Petition filed with Texas Supreme Court
The Diocese of Fort Worth and its Corporation took the next step today in defense of our church property against the hostile claims of parties representing The Episcopal Church (TEC).
Attorneys for the Diocese have filed a Petition for Review with the Texas Supreme Court regarding the April 2018 opinion released by the state’s Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, which relied on old Deference standards to reverse the trial court’s 2015 Summary Judgment ruling.
In 2013, the Texas Supreme Court directed the lower courts to decide the property issues according to Neutral Principles of state law. The trial court did so in 2015, granting summary judgment in favor of the Diocese. The TEC plaintiffs appealed, and the now nine-year-old case was left pending for two years in the appellate court. The Petition argues that when finally released, the opinion contradicted the explicit instructions from the Supreme Court to apply state law rather than deferring all property decisions to TEC.
Now, with this second appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, the Diocese asks for a review of the April opinion and reinstatement of the trial court’s 2015 Final Judgment. “Under Neutral Principles of state law,” the petition argues, “a minority group cannot take control of an existing legal entity by forming another with the same name and demanding that the state law be ignored.”
If the Court accepts the appeal, it may call for oral argument sometime next year.
Recognizing that our times are in God’s hands and that the blessings of this life come from Him alone, we continue to pray for the wisdom of the courts and the conclusion of this dispute.