Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth v. Episcopal Church (Opinion)Annotate this Case
The Fort Worth Diocese was formed in 1982 and was admitted into union with The Episcopal Church (TEC). The Fort Worth Corporation was formed the next year. After a doctrinal controversy arose within the TEC, the Forth Worth Corporation filed amendments to its articles of incorporation to remove all references to TEC. The Fort Worth Diocese then voted to withdraw from TEC. TEC later filed suit against the Fort Worth Diocese, the Fort Worth Corporation, the former Bishop, and other former TEC members (the Diocese) seeking possession of the property held in the name of the Diocese and the Fort Worth Corporation. The parties disagreed whether the "deference" or "neutral principles of law" methodology should be applied to resolve the property issue. The trial court agreed with TEC that deference principles should apply, and after applying deference principles, granted summary judgment for TEC. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) based on the Court's decision in Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas, the trial court erred by granting summary judgment to TEC on the basis of deference principles; and (2) the case must be remanded for further proceedings under neutral principles. Remanded.