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Statement of Counsel for St. James Anglican Church, NewportBeach, CA
titusonenine ^ | 6/17/2005 | Eric C. Sohlgren

Posted on 06/17/2005 4:53:41 PM PDT by sionnsar

On Wednesday, June 15, 2005, St. James Anglican Church, Newport Beach, California, filed a countersuit against the Bishop and Diocese of Los Angeles in the Superior Court of California, alleging that they breached a written promise made years ago that they would not attempt to claim St. James property. The cross-complaint alleges that by initiating a lawsuit against St. James Church and its volunteer vestry members in September 2004, Bishop Bruno and the Diocese of Los Angeles breached that promise:

“St. James Church thought that Bishop J. Jon Bruno and the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, as a religious leader and institution, would keep a promise not to assert any claim over property owned by St. James Church. Instead, Bishop Bruno and the Diocese have broken that promise, causing substantial damage and threat of further damage to St. James Church.

“Fourteen years ago, prior to purchasing and improving property with funds raised by it, St. James Church sought and obtained a written promise from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and its Bishop that the[y] would never claim ownership or control over that property.

“Little did St. James Church know that after raising millions of dollars from its members, and acquiring and improving its property by building a new sanctuary, educational and administrative buildings, [the Diocese of Los Angeles and its Bishop] would do precisely what they had promised not to do: claim ownership and control over the very property which their promise induced [St. James] Church to acquire and improve.”

St. James Church has been extremely patient in hoping that Bishop Bruno, the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Episcopal Church would see the light and drop their suit aimed at grabbing property they do not own and to which they do not hold title. We have said all along that this was an aggressive and ill-conceived attempt by Bishop Bruno to punish churches for speaking out publicly about their faith and the direction of the Episcopal Church, and to try to intimidate St. James and other orthodox parishes from keeping their property while following the traditional teachings of the Anglican Communion.

St. James does not take this step lightly, but first attempted in good faith to resolve the case outside of the court through mediation. No settlement was reached. Furthermore, in very recent briefs filed with the Court, Bishop Bruno and the Diocese of Los Angeles argued that they could impose a trust over St. James property, but conveniently left out the fact that they promised years ago that they would not do so. St. James can no longer sit on its legal rights in the hope that the Bishop and Diocese of Los Angeles will honor their promises.

The cross-complaint asserts causes of action for promissory estoppel, breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, equitable indemnity, and breach of California Corporations Code section 9143, which protects designated donations of church members.

Eric C. Sohlgren
Attorney for St. James Anglican Church

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 06/17/2005 4:53:41 PM PDT by sionnsar
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2 posted on 06/17/2005 4:54:13 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Airbus A380: The BIG Pig)
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