Dermody files appeal in case against PC(USA)

Defamation suit, originally dismissed Sept. 22, to be reviewed by higher court

October 23, 2015

Jefferson County Courthouse in Louisville, Ky.

Jefferson County Courthouse in Louisville, Ky.

LOUISVILLE

The lawyer for Roger Dermody, former deputy executive director for mission at the Presbyterian Mission Agency, has filed an appeal in his defamation suit against the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation. The appeal was submitted to the Court of Appeals of Kentucky on Oct. 21, 2015.

The suit, originally dismissed by Judge Judith E. McDonald-Burkman of Louisville’s Jefferson Circuit Court on Sept. 22, 2015, alleged irreparable harm had been done to Dermody’s career as a result of an internal investigation initiated by the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board.

The judge’s ruling stated:

“Therefore, after a careful review of the record, applicable law and the Court being otherwise sufficiently advised, it is hereby ordered and adjudged that Defendant Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Motion for Summary Judgment is granted. Plaintiff Roger Dermody’s Complaint is dismissed with prejudice.

It is further ordered that Defendant Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)’s Motion to Stay Discovery and Motion for Third-Party Complaint are hereby moot.”

Dermody is one of four PC(USA) employees placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 14, 2014, while an independent investigation was conducted regarding the establishment of an unauthorized nonprofit corporation, the Presbyterian Centers for New Church Innovations, Inc. (PCNCI). An announcement was made June 1, 2015, that the four were no longer employed by the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

The Rev. Eric Hoey filed a similar suit on June 16, 2015. He is the former director of Evangelism and Church Growth at the PC(USA). His case is currently pending.