Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
May 19 , 2011
Parties to negotiate terms of
supersedeas bond

Efforts by local Episcopal Church parties were frustrated at several points during today's court hearing, which once again failed to resolve the question of the amount of a supersedeas bond.

Early in the hearing the Hon. John Chupp announced his decision to deny the TEC group's motion to strike four affidavits submitted in support of the Diocese for a $0 bond. With those affidavits remaining in evidence, counsel for the Diocese argued that there are no funds available for a bond, since the court's judgment earlier this year awarded all property in the diocesan Corporation to the local TEC minority.

The only fund available to the Diocese is assessment income for normal operating expenses, and existing law forbids a trial court from setting a supersedeas bond that interferes with the ordinary course of business.

Attorneys for the Episcopal minority group called a forensic accountant as expert witness, but, after cross examination by diocesan counsel and the judge, the witness, who was familiar with bank lending practices, agreed that he was not versed in the peculiarities of supersedeas bonds. He also agreed that the Diocese has no collateral. "How can they get a bond [without collateral]?" the judge asked.

Several times Judge Chupp decried the increasing litigation cost in the case, citing as one example the $24,000 which the forensic accountant confirmed he had charged the plaintiffs for his services.

About 80 minutes after the hearing began, Judge Chupp asked both teams of lawyers to confer together and try to reach an agreement, if they could, on the amount of the bond and related requests for information.

"I'm not negotiating; y'all figure it out," he said, suggesting that the bond might be set at zero if other terms were agreed on.

When the hearing reconvened about 40 minutes later, attorneys for both sides agreed to work out a proposal and submit it to the court within two weeks. Each side also left a draft order with the judge. If there is no resolution within two weeks, he will sign one of the orders so that the case can proceed. It is anticipated that all this can be done without the necessity of another hearing in the matter.



*A supersedeas bond is a deposit made during an appeal process when the case involves property and the party making the appeal wishes to delay full payment until the process concludes