“The church had been in the process of selling its property to its contiguous neighbor, The Stuart Hall School for Boys, when the presbytery tried to block the sale by asserting that the denomination – not the church – owned the property. The court ruled in favor of the local church, as did the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal.”
It took two years, but the Presbytery of South Louisiana has finally paid the $390,000 in sanctions awarded to Carrollton Presbyterian Church in 2013 by a civil court.
On June 2, 2015, the presbytery wired $390,000.00 to the law firm representing the church, of which 75 percent was then remitted to Carrollton, with plans to use it for missions.
However, the amount of interest to be paid to the church by the presbytery is still in dispute. According to court documents, the presbytery believes that the amount of interest due to the church should be calculated from the date the sanctions were awarded by the court. Carrolton contends that the amount should be calculated from the date when it originally filed for sanctions.
The highest possible amount that could possibly be awarded to the church — $93,394.32 – has been deposited into the registry of the court until the court decides what amount of interest should be paid.
In March 2008, Carrollton Presbyterian Church filed a civil lawsuit against the Presbytery of South Louisiana seeking a declaratory judgment that it owned its property, free and clear of the presbytery.
The church had been in the process of selling its property to its contiguous neighbor, The Stuart Hall School for Boys, when the presbytery tried to block the sale by asserting that the denomination – not the church – owned the property. The court ruled in favor of the local church, as did the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal. Both the Louisiana Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case when the presbytery filed appeals.
According to court documents, the presbytery spent more than $500,000 opposing Carrollton’s sale of its property – valued at less than $1 million.
‘No way for the PSL to prevail’
On July 25, 2013, Judge Kay Bates of the 19th Judicial District Court, Parish of East Baton Rouge in Louisiana, issued a ruling in the case of Carrollton Presbyterian Church vs. The Presbytery of South Louisiana of the Presbyterian Church (USA) where she “unavoidably” concluded that the presbytery had “in bad faith advanced frivolous arguments in support of a claimed right it knew had no legal or evidentiary support,” and imposed the sanctions.