Friday, July 4, 2014

South Carolina Court Reporters Will Be Busy on Monday

After a flurry of last-minute emergency motions and appeals, the so-called "Episcopal Church in South Carolina" rump group ("ECSC") has run out of maneuvers to delay the start of the scheduled trial next week before Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein.

Well -- they did manage to delay the start by one day. They had argued, in a last-minute motion for a continuance, that they had not had sufficient time to complete thirty-four depositions of persons familiar with each of the individual parishes who joined Bishop Lawrence's Diocese of South Carolina as co-plaintiffs in the case. And Judge Goodstein denied their motion to continue the trial, but ordered them to complete all 34 depositions this Monday, July 7.

Then ECSC overreached. It tried to take an emergency appeal of Judge Goodstein's order to the Court of Appeals in Columbia. It asked that Court to issue its "supersedeas writ" to stay the trial until it ruled on the earlier appeal filed by ECSC (which I wrote about in this post).

That prompted the Court of Appeal to issue, within mere hours, an order not only dismissing that earlier appeal, but denying the emergency stay as well.

So the trial itself will get under way on Tuesday, July 8. And ECUSA's and ECSC's attorneys will have to spend the entire day before in taking depositions that they could have, and should have, taken months ago.

For all of their litigiousness, it is remarkable how averse 815 and its minions are to actually getting to trial. Could it be because they realize that going to trial means there will be no more opportunities to run up costs for the other side? (Until the inevitable appeal, that is -- but appeals are less costly than trials.)

At any rate, I hope there will be some SC readers who will be attending the trial, and who can send updates as it goes forward.  You may post them as comments, or email them to me at ashaley-at-nccn-dot-net.

[UPDATE 07/08/2014: The Press Office of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is issuing daily summaries of the proceedings, and I will post those as I receive them over at StandFirm. This blog will be reserved for more substantive analysis when I have the information available to review.]


  1. Please post a copy of the July 3 court order.

  2. GGM, Judge Goodstein's July 3 order was verbal, delivered from the bench -- as you may read about in the emergency appeal papers at this link.

  3. The biggest beneficiaries in all of this? Lawyers, Mr. Haley!

  4. A few questions:

    1. Judge Goodstein ordered all 34 depositions to be taken on Monday. It seems, though, that most or all of those would be from deponents on the Plaintiff's (DioSC) side. Given TECSC/TEC's behavior, how obligated are those people to drop their plans for the day to sit for their deposition?

    2. Even if all 34 are taken, it would be a few days before TECSC/TEC could have the findings digested and incorporated into their case. In the meantime, would the court allow DioSC (while presenting and making their case this week) to take advantage of the disadvantage TECSC/TEC created for itself, or would the judge keep the pace at such which would allow TECSC/TEC to play catch-up?

    3. Given the delay strategy, and after the appeals are settled, how likely is it that DioSC could recover costs from TECSC/TEC if judgment ends up for DioSC?

    4. If Constantine were as ill-prepared at Milvian Bridge as Tom Tisdale is likely to be come Tuesday morning, where do you think we would be today?

  5. 1. Aec, when you are subpoenaed to appear for a deposition, you have to obey it unless your attorney can negotiate an excuse on your behalf. And the subpoenas were not directed to named individuals, but to the parishes -- who each were required to choose a person that was most knowledgeable on their history and legal titles. So they could choose whom they wanted to name, within certain parameters.

    2. The transcripts might take a few days to be prepared, but TEC/ECSC most likely will not need them right away for trial. The same persons will probably be called to testify at the trial, and it would be only if they gave a different answer to the same question that the transcript could be used to impeach them. Since the two versions of the testimony will be only days apart, it is highly unlikely that the answers given at trial will be any different.

    3. If the DioSC and the parishes obtain judgment in their favor, the court will award costs to them. ECUSA is highly solvent, and collecting the costs should not be a problem.

    4. As for your last question, I will let the results speak for themselves.