On November 9, 2010, a panel of judges of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania heard arguments on the appeal filed by former diocesan leaders challenging a lower court’s rulings regarding diocesan assets.
An opinion by Judge Joseph James of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, issued on October 6, 2009, determined the rightful trustee of diocesan assets to be the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States. A subsequent order by Judge James on January 29, 2010, confirmed a list of specific assets, then controlled by the former leaders, that were to be restored to the control of the Episcopal Diocese.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh argued in Commonwealth Court that Judge James’ orders properly enforce a 2005 Stipulation and Order in which the former leaders agreed in court that the property of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh continue to be held and administered by a diocese that is part of the Episcopal Church of the United States.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh expects a decision from Commonwealth Court in the months ahead.