South Carolina diocese seeks federal court action over breakaway’s use…

first_img The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Press Release Service Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Episcopal Church in South CarolinaPosted Dec 10, 2018 Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Featured Events Submit an Event Listing Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Episcopal Church parties in South Carolina seek summary judgment in federal lawsuit Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Submit a Job Listing Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Rector Knoxville, TN Curate Diocese of Nebraska Back to Press Releases Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Rector Shreveport, LA Rector Hopkinsville, KY Rector Collierville, TN Rector Smithfield, NC Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem center_img Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Associate Rector Columbus, GA Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Rector Bath, NC Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Director of Music Morristown, NJ Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Submit a Press Release Rector Belleville, IL Rector Tampa, FL The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) and The Episcopal Church have asked the U.S. District Court to grant motions for summary judgment and call a halt to the “pervasive” public confusion caused by a group that broke away from the church, yet continues to use Episcopal names and marks.The motion asks U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel to prohibit false advertising and the use of confusing names and marks by the breakaway group and its affiliated churches. A motion for summary judgment is a request for the court to rule that the other party has no case, because there are no facts at issue.“The public confusion resulting from Defendants’ conduct is pervasive,” according to a memo filed by TECSC on December 7 in support of the motion. “It is undeniably causing irreparable harm to The Episcopal Church, and more locally, to TECSC and its Bishops. All that the Plaintiffs seek in this action is declaratory and injunctive relief, not damages (for which they could easily make a case).”The lawsuit, known as vonRosenberg v. Lawrence, was filed in March 2013 by Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, who was the only bishop recognized by The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina at that time. Bishop vonRosenberg retired in 2016, and his successor, Bishop Gladstone B. Adams III, was added as a plaintiff in the case. The Episcopal Church and its local diocese, TECSC, also joined the case as plaintiffs.In April, Judge Gergel ordered the expansion of the lawsuit, adding as defendants to the case the diocesan organization and trustees who are operating under Bishop Mark Lawrence, and the 54 parishes that followed him after the 2012 split. Those groups have been operating under the names “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina” and “Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina,” and the confusion created by that is one facet of the trademark infringement and false-advertising claims. The court has set a target date of March 1, 2019 for a trial to begin.The federal case is aimed primarily at resolving federal trademark infringement and false-advertising issues raised by the split. In a separate case, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in August 2017 that property of the diocese and 29 parishes must be returned to The Episcopal Church and TECSC. That decision resulted from a state lawsuit filed by the breakaway group in 2013 against The Episcopal Church and TECSC.The memo filed December 7 by TECSC cites the state Supreme Court’s 3-2 ruling that TECSC, not the group led by Mark Lawrence, is the true Episcopal diocese in the eastern half of South Carolina.  According to the memo, TECSC has the right to all the diocesan names and marks, including the historic seal of the Diocese of South Carolina.“The use of all of the diocesan names and marks, and the goodwill that arose from such use over many years, inured to the one and only historic diocese at issue. That goodwill in the diocesan names and marks cannot be divvied up, pursuant to the following well-established principles of trademark law,” the memo says.The Episcopal Church filed a separate Motion for Summary Judgment and a supporting memo on December 7. “Defendants have purported to disaffiliate from the Church, but continue to use the names they used when they were part of the Church and/or continue to hold themselves out as belonging to the ‘Episcopal’ diocese led by the ‘Episcopal’ bishop. These actions are not only likely to cause confusion, but, as we detail below, have caused confusion over and over again,” the memo says.Defendants in the breakaway group also have filed counterclaims and motions with the federal court in connection with the case. 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