From the Diocese of South Carolina
U.S. District Court Judge Weston C. Houck today dismissed a federal trademark lawsuit filed by Episcopal Church Bishop Charles vonRosenberg against Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina Mark Lawrence.
The decision acknowledges the authority of the Circuit Court of South Carolina to decide the rightful owner of the names, symbols and property of the Diocese of South Carolina.
“The sum of all disputes and conflicts arising in the wake of the Diocese’s estrangement from [the Episcopal Church] are more appropriately before, and will more comprehensively be resolved, in South Carolina state court,” stated Judge Houck in the order dismissing Bishop vonRosenberg’s lawsuit and denying his motion for an injunction to prohibit Bishop Lawrence from acting as bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.
In January, the Diocese and several of its parishes filed a lawsuit asking the state court to issue a declaratory judgment against The Episcopal Church (TEC) to protect the Diocese’s real, personal and intellectual property and that of its parishes.
The Diocese filed the lawsuit after it dissociated from the Episcopal Church when the denomination attempted to remove Bishop Mark Lawrence. Following the Diocese’s decision, 49 churches representing 80 percent of the Diocese’s 30,000 members confirmed their desire to remain with the Diocese of South Carolina, disassociating from the Episcopal Church.
Canon Lawyer Allan S Haley analyses the decision here