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Episcopal Church in South Carolina files motion to dismiss

Episcopal Church in South Carolina files motion to dismiss

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina:

The Episcopal Church and its local diocese, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, have asked the state court in Dorchester County to dismiss a lawsuit filed last month by a group that left the church in 2012.

 
The Motion to Dismiss, filed December 15, is in response to a new complaint filed by the breakaway group on November 19 in the Circuit Court in St. George. The suit cites the little-used “betterments statute” to seek compensation from TECinSC and The Episcopal Church for the cost of improvements made to the properties over the years. The new action followed a decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court on August 2 in favor of The Episcopal Church and TECinSC.
 
Read the Motion to Dismiss here.
 
According to Chancellor Thomas S. Tisdale Jr. of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the plaintiffs will have an opportunity to respond to the motion before a hearing is scheduled on the motion. No date has been set at this time, he said.

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Ron Caldwell

People may be missing the main point of DSC's new lawsuit. In it, DSC gives tacit recognition that both the diocese and the parish properties belong to TEC/TECSC. In effect, this settles the main issues between the two sides. Having conceded the main points, what DSC is doing now is stalling for time, perhaps to prepare for their post-settlement life. DSC is refusing to settle in mediation, has entered a new (nuisance) lawsuit against TEC/TECSC, and announced plans to appeal to SCOTUS. Not one of these has even a slight chance of success. Meanwhile, the federal case will resume and will almost certainly favor the Church side. By going headlong through all of this, DSC is risking losing everything including the 7 parishes they now hold. Moreover, there are unmistakable signs of disenchantment among the faithful. DSC would be wise to cut the best deal they can right now, but then good judgment was never part of this schism.

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Prof Christopher Seitz

Isn't the issue that TEC rejected the arguments from the EDSC that these properties went back into the colonial period in many cases, and so predated TEC. It would follow that TEC is saying they belonged to them ab initio. If that is the case, then the upkeep and further improvements would be owed them. Obviously TEC did not pay for these. This gets again at the tricky business of implied trusts...

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The Rev. Canon John E. Lawrence

If I take over a house or car from its rightful owner in South Carolina and make repairs, can I therefore claim it as my own property?

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Michael+McDowell

Well put and logically put.

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Paul Powers

I can't speak specifically about SC, but generally speaking, if someone took over a house and made improvements that enhanced its value, they _might_ have a claim for the amount by which the value was increased (to be balanced against the rightful owners' claims for rent and for being deprived of their use of the property).

In this case, however, the ACNA-affiliated entities are going much further. They seek compensation for improvements going back to when the parishes were founded, in some cases back to the 1700s. I imagine that's going to be a tough sale.

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Tom Downs

What would happen if they "took over the house" wrongly, i.e. squatted or simply claimed it without ownership. Then made improvements. Would the true owner be required to reimburse them for their expenses? If a car thief takes a car and repaints it in an attempt to avoid the law, would the true owner have to cover the cost of the paint?

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Michael+McDowell

Indeed and reversing the cliché "quit while you're ahead," the breakaways having failed in their last two legal attempts, and now heading to the unlikely route of mediation, plus a federal court trial should "quit since they're rightly behind on multiple fronts". Plus abandon the "appeal" to the US Supreme Court which will almost certainly refuse to take the case. Time for this mess to be ended and either set up their own independent churches or accept they have lost.

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