Federal Judge Issues Stay of Diocese’s Trademark Case
On January 6, 2011 U.S. District Judge Terry Means stayed the trademark case filed in his court by the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth against its former bishop, Jack Iker. Judge Means determined that the issues in the state court case, The Episcopal Church v. Salazar, pending in the 141st District Court in Tarrant County, and federal case,Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth v. Iker, pending the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, are sufficiently “parallel” that he will defer to the state court to determine issues of “the true identity of the Diocese and Corporation and the proper disposition of the Diocese’s property.” When those issues are decided, he will terminate the stay and consider the pending motions and claims in the federal case.
The order explained that,
“Rather than undertake to resolve these issues in the instant lawsuit, it seems to the Court a more efficient use of judicial resources to allow the state court, which is much further along in its confrontation of the identity and ownership issues, to adjudicate the dispute–especially given that the state court has already assumed jurisdiction over the Diocese’s property. Therefore . . . the Court concludes that the instant suit should be stayed pending the state-court’s determination as to the true identity of the Diocese and Corporation and the proper disposition of the Diocese’s property.
“Accordingly, all proceedings in the above-styled and –numbered cause are STAYED pending resolution of the identity and ownership issues in the parallel state-court proceedings. This stay shall supersede the partial stay ordered by this Court on December 20, 2010 (doc. 35). Once the state court conclusively determines the true identity of the Diocese and Corporation and the proper disposition of the Diocese’s property, Plaintiff shall notify the Court of that determination within twenty-one (21) days of the relevant order.”