McCarthy v. Fuller

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Case Number: 
Nos. 12-2157 et al. Cons.
Decision Date: 
April 10, 2013
Federal District: 
S.D. Ind., Indianapolis Div.
Reversed and dismissed in part
Dist. Ct. erred in instant lawsuit by plaintiffs seeking declaration that certain religious statues and related documents properly belonged to plaintiffs (Catholic layman and alleged Papal Knight of the Holy Sepulcher) as opposed to defendants-sisters of Roman Catholic church, where Dist. Ct. refused to take judicial notice of statement from Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See that one defendant was no longer religious sister. Thrust of Dist. Ct.’s ruling was to allow jury to decide whether said defendant was member of religious order, and secular court may not take sides on issues of religious doctrine. As such, Holy See’s ruling effectively removed issue regarding defendant’s status as sister from case, such that defendant’s status as non-sister must be applied to various aspects of case on remand. Fact that no religious institution was party to case did not require different result.