A copy of the decision by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in the Pittsburgh litigation has just reached me. For the time being, you may read it here, or here. I have only glanced through it enough to see that it rejects all of the appellants' points on appeal, one by one:
1. It holds that although it was not standard practice for them to do so, Calvary Church was not violating Pennsylvania procedure by seeking enforcement of its 2005 stipulation and order settling the case by a supplemental petition, rather than by bringing a separate action. (When an appellate court overlooks a procedural violation to reach the merits of a case, you know -- if you were the one raising the point of procedure -- that you are in trouble.)
2. It agrees with Judge James's reading of the language of the stipulation as being "unambiguous" -- but shows by its defense of that point the precise ambiguity of which the appellants complained. (It is elementary contract law that the formation of a binding contract requires a "meeting of the minds." Although the court asserts that there is "extrinsic evidence" to support the trial court's finding that both parties agreed on what the stipulation meant, it cites only evidence and testimony from Calvary's counsel as to what he meant by inserting the language in question.)
3. It holds that Judge James did not err in receiving evidence to show that the faux diocese of Pittsburgh was "recognized" by ECUSA, even though the parties had agreed not to question or argue over the validity of the Diocese of Pittsburgh's withdrawal.
4. Finally, it rejects the appellants' argument that Judge James's order was defective for ordering people who were not parties to the action (e.g., the diocesan corporation, which actually holds the titles) to hand over property. It holds that since Bishop Duncan's diocese is a party, it can see that the order is obeyed.
The opinion specifies that it is to remain an unpublished one, so it will not set any precedent for other cases in Pennsylvania (or elsewhere). That is why it does not devote all that much discussion to the issues, important as they are for those involved. And the result once again bears out the haphazard nature of litigation -- you can devote hundreds and hundreds of hours, and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars, to it, but it all comes down in the end to what, in this case, three justices (who might spend at most four or five hours on the case) think.
From this point, the only alternative open to Bishop Duncan and his Diocese is an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which does not have to hear the case if it so chooses. The Diocese has not indicated if it will do so; the points that could be urged will have to be carefully evaluated first.