Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Trial Setting Conference LA Superior Court Case BC 487079

I attended this conference this morning in Los Angeles Superior Court Department 32 under Judge Daniel Murphy. This is a case that was brought by the legal Rector, Wardens, and Vestry June 22, 2012, against the ACA, the ACA Diocese of the West, Anthony Morello, Marilyn Bush, and Keith and Diane Kang, for damages. At this point, the damages are in the multimillions.

There were two agenda items. One was that Lancaster & Anastasia LLP are seeking to be "Relieved as Counsel" from some of the defendants, to wit, ACA, the ACA Diocese of the West, Frederick Rivers as successor to Anthony Morello, and the Kangs, who haven't paid them since 2015. Judge Murphy immediately granted this motion. (Just before the conference, the vestry's counsel, Mr Lengyel-Leahu, said he'd been scuba diving, when some sharks turned up. However, they quickly got out of the way as professional courtesy. This may be apropos.)

I was given to understand before the conference that Judge Murphy is becoming impatient with Mr Lancaster's delays. As a result, he scheduled a two-day bench trial for this case for November 20, 2017. He scheduled a status conference for August 10. He directed Mr Lancaster to notify the former clients that he is no longer their counsel and to notify them as well that if they haven't secured new counsel by August 10, they are to appear at the conference in person.

The consensus from the vestry's side after the conference was that this is the best realistically possible outcome from its perspective. I haven't tried to contact Bp Marsh for comment. However, the defendants who have been cut loose by Mr Lancaster, presumably because they didn't want to pay an attorney, are now facing multimillion-dollar liability without counsel.