Oct. 2, 2009
Court admits third parties and sets hearing date
Judge declines to reconsider Sept. 16 order

In a hearing this morning in the 141st District Court, Judge John Chupp granted the Diocese’s motions for leave to file a third-party petition and for continuance (postponement) of further proceedings until January 2010. The diocese’s motion for reconsideration of the Sept. 16 order on a Rule 12 motion, was not granted.

Having determined that attorneys representing both parities were present by 8:30 a.m., the judge began the hearing early.

In the absence of any objection by the plaintiffs’ attorneys, the continuance was granted, moving the date for the hearing on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment in the case from Oct. 15, 2009, to Jan. 22, 2010. Counsel for both sides agreed this period was necessary for discovery, the process of collecting evidence and depositions.

The favorable ruling on the third-party motion, which has been before the court since its first hearing on Sept. 9, brings eight persons into the suit as third-party defendants: the Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick, Margaret Mieuli, Walter Cabe, Anne T. Bass, the Rev. J. Frederick Barber, the Rev. Christopher Jambor, the Rev. David Madison, and Kathleen Wells. They are, respectively, the Provisional Bishop, Standing Committee, and Chancellor for the group of Episcopalians wishing to remain in The Episcopal Church following the diocese’s realignment at its November 2008 convention.

Shelby Sharpe, representing the diocese, argued for reconsideration of Judge Chupp’s previous Rule 12 order, which found that there are two dioceses and two corporations in the suit. In a memorandum submitted to the court on Oct. 1, he showed that the plaintiffs already had conceded in their original petition that there is only one Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, and he cited Texas case law requiring such admission to be binding.

Judge Chupp denied reconsideration of the previous Rule 12 order saying, “I would prefer we spend our time and resources on what happened at the November election.” He adjourned the hearing shortly after, saying, “I hope to see you all soon on another motion.”

Additional information, transcripts of the previous hearings, and documents filed with the court are available online at

Bishop Iker expressed his thanks to those who prayed and fasted this morning and encouraged their continued prayers for God’s guidance and sovereign care over all these matters.

Supporting documents and orders:
  Order granting continuance (PDF)  

Memorandum supporting third-party petition (PDF)

Order granting third-party petition (PDF)


Memorandum supporting reconsideration of Rule 12 order (PDF)

Reply to plaintiffs' memo (PDF)