Dermody lawsuit against PC(USA) dismissed

Appeal possible, no decision yet in Hoey case

September 25, 2015

LOUISVILLE

The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) reconvened today following an 11:15 a.m. privileged closed session to receive an announcement from PMAB chair, the Rev. Marilyn S. Gamm.

After stating that no actions had been taken during the closed session, Gamm said the announcement that she was about to share from the PMAB’s Louisville-based lawyer, John Sheller of Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC—received only this morning and now public information—had first been shared with PMAB members “as a courtesy.”

“The judge that has been considering the Dermody case has issued a ruling,” Gamm said.

Gamm then read the following portion of the ruling issued by Judge Judith E. McDonald-Burkman of the Jefferson Circuit Court:

“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.”

“This means that the Dermody suit has been dismissed,” Gamm said. “He has the right to appeal. The Eric Hoey case is still before a judge, and we are waiting for a ruling in that matter.”

Dermody, former deputy executive director for mission, filed a defamation suit against the PC(USA) May 29, 2015, in Louisville’s Jefferson Circuit Court.

He 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).

The full text of the ruling is available here.