Prevailed On Appeal To Overturn A Judgment Entered Against Our Clients
Our clients comprised a faction of church congregants, headed by its founding pastor. The founding pastor had worshiped with his congregation at their Church venue for over twenty-five years. As the time came for the founding pastor to retire, he selected a successor pastor to replace him. The successor pastor assumed control of Church affairs. The founding pastor remained a part of the Church, as its Emeritus Pastor.
Soon after assuming control, the successor pastor announced that substantial changes were to occur at the Church. These changes included an abandoning of certain fundamental Church principles and practices, including a then existing affiliation between the Church and its denomination’s hierarchical bodies. Our clients’ faction of the Church opposed such changes and became known as the Traditional Faction (“Traditional Faction”).
The new pastor became disenchanted with the Traditional Faction and he excluded them from participating in Church activities. Prior to our engagement, the new pastor initiated legal action and sought a court order enjoining the Traditional Faction and the founding pastor from entering upon Church property. This order was granted and became a judgment.
This firm prepared and filed an appeal and then presented oral argument to the District Court of Appeals. The Appellate Court was thereby persuaded to reverse and vacate the trial court’s prior order against our clients. On remand, the Traditional Faction of the Church pursued its own legal action to: (1) obtain access to Church activities; (2) maintain traditional Church principles and practices through control of the pulpit; and (3) perpetuate the Church’s connection with its existing hierarchical bodies. Subsequently, a summary judgment order was obtained on behalf of our clients, who were then granted full possession and control of their Church.