03 March 2009

The Winter of Our Discontent

It has been a while since I have been able to just write about what is on my mind. Work has been murderously busy, and my family has been graciously hosting the flu.
To the topic of the day, it has been on my mind lately that the current interregnum personifies a mood of expectation--of good or ill I don't know-- in the current stand-off with the St. Stanislaus schism.

In a word, what is up with the St. Stan's lawsuit? The legal process, they say, is best exemplified by the phrase "hurry up and wait." So, where is this thing? Discovery. Interrogatories. Requests for production of documents. Amended petitions. To what end? What is the goal of the Archdiocese?

I wonder how this thing is really going. Some of the docket entries don't look promising. For example:

Docket Entry:
Hearing Held
Docket Entry:
The motion for protective order regarding the deposition of William Bialzak was heard. All parties appeared by counsel. William Bialzak appeared by counsel Gary Sarachan. The motion was sustained as follows: The Court hereby orders that the deposition inquiry of William Bialzak will be limited to causes of action at issue in this case, and specifically inquiry will not be permitted regarding Mr. Bialzak's personal or business affairs, except as they relate to the Defendant corporation. So Ordered: Judge Bryan Hettenbach

So much for the prospect of inquiring into the towing company debacle. Of course, I have no clue what factors led to this order, but it would be nice to find out just how much the "personal or business affairs" of Bialzak have to do with the financial affairs of St. Stan's. St. Stan's attorneys seem to want to shield these affairs from judicial inquiry. Only the Archdiocese's lawyers can tell how important is this ruling.

Another ominous docket entry:

Docket Entry:
Hearing Held
02/24/2009 , 09:00:00 - Counsel Status Hearing
Docket Entry:
Parties appear by counsel for hearing and status conference. Upon hearing, the Court orders as follows: 1. Status conference will be held April 6, 2009 at 9:00 AM. 2. St. Stanislaus motion for leave to file second amended counterclaim and add Archbishop Burke as a party taken under submission. 3. Plaintiff's shall file their response to St. Stanislaus motion for sanctions and motion to compel on or before March 13, 2009. 4. Plaintiffs shall file their answer to second amended counterclaim and file any amendments to their petition within 30 days after the Court grants leave to file the second amended counterclaim. So Ordered: Judge Bryan Hettenbach

Archbishop Burke is not a party to the lawsuit. The Administrator is, in his official capacity. So, it seems that St. Stan's seeks to add him to the lawsuit-- presumably, but not necessarily, in a personal capacity. Whatever the nature of the St. Stan's counterclaim, the opportunity to further publicly denigrate Archbishop Burke would warm the hearts of some. So, this motion for leave to add Archbishop Burke is taken under submission. If it is granted, the circus will begin in earnest.

When the Archdiocese filed this lawsuit, I wondered if submitting the inner dealings of the Catholic Church to the judgement of a secular Court was a prudent thing to do. I still do. If the amended petition of the Archdiocese still seeks the enforcement of the pre-amended bylaws of St. Stan's, then I would just say that the way the lawsuit and PR battle stand, the Archdiocese is risking more than it hopes to gain. So, at best, we hope that the Archdiocese exercises control over the re-integrated parish of St. Stanislaus, and Boguslaw is history. But the corporation/trustee model of parish is left in place. At worst, if the Archdiocese loses the case, who knows what anti-Church precedent will be set. Until the contents of documents currently under seal with the Court are made public, I don't know what those could be. At the very least, the current junta at St. Stan's would have reason to publicly crow.

Stay tuned.


cmziall said...

Thank you for being so kind to host the flu at your place! We are grateful for your generosity, but ask that you don't show your generosity by sharing it with all of your friends.

Hoping and praying that the Timman Clan is back up and running again soon! :o)

Peter said...

Even though my circle is more criminal law than civil- I will hopefully be able aid in understanding this.
The average lawsuit takes 3-4 to resolve (I think we can all agree this is not so average). So who knows how many more churches Bozak will join in the meantime.
Also they can add anyone to the lawsuit (including you and me) but are open then to a motion for dismissal because the Archbishop is acting in his capacity as Archbishop and so it would be a debate to join Archbishop Burke in his capacity of Archbishop when the counterclaim arose (then comes the fun of serving him notice since they do not have jurisdiction in Rome).
The caselaw goes all the way back to the courts in England of the separation of Church and State as it was intended- to protect the Church from the State. The courts are basically forbidden to rule on issues of Church law and faith. Now, the media side to this is that it will give them a chance to cast a negative view on the Church, but the workings of the Archdiocese are irrelevant and can not be 'judged' by a civil court.

StGuyFawkes said...


The second hearing that you cite goes to Marek's famous boast of last month.

You may recall that Fr. Bozek felt compelled to write in the Local Catholic Reporter, and in the St. Stan's Bulletin that Post Reporter Tim Townsend misunderstood his reasons for incardinating with "Married Priests Now" and the other schismatic group.

He complained (without showing evidence) that Tim Townsend's report was the result of malicious leaks given to the Post by the Archdiocese.

So Fr. Bozek wrote,

"It is also apparent that the leaks were a response to a counterclaim that our lawyers will be putting on file which outlines the misrepresentations, falsehoods, and misleading conduct of Archbishop Burke. Among other things, it explains---- with documentary proof--- that the Archdiocese had a plan to close St. Stanislaus from the beginning (as many of us had long suspected) and that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit made a deal with the Archdiocese to convey all St. Stanislaus property to the Archdiocese if they win the lawsuit."

In other words the St. Stan's counterclaim, and the deposition of Archbishop Burke is in theory to substantiate their charge that
the Stan's corporation only acted in defense of an active conspiracy to sell off the assets of the parish and that this conspiracy continues to be the objectives of the Poles who split from Stan's and joined the Archdiocesan suit.

That's the way I read it.

It's a nuisance counterclaim. But the folks over there are SO PARANOID I wouldn't be surprised if they don't believe in this fantasy.