California Court of Appeal

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New v. Kroeger, D051120

In an action arising out of a dispute concerning the governance of a member-church of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States (the Episcopal Church), judgment in favor of defendant-members of the clergy and majority group of church's members is reversed and court is directed to enter judgment in favor of plaintiff-remaining loyalist members of the church on remand where: 1) applying neutral principles of law, defendants lacked the power and authority to amend the bylaws and articles of incorporation of the Parish corporation to make it part of the Anglican Church, and their actions in this regard were a legal nullity; 2) by taking the actions they did, defendants were no longer a part of the Episcopal Church and could not be the lawful directors; 3) court gave deference to the Episcopal Church and San Diego Diocese's determination as to who constituted the true members of the parish, and consequently the election of the individual defendants as board members of the Parish corporation was a legal nullity; and 4) applying neutral principles of law to the actions of the Episcopal Church and San Diego Diocese in determining who were the true members of the church, the result was the same.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 10/21/2008
  • Published 10/21/2008


  • NARES, J.


  • California Court of Appeal


  • For Appellant:
  • Baker & McKenzie, Charles H. Dick, Jr., Abby B. Silverman, San Diego, Lauren S. Cartwright and Jason K. Petrek, San Diego, for Plaintiffs and Appellants., Goodwin Procter, David Booth Beers and Jeffrey David Skinner for The Episcopal Church as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs and Appellants.

  • For Appellees:
  • Payne & Fears, Eric C. Sohlgren and Daniel F. Lula, Irvine, for Defendants and Respondents., Wild, Carter & Tipton and Russell G. VanRozeboom, Fresno, for the Diocese of San Joaquin and the Anglican Bishop of San Joaquin as Amici Curiae on behalf of Defendants and Respondents.
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