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Episcopal Case Remanded

Episcopal Case Remanded

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Published by TheLivingChurchdocs
U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck's ruling on property dispute
U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck's ruling on property dispute

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Published by: TheLivingChurchdocs on Jun 10, 2013
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09/20/2013

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IN
THE UNITED
STATES
DISTRICTCOURT
FOR
THE DISTRICT
OFSOUTH
CAROLINA
CHARLESTON
DIVISION
The Protestant EpiscopalChtuch
In
The
)Diocese
Of
South
Carolina;
The
Trustees
of
)The ProtestantEpiscopalChurch
in
South
)
Carolina,
a
South
Carolina
Corporate
Body;)
All
Saints
ProtestantEpiscopal
Church,
)
Inc.;
Christ
St.
Paul's
Episcopal
Church;
)
Christ
The
King,
Waccamaw; Chu¡ch
Of
)
TheCross,
Inc.
and
Church
Of
The
Cross
)
Declaration
Of
Trust;
Church
Of
The
)
Holy
Comforter;
Chu¡ch
of
the
Redeemer;
)
Holy
Trinity
Episcopal
Church;
Saint
)
Luke's
Church,
Hilton
Head;
Saint
)
Matthews Church;
St.
Andrews
Church-Mt.
)
Pleasantand
The
St.
Andrews
Church-Mt.
)Pleasant
Land
Trust;
St.
Bartholomews
)Episcopal
Church;
St.
Davids
Church;
)
St.
James'Church,
James
Island,S.C.;
St.
)
John's
Episcopal Church
of
Florence,
S.C.;
)
St.
Matthias
Episcopal
Church,Inc.;
St.
)
Paul's
EpiscopalChurch
of
Bennettsville,
)
Inc.;
St.
Paul's
Episcopal Church
of
)
Conway;
TheChurch
Of
St.
Luke
and
St.
)Paul,
Radcliffeboro;
The Church
Of
Our
)Saviour
Of
TheDiocese
of
South
Carolina;
)
The
Church
Of
The
Epiphany
(Episcopal);
)
The Church
Of
The
Good
Shepherd,
)Charleslon,S.C.; The Church
Of
The
Holy
)Cross; TheChurch
Of
The
Resurrection,
)Surfside; TheProtestantEpiscopal
Church,
)
Of
The Parish
Of
Saint
Philip,
In
Charleston)
InThe
State
Of
South
Carolina;
The
)
Protestant
Episcopal
Church,The Parish
Of
)Saint
Michael,
In
Charleston,
InThe
State
)
Of
South
Carolina
and
St.
Michael's
Church
)
Declaration Of Trust;
The
Vestry
and
)
Chtuch
Wardens
Of
St.
Jude'sChurch
Of
)
Walterboro;
The
Vestry
and
Church
)Wardens
Of
The
Episcopal
Church
Of
The
)Parish
Of
PrinceGeorge
Winyah;
The
)
Vestry
and
Church
Wardens
Of
The
)
Episcopal
ChurchOf
The Parish
of
St.
)Helena
and
TheParish
Church
Of
St.
Helena)
Civil
Action
No.:
2:13-00893-CWH
ORDER
Page
I
of20
 
Trust;
The
Vestry
and
ChurchWardens
Of
The EpiscopalChurch
Of
TheParish
of
St.
Matthew;
The
Vestry
and Wardens
of
St.
Paul's
Church,
Summerville;
Trinity
Church
of
Myrtle
Beach;
Trinity
EpiscopalChurch;
Trinity
EpiscopalChurch,
Pinopolis;VestryAnd
Church-Wardens
Of
the EpiscopalChurch
Of
TheParish
Of
Christ
Church;
Vestry
and
Church
Wardens
Of
TheEpiscopal Church
Of
TheParish
Of
St.
John's,
Charleston County,
Plaintiffs,
vs.
TheEpiscopalChurch
(alkla,The
Protestant
Episcopal
Church
in
the
United
States
ofAmerica);
TheEpiscopal
Church
in
South Carolina,Defendants.
This
matter
is
beforethe
Court
on
the
plaintifß'
motion
to
remand.
(ECF
No.
9).
For
thereasons
set
forth
inthis
Order, the
Court
grantsthe
plaintiffs'
motion.
I.
BACKGROIJNI)
This
case
arises
out
of
a
dispute
conceming
South Carolinareal
and
personal property,predicateduponThe Protestant EpiscopalChurch
in
the Diocese
of
South
Carolina's
(the
"Diocese's")
purported
membership
withdrawal
and
disaffiliation
from
TheEpiscopal Church
("TEC").
(Second
Am.
Compl.l27;
TEC'sAnswer
&
Coturtercls.49,
ffi42-43).
The
Diocese,
along
with
TheTrustees
of
The Protestant EpiscopalChurch
in
South
Carolina
(the"Trustees"),
and
thirty-fiveplaintiffparishes(collectively
"the
plaintiffs")
claim
that
TEC
and
TheEpiscopal
Church
in
South
Carolina
("ECSC')
(collectively
"the
defendants")
have
no
"legal,beneficial or
equitable interest
in[,]"
or "authority
to
possess,
divert,
encumber,alienate,transfer, or use"
any
)
)))
)
)
))))
)))
)
))
)))
))
)
)
a
Page2
of20
 
of
the
Diocese'sreal
and
personal
propertyr
presently
disputed.
(Second
Am,
Compl.
f[I505(g)-
(i)).All
partiescontend they
are
the
lawful
and
rightful
possessors/users
of
the
real
and
personal
property
at
issue.
(Second
Am.
Compl.
f
aga(c);
TEC's
Answer
&
Countercls,
51,
Tf[
5l-52).
A.
Tnn PlRrrBs
l.
The
Plaintiffs
TheDioceseis
a
non-profit,
charitable
corporation,
incorporated
in
1973,
with
its
headquarters
in
Charleston, South
Carolina,
(Second
Am.
Compl.
I
1;
TEC's Answer
&
Countercls.39,
T
2).
The Diocese
wasone
of
the
participating
entitiesthat
voluntarily
coalesced
to form TEC
in
1789.
(Second
Am.
Compl.
IT9-10).
The Dioceseis
currently
underthemanagement,
direction,
and
controlof
persons
who
have
disaffiliated,
andbeen
removed
ftom,
the
communion of
TEC,
(ECSC'sAnswer,
Affirmative
Defenses,
&
Countercls,
t[fl
526-27\.The
Trustees
is
a
SouthCa¡olina
non-profrt corporation,
incorporated
in
1902.
(Second
Am.
Compl.l29;TEC's
Answer
&
Countercls.
39,
fl
3).
TheTrustees' purpose
is
to
receive,
hold,
and
devise real
and
personal
propefy
voluntarily
surrendered
orgiftedto
it.
(Second
Am,
Compl.lt3l).
The Board
of
Directorsof
the
Trustees
consists
of
eightmembersmeeting
at
least
quarterly;Bishop
Mark
J.
Lawrenceis
an
ex
officio
member
with
a
seat
and
voice
but novote.(Second
Am.
Compl,
1[
30).
The
plaintiff
parishes
amountto
thirty-five
South
Carolina non-profit
corporationslocated
throughout
the
state;
a
number
of
the
plaintiff
parishes
not
only
preexisted the
Diocese
and
TEC,but
also
the
formation of
the
UnitedStates.
(Pls.'
Reply
toECSC
Resp.
to
Mot.
to
t
On
November
8,2010,the Dioceseregistered
four
servicemarkspursuant
to
S.C.
Code
$$
39-
l5-1105
et
seq,,.
The Diocese-ownedmarks
are
"The
Diocese
of
South
Carolina", "The
EpiscopalDiocese
of
South
Carolina", "The
Protestant
Episcopal Church
in
theDiocese
of
South
Carolina",
and
the
seal
of
the Diocese
of
South
Carolina.
(Second
Am.
Compl.T
l9).
Page
3
of20
Fk"

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