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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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The federal lawsuit filed against me by the Schori-led group for trademark infringement is both preposterous and vindictive.
It's preposterous because a “minority faction” – in the words of the mandamus opinion from the Fort Worth Court of Appeals – is trying to get a different result in federal court from the state court ruling, which clearly stated that their lead counsel do not represent the diocese, and the minority faction does not have authority to act for the diocese.
Having been heavily out-voted at our diocesan conventions in November 2007 and again in 2008, the minority group left the diocese, yet is trying a hostile takeover of the diocese through the courts. They filed a lawsuit in state court in Tarrant County in April 2009 claiming to be the diocese. In June of this year the state appellate court found that the attorneys hired by this minority faction cannot represent the diocese. The state court lawsuit includes the two trademarks, namely the name and seal of the diocese.
Having struck out at the diocesan convention and struck out at the state court level, the minority faction filed this new lawsuit in federal court over the same trademarks as in the state court case. It looks like they are shopping for a new judge. As to whether this new case will be a “game changer,” we are confident that the minority faction will not be any more successful in federal court than they have been in state court.
The lawsuit is vindictive because it is aimed personally at me, as an individual. I do not use the trademarks personally – the diocese uses them! Even the minority faction acknowledges this when they say the diocese has used the marks since 1983. I have used the marks ever since I was consecrated bishop of the diocese in 1993, and I continue to hold that office. This is only one more indication of how angry the minority faction is at having lost the convention votes and left the diocese.
The question still remains: Why would they not accept our offer to transfer title of their property to them and avoid all this costly litigation?
--(The Rt. Rev.) Jack Leo Iker is Bishop of Fort Worth
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