The conflict over the fate of St James the Great in Newport Beach, California has taken another turn in Orange County Superior Court. The restriction in the deed to the property which stipulated that the property should be returned to the original donors unless the property was used for a church has been nullified. However, the diocese has also been ordered to pay $108,182.51 in legal costs for the other side.
From the Los Angeles Times:
“In the judgment, dated Tuesday, [Judge David] Chaffee said, “The court further decrees that the restriction in the 1945 grant deed that the property ‘shall be used for church purposes exclusively and no building other than a church and appurtenances may be erected, placed or maintained thereon’ (the ‘use restriction’) is released and/or is otherwise unenforceable and invalid, and Griffith has no interest that is adverse to the church in the property.””
This case had three Causes of Action; Quiet Title, Declaratory Relief, and Slander of Title. The judge ruled in favor of Bruno on the first two, but the defendants, Griffith company prevailed on the third which entitled them to the judgment to recover attorney’s fees. There is no word yet on whether or not Griffith Company will appeal.
This ruling, as it pertains to this particular situation however, may be moot. The Bishop has been ordered by the Disciplinary Board for Bishops and the Presiding Bishop to not enter into any sale while the matter of Bruno’s conduct is still being adjudicated by the Church.