Widmar v. Vincent 454 US 263 (1981), University of Missouri at Kansas City refused to permit student group called "Cornerstone" to meet college student union for weekly Bible study meetings. Court held, 8-1, that public university students have right of “equal access” to campus student union room for Bible study, prayer and worship meetings. (See special Widmar page.)
Executive Board of Missouri Baptist Convention v. Carnahan. 170 S.W.3d 437 (Mo App, WD) 2005. A denomination, which is an unincorporated association of Southern Baptist churches in Missouri, has standing to bring declaratory judgment action against five subsidiary corporations which changed charters unilaterally to be self-perpetuating boards.
Heartland Presbytery, et al., v. Gashland Presbyterian Church, 364 S.W.3d 575 (CA, WD, 2012). PC/USA denomination could not unilaterally declare trust over real property of local congregation, via national trust clause, in face of corporate Articles which vested title in the local corporation.
Church Mutual Insurance Company v. The Executive Board ofthe Missouri Baptist Convention. (U.S. District Court, WD, MO., Case No.03-4224-CV-W-SOW) Directors and Officers Liability Coverage was triggered in above lawsuit when defendant agencies made counterclaims against the Convention, seeking attorneys fees and costs. Insurer settled by paying $1.5 million dollars to Convention for fees and costs.
Ex. Bd of MBC v. Missouri Baptist Foundation, [380 S.W.3d 600, (CA, WD, 2012). Trial court held that parent organization was entitled to recover control over subsidiary corporation which had broken away by amendment of articles, but in violation of clause under 355.606 requiring parent to approve any amendments. Case remanded to trial court to enter final judgment and award fees to our client.
Missourians Against Human Cloning, et al., v. Carnahan, et al. 190 S.W.3d 451 (Mo. App. WD, 2006) Missouri Baptist Convention intervened as plaintiff in lawsuit challenging Secretary of State for misleading ballot title on initiative measure to protect embryonic stem cell research. Court ultimately upheld Secretary’s discretion to draft the ballot summary.
Cures Without Cloning v. Pund, 259 S.W. 3d 76, (CA, WD, 2008) upholding trial court's finding that Secretary of State's ballot title was insufficient and unfair, and re-writing the same to be fair.
Bender v.Williamsport School Dist, 475 U.S. 534 (1986) Individual school board member lacked standing to appeal trial court decision upholding the right of “equal access” for public high school students to use school room for religious meetings during extra-curricular time. (Case pre-dated federal Equal Access Act,1985)
Herdahl v. North Pontotoc County School Dist., 887 F.Supp.902 (ND Miss. 1995) People for American Way and ACLU obtained injunction against public school principal who allowed student-led prayer during morning intercom announcements. Also enjoined Bible as history class taught by local ministerial alliance as an elective course. (See story and here.) The case generated national publicity, (see World) including television programs on Oprah and an Emmy Award winning PBS special.
Bradshaw, et al. v. Deming and Cathedral Square Corporation, et al. 837 S.W.2d 592 (Mo App. WD, 1992) Breach of fiduciary duty case. Elderly woman gave power of attorney to priest, who was also CEO in charge of her retirement apartment. When woman broke her hip, priest used DPA to withdraw artificial food and water. Priest used financial power to make gifts to himself before and after her death. Appeals court upheld verdict for actual and punitive damages against priest and church corporation.
Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987) Smart & Whitehead served as deputized special assistants to the Attorney General to assist in discovery in a case defending Louisiana’s “Balanced Treatment Act.” Case eventually reached U.S.Supreme Court.
AMICUS CURIAE BRIEFS for Southern Baptist Convention
Christians v. Crystal Evangelical Free Church, 82 F.3d 1407, (8 CA, 1996) vacated and remanded by U.S. Supreme Court, 521 U.S. 1114 (1997). Cert den. 525 U.S. 811 (1998) Bankruptcy trustee tried to compel church to refund tithes of a member-debtor, as if a fraudulent conveyance prior to filing bankruptcy. Eighth circuit upheld religious liberty protection for the gift. Congress passed amendment to Bky Code to protect religious donations. Filed amicus brief on behalf of SBC, along with CLS and NAE.
Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free Sch. Dist., 508 U.S. 384, 113 S. Ct. 2141 (1993) Rental of school facility by church group not a violation of Establishment Clause, and equal access for religious groups is required, without content discrimination.
Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992), Court bans principal-directed, clergy-led prayer at public high school graduation service. Filed brief for SBC .
Madsen, et al., v.Women’s Health Center, Inc., et al., 512 U.S. 753 (1994) Pro-life protestors won limitation of an injunction creating a 300 foot no-approach zone around abortion clinic--and particularly its consent requirement--burdens more speech than is necessary to accomplish the goals of preventing intimidation and ensuring access to the clinic.
Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), Supreme Court upheld right to abortion based on autonomy of woman’s choice. Filed amicus brief for SBC, in cooperation with U.S. Catholic Conference.
Rosenberger v. University of Virginia, 515 U.S.819 (1995) Court upheld student's right to equal access to university activity fees to fund student newspaper, even though it contained religious content.
Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173 (1991) Court upheld right of state to impose regulations on abortion providers, including requirements to give prescribed informed consent. Government can dictate the required speech of its agents in furtherance of government policy.
U.S. v. X-Citement Video, Inc., 513 U.S. 64 (1994) Filed brief for SBC defending federal obscenity laws prohibiting use of a minor. Court held scienter is required as to the age of the minor.