THE TRUTH ABOUT THE LAWSUITS
Kendall Harmon has posted on his blog a flatly untrue statement that must be set straight.
On July 17, on his blog, TitusOneNine ( kendallharmon.net) he posted a note entitled "A Look Back to the Episcopal Church in 2007..." He wrote:
"There is not one but two active lawsuits by the Episcopal Church against the Diocese of South Carolina currently ongoing at the present time." This is a very serious charge that is false.
Here is the truth:
There are indeed two lawsuits but neither was started by the Episcopal Church and neither was against the Diocese of South Carolina.
Lawsuit # 1, was entered in state court by the Diocese of South Carolina on January 4, 2013 against the Episcopal Church. A few days later, the Church diocese, called the Episcopal Church in South Carolina was added as a defendant. THE DSC SUED THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
This went to trial in the circuit court of Dorchester County in July of 2014. Judge Goodstein's ruling entirely favorable to the DSC was appealed to the South Carolina Supreme Court which held a hearing on Sept. 23, 2015. We are still awaiting the written decision from that hearing.
Lawsuit # 2, was issued by Bishop Charles vonRosenberg against Bishop Mark Lawrence in March of 2013 in the United States District Court (federal court) in Charleston. Bp vonR charged that Lawrence was in violation of the federal Lanham Act, that protects against trademark infringement, because Bp Lawrence was holding himself out to be the bishop of the Episcopal diocese of SC even though he had left the Episcopal Church.
The federal judge (Houck) refused to act and deferred to the state court proceeding whereupon the Church lawyers appealed to the federal appeals court. That court remanded the case to the lower court with direction for adjudication. The local judge refused again whereupon the Church lawyers once again went to the appeals court that, a second time, remanded the case to Charleston with direction for adjudication. Six months on we are still awaiting Judge Houck's action.
Let's separate fact from fiction. Facts are the Diocese of South Carolina sued the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church bishop sued the former Episcopal Church bishop. These were not initiated by the Episcopal Church. These were not made against the Diocese of South Carolina.