With multiple lawsuits now under way against Grace Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, Susan Goff, and members of Bob Malm’s family, there is a monkey wrench thrown into things by virtue of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the case of the suit against Grace Church, Susan Goff, and the diocese, the court has continued the motions hearing until June 19. That date does not work for counsel representing the defendants, so opposing counsel and I are trying to work out a new date so that we might submit a praecipe to the court requesting the change.
In the lawsuit against Leslie Malm for defamation, the initial return date has moved to June 26, although that date also may require adjustment. Meantime, I am in discussions with some of the attorneys who represented the dissident groups in the so-called property recovery litigation about possibly expanding the suit. Needless to say, her potential liability in tort is not confined to defamation.
Experts point out that, at its current rate of decline, The Episcopal Church only has about 17 Easters to go. That said, due to scheduling issues arising from the COVID-19 crisis, it increasingly looks Grace Episcopal and the Diocese will still be in court when the 16th-to-last Easter rolls around. Specifically, in response to the pandemic, the motions court hearing date has been postponed until June 19. Unfortunately, defense counsel has a conflict on that date, so it will probably be the end of June or July before we can resolve the various motions pending before the court,
Similarly, dates remain up in the air for the defamation suit against Lindsey Malm Anders, and I may also expand her case with the assistance of legal counsel.
In all of this, the notable thing is that Bob Malm tried to lie his way into misusing the court system to shut down criticism. In so doing, he went down the proverbial rabbit hole, pulling Jeff Sugarland Chiow, the parish, the diocese, and his family into what can only be described as a hot mess. But then, with Bob Malm having consistently placed his own perceived needs ahead of those of anyone else, the outcome comes as no surprise.
Bob et al would also do well to remember that I long ago structured my persona affairs such that I am judgment proof. All assets are either held in irrevocable trust, owned solely by Mike, or in other forms of ownership exempt from judicial process.
Of course, had Bob and Sugarland Chiow had half the common sense God gave a goat, they would have considered such factors long ago. But Bob’s initial hope was to somehow convince law enforcement that writing about him was a crime, But with no lese majeste statutes on the books to cover Episcopal clergy in the US, and the thorny issue of the First Amendment standing in his way, perjuring priest Bob Malm wound up in over his head in record time.
The result is lasting damage to the parish, as well as awareness by literally hundreds of bloggers and more than a million social media users of the church’s actions, initiated by Bob Malm and enjoying the full support of the church vestry and diocesan bishops. Nor is there any possibility that I will go away quietly any time soon. In short, the diocese and parish, as well as Sugarland Chiow and perjuring priest Bob Malm, placed themselves in a catch-22 situation in which no possible scenario exists in which they win. At this point, the only question is how badly they lose, and whether the parish will survive, which is looking less likely by the day.
Any denomination in which it is okay for Bob Malm to commit perjury is in sorry shape indeed.