July and should happen in July.

  6. tjmcmahon says:

    #5, I am confident that between the Diocese and Mr. Haley, we will all be brought up to speed over the next couple days. Regardless of the specifics re: action by the S Carolina Supreme Court, this is clearly a victory for the Diocese of S Carolina at the Appeals Court level.

  7. SC blu cat lady says:

    Agreed, TJ. I would love to know what happened to that appeal. Did the Supreme Court give it over to the Court of Appeals and they made the decision? Yes, hopefully we know soon.

  8. tjmcmahon says:

    #7, I cannot speak authoritatively myself, but I have received information from reliable people who understand all of this that the decision by the Appeals Court is indeed on the same matter, and that while who knows what other legal shenanigans TEC might pull out of their hat, this decision is completely supportive of the trial court’s previous rulings, and that the trial should go forward this summer as scheduled.

  9. SC blu cat lady says:

    Hi TJ,
    Yes, TECinSC appealed to the Court of Appeals to overturn Judge Diane Goodstein’s interlocutory order in hopes of delaying the trial. From what I have head from attorney friends- interlocutory orders are *unappealable*. So why did TECin SC appeal?? In the hopes that the court of appeals would agree with them is my guess. Then the Diocese’s appeal to the SC Supreme Court was on the same matter (i.e. the appeal and delay tactic by TEC). My question is: Does this court of appeals decision stomp any notion of further delay of the trial scheduled for July? I can see TECinSc trying another tactic to delay once more. I believe that was why the diocese had appealed to the SC Supreme Court so that TEc could not pull the tactic of appealing and appealing and delaying and delaying. Just wondering if this Court of Appeals ruling is “final” or can they appeal this decision as well? Mr. Haley? Mr Runyan? where art thou? Can someone please explain?

  10. TexasJoe says:

    SC Court of Appeals denies denominatinal takeover of church property:

    “The General Conference of the Free Will Baptist Church of the
    Pentecostal Faith (“the Conference”) appeals the circuit court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of New Hope Church (“New Hope”) on the grounds that New Hope owned the property on which it was situated free and clear of any legal interest claimed by the Conference. We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities: Rule 56(c), SCRCP (stating that summary
    judgment is proper when no genuine issue exists as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law); Jones v. Wolf, 443 U.S. 595, 603 (1979) (stating that when resolving disputes over the ownership of church property, courts must rely “exclusively on objective, well-established concepts of trust and property law familiar to lawyers and judges.”); S.C. Code Ann. § 62-7-
    401(a)(2) (Supp. 2013) (“To be valid, a trust of real property, created by transfer in trust or by declaration of trust, must be proved by some writing signed by the party creating the trust.”); All Saints Parish Waccamaw v. Protestant Episcopal Church
    in the Diocese of S.C., 385 S.C. 428, 449, 685 S.E.2d 163, 174 (2009) (“It is an axiomatic principle of law that a person or entity must hold title to property in order to declare that it is held in trust for the benefit of another or transfer legal title to one person for the benefit of another.”).

  11. SC blu cat lady says:

    Thanks Texas Joe, That is a very interesting ruling in that the precedent is the All Saints Waccamaw case. I do know that in the case of this current TEC appeal that has been denied by the SC Circuit of Appeals the only place left for TEC and TECinSC to appeal is the SC Supreme Court. Have you read the [url=] recent Texas Supreme Court decisions[/url]? Very good news for Bishop Iker and his diocese!

  12. hoggy says:

    She will eventually break the church. All she does is sue people and throw every dime at the lawyers.

  13. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Prayers for the wonderful diocese of South Carolina and its continued protection from the evil one.