Bishop asks federal court to reconsider dismissal
September 17, 2013
The Bishop of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has asked the U.S. District Court to reconsider the recent decision to dismiss a federal lawsuit against Mark Lawrence.
Attorneys for the Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg filed a Motion for Reconsideration on September 16 in U.S. District Court in Charleston, along with a Memorandum of Law and other documents supporting the motion. It asks Judge C. Weston Houck to give further consideration to specific facts and legal principles and apply them in reconsidering his August 23 ruling to abstain from and dismiss the case.
The federal lawsuit, vonRosenberg v. Lawrence, was filed in March, seeking to keep Bishop Lawrence from representing himself as the bishop of the diocese and asking the court to find that only Bishop vonRosenberg, as The Episcopal Church’s recognized bishop, should control the name and marks of the diocese.
A separate case in South Carolina Circuit Court is currently proceeding with written discovery. That lawsuit was originally filed in January by former church leaders and some 34 parishes in eastern South Carolina who say they have “disassociated” from The Episcopal Church. It seeks control of the name, seal and properties of the diocese under state law that governs nonprofit corporations. The group continues to call itself “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” and recognizes Mark Lawrence as its bishop.
In other legal matters, the Episcopal Church in South Carolina has filed a separate legal action asking the federal court to rule that its liability insurance policy provides coverage for the state lawsuit.
Attorneys for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina contacted the Church Insurance Company of Vermont in writing in August. The company denied coverage, prompting the legal action to clarify the matter, according to Thomas S. Tisdale, Jr., Chancellor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. The case also has been assigned to Judge Houck.
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