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The insurer wins a trademark suit submitted by the breakaway church



A federal appeals court has granted the dismissal of defense coverage disputes filed by a breakaway bishopric sued for trademark infringement by its former parent organization. Dozens of congregations in South Carolina to distance themselves from the People's Church in 2012 over the ordination of women and other doctrinal changes, according to a news report.

Charleston, South Carolina Parish was sued by the South Carolina Episcopal Church and two bishops for trademark infringement, according to court documents in Prince George Parish of Prince George Winyah v. GuideOne Mutual Insurance Co.

The underlying dispute accused that although a schismatic group led by a bishop left Episcopal Church in 201

2, they have continued to call themselves a bishop, which is confusing and has caused damage to the church, its associated dioceses and church bishops.

Des Moines, Iowa-based GuideOne refused to provide a defense in the case, and Prince George sued the U.S. District Court in Charleston, alleging breach of contract and bad faith.

The district court ruled in favor of the insurer and was upheld by a unanimous three-judge appellate court from the Fourth District Court in Richmond, Virginia, in Wednesday's decision.

"According to the parish's insurance policy, GuideOne agreed to defend all complaints seeking damages, permitted by law, arising from personal injury and advertising damage," it was mentioned.

“However, the appellants in the underlying measure did not specifically claim damages; rather, they sought explanatory exemption, injunction, revocation of trademark registration, attorney's fees and costs, and all other appropriate exemptions. On the surface, it is thus obvious that the parish's policy did not provide coverage for the trademark measure. "

The decision states that the congregation upholds the accusations" could have supported an award of damages and thus get the measure within reach. of the policy. We do not agree.

"Although the Assembly has argued, there are circumstances in which a court may award damages to a plaintiff who did not request them …. Such a result here was far too remote to constitute a reasonable possibility that the Assembly would be held liable for damages, "appears in the decision and confirms the lower court's decision that the trademark dispute did not trigger GuideOne's obligation to defend.

Lawyers in the case did not respond to a request for comment.

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