Lawyers in St. Stanislaus case say defense based argument on false premise

By Christina Stueve | Mar 29, 2012

Scherrer Lawyers for the Polish Roman Catholic St. Stanislaus Parish of St. Louis say the defendant in their lawsuit is basing their argument on a false premise.


Keefe Jr.

Lawyers for the Polish Roman Catholic St. Stanislaus Parish of St. Louis say the defendant in their lawsuit is basing their argument on a false premise.

St. Stanislaus is suing Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale P.C. in connection with a dispute with the St. Louis Archdiocese in Missouri.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto continued a hearing Jan. 17 in the case, a legal malpractice case filed by the break-away parish against its former lawyers.

Cueto wrote in his order that the hearing regarding the defendant's motion to dismiss was continued and would be rescheduled at the request of the parties.

Greensfelder, in its forum non conveniens motion, argues that no action related to the dispute was in St. Clair County, and the only connection the plaintiffs claim is that Greensfelder has a satellite office in the county.

Greensfelder has been trying to move the case to St. Louis.

Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. in Belleville and Richard B. Scherrer of Armstrong Teasdale in St. Louis represent the plaintiff.

They filed a document opposing the defense' motion to dismiss on March 20.

The attorneys wrote, "Greensfelder maintains a significant office in St. Clair County and regularly appears before this court. The individual lawyers involved regularly appear in the federal and state courts located in St. Clair County and one of them even lives in Illinois."

"Perhaps Greensfelder's avoidance of this issue is due to its inability to assert with a straight face that it would be inconvenienced by defending this case in St. Clair County. After all, Greensfelder has a 20-lawyer office a mere 2.9 miles from the St. Clair courthouse. It is difficult to take seriously a law firm arguing that it is inconvenient to defend a case in a county where it has a 20-lawyer office."

In their conclusion, the lawyers for St. Stanislaus wrote that "there are no administrative difficulties or other practical problems that make trial in St. Clair County more expensive than trial in St. Louis City. Greensfelder's forum motion should be denied."

St. Stanislaus broke away from the archdiocese after a series of battles for control of the church and its property with then-St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke.

In a recent ruling by St. Louis Circuit Judge Bryan Hettenbach, the judge affirmed St. Stanislaus' ownership of its property and its right to craft bylaws that limit the authority of the Roman Catholic Church over the congregation.

St. Stanislaus contends in its 2010 St. Clair County lawsuit that a former Greensfelder attorney used information he gained from his experience representing the church against his former clients on behalf of the archdiocese.

Michael Nester represents Greensfelder.

The case is St. Clair case number 10-L-545.

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