Wipf v. Hutterville Hutterian Brethren, Inc.Annotate this Case
This dispute involved a struggle between two factions in a Hutterite colony. One faction purported to excommunicate members of the other, and eventually the other faction sought court dissolution of the corporation. Denying a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the circuit court (1) concluded the corporation was not functioning as a communal organization in accord with its articles and bylaws, and (2) ordered the appointment of a receiver to collect all the assets and divide the proceeds among the colony members. In determining which members were entitled to distributed assets, the court was obliged to determine which members were eligible. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the underlying religious controversies over church leadership so pervaded the dissolution of the religious corporation that the dissolution required an unconstitutional entanglement in a religious dispute and was beyond a secular court's jurisdiction. Remanded for entry of an order of dismissal.