Missing the trust issue: Litigators beware

Charles E. Rounds, Jr.

In 2017, South Carolina’s Supreme Court decided The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina [the “Disassociated Diocese”] v. The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America [the “Established Church”], a property dispute between certain disassociating parishes and the Established Church. Said parishes asserted that their properties were held in trust for themselves, not for the Established Church. Eight of the parishes prevailed. Here is a link to the South Carolina case: https://law.justia.com/cases/south-carolina/supreme-court/2017/27731.html. Compare it with The Parish of the Advent v. The Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, et al., 426 Mass. 268 (1997), a governance dispute between a disassociating parish and the Established Church, in which lawyers for the disassociating parish, it is suggested to the detriment of their client, neglected to confine the scope of the litigation to secular trust law (or even to raise the secular trust issue). See text accompanying footnote 33 of the Massachusetts case: http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/426/426mass268.html. See also Rounds & Rounds, Loring and Rounds: A Trustee’s Handbook §8.25 (2018), in which concern is expressed that nowadays few, if any, American law schools still require Agency, Trusts, and Equity. The section is reproduced in its entirety below.

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Charles E. Rounds, Jr.

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