The Episcopal Church has prevailed on all issues in its dispute with the former leadership of the Diocese of San Joaquin, according to a tentative ruling for summary judgment issued May 4 by a Fresno County Superior Court judge.
Oral arguments are scheduled for tomorrow, but the summary judgment indicates that the judge intends to rule in favor of The Episcopal Church, barring unforeseen developments.
“The documents are clear,” according to the ruling. “Only the 'Bishop' of the Diocese of San Joaquin has the right to the incumbency of the corporation originally entitled 'The Protestant Episcopal Bishop of San Joaquin, a Corporation Sole' and given the number C0066488 by the Secretary of State. Moreover, the Episcopal Church has spoken as to who holds the position of Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin – Reverend Lamb. Defendants challenge Lamb’s election as Bishop on procedural grounds such as notice and quorum, but this court has no power to rule on the validity of the Episcopal Church’s election of its Bishops.”
If anyone is still advising churches or dioceses that they can leave and take the property they are committing legal malpratice. The legal precedent is crystal clear. You can't take the property. Lawyers who advise otherwise should be sued.