Court of Appeals Modifies Erskine Restraining Order

 

Today, May 27, 2010, the Court of Appeals ruled and, pursuant to the motion by the ARP Church, modified the language of the preliminary injunction against the ARP Church. This means that of the five (5) restrictions that Judge Griffith placed on the General Synod of the ARP Church in his ruling, four (4) have now been overruled. As the Editor of ARPTalk understands it, this was done in a reading of the case and not a formal hearing. The formal hearing of the appeal has not yet taken place. This was a preliminary action by the Appeals Court. The following are the four (4) restrictions that were removed:

  • appointing any new Trustees of Erskine, except for annual appointment of five Trustees to fill expiring terms in accordance with Article II, Section 3 of Erskine’s Bylaws, and except for the filling of vacancies in accordance with Article II, Section 7;
  • convening or encouraging the convening of any group other than the Existing Board that claims to be the Board of Erskine;
  • declaring any group other than the Existing Board to be the Board of Erskine; and/or
  • engaging in any transaction or activity in which the restrained party purports to control or act for or on behalf of Erskine, or purports to control or dispose of the property, funds, or other assets of Erskine other than pursuant to authorities or arrangements existing prior to March 3rd, 2010 and only to such extent the actions are undertaken in the restrained party’s capacity as an existing trustee of Erskine or employee of Erskine, and are normal for and appropriate to that capacity.

The one restriction that was left was the first one and this is the one that forbids the replacing of the present Erskine Board with an Interim Board. The restriction reads:

  • removing, or attempting or purporting to remove the Board of Trustees of Erskine as it existed prior to March 3, 2010 (the “Existing Board”) or any member thereof, with the result that the Existing Board (taking account of any change in its composition pursuant to Erskine’s Bylaws) will be recognized as the Board of Trustees of Erskine . . .

The attorney for General Synod noted the following:

It may be worthwhile to emphasize briefly some things that this injunction does not do. It does not “freeze” the composition of the Existing Board; those Trustee terms otherwise set to expire while this injunction is in effect will expire, and appointments of successor Trustees may be made in accordance with the Bylaws. The injunction does not prevent any individual enjoined person who may be a member of the Existing Board (including anyone newly appointed to fill an expired term) from engaging in all activities normal and appropriate for a Trustee. Nor does it preclude (or require) provision of financial support to Erskine by the General Synod, as has occurred in the past….”

By the Editor’s count, Judge Griffith is now batting one for five! In judicial terms that is not so good. In other words, the Newberry judge has some egg on his face. Is it not interesting how the legal terrain changes once the judicial frame of reference expands beyond the small circle of the friends of mutinous Board members and alums?

These are my thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson

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