April 26, 2009

Catching Up on Calvary Litigation Documents

When I wrote my last post on the Calvary lawsuit against deposed bishop Robert Duncan and his allies—see “A Hearing at Last”—some of the court documents relevant to the discussion had not yet found their way to the site of the Allegheny County prothonotary. Now that those documents are available, I want to make others aware of them.

Although not all documents that are a part of Calvary Church vs. Robert Duncan, et al., are available on the Web, many are. Some time ago, however, they were made more difficult to find. In particular, one needs to know the specific case number of the litigation to access a complete list of available documents. That case number for the Calvary litigation is GD-03-020941. This number has to be entered at the top of the Select CaseID page. Upon clicking the OK button at the bottom of the page, visitors are taken to the page about the Calvary lawsuit that has links to documents under the heading “Docket Entries.” Most of the documents are PDFs from scanned paper documents, which is why, in my blog posts, I have usually linked to PDFs generated from such documents by the OCR function of Adobe Acrobat.

Well, so much for that little housekeeping digression. On to substance.

One filing I did not mention earlier was from the plaintiffs, as it is short and unremarkable. Titled “Consent to Intervention by The Episcopal Church” and filed April 16, 2009, the three-page document makes the unsurprising statement that the plaintiffs have no objection to the entry into the case of The Episcopal Church. In fact, of course, they welcome it. You can read the document here.

The other new documents were all filed April 21, 2009. Three are motions dated April 14, 2009, along with corresponding orders signed by Judge Joseph James on April 17, 2009. They seek to admit each of three attorneys to the case as lawyers representing The Episcopal Church. (The motions seek to admit the attorneys pro hac vice, which is to say, to admit them to represent a client in a jurisdiction in which they are not licensed to practice. Attorneys for the defendants had argued against allowing The Episcopal Church to enter the case.) The attorneys are David Booth Beers, Soyong Cho, and Mary Kostel, all of the Washington law firm Goodwin Proctor LLP. Beers, of course, is the Presiding Bishop’s chancellor. Kostel is chancellor of the Diocese of Washington and special counsel to the Presiding Bishop for property litigation and discipline. (You can read the motions and orders here for Beers, Cho, and Kostel.)

The remaining documents reflect the court orders on which I reported earlier.

On January 9, 2009, plaintiffs asked the special master to deliver diocesan assets to the continuing Episcopal Church diocese in accordance with paragraph 1 of the October 2005 stipulation. The defense, not surprisingly, objected, filing “Motion to Strike Request to Special Master and Notice to Plead” on January 20, 2009. On April 17, Judge James signed the proposed order provided in that document, changing it significantly. That order reads:
AND NOW this 17th day of APR 2009, upon consideration of the Motion to Strike Request to Special Master and Notice to Plead, the said Motion is GRANTED and it is ORDERED that the Request to Special Master and Notice to Plead are striken denied.
Likewise, defandants’ attempt to keep Diocese of Pittsburgh chancellor Andy Roman out of the case resulted in this order, modified from that proposed by the defendants:
AND NOW this 17th day of APR 2009, upon consideration of the Motion to Strike Praecipe for Entry of Appearance, the said Motion is GRANTED and it is ORDERED that the Praecipe for Entrance of Appearance of Andrew Roman on behalf of “The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America” is striken denied.
And so we are now ready to determine if, as Calvary Church, et al., contend, the October 2005 stipulation has been violated by the defendants, requiring that diocesan assets be returned to representatives of The Episcopal Church.

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