Virginia appeals court sets February 16 to hear arguments in Gaskins v. McLean Bible Church
David Platt and McLean Bible Church are facing multiple lawsuits as conservative church members resist the Woke takeover of the once thriving and now declining megachurch. One of the cases centers on how Platt and the elders violated the church constitution to affiliate with the Southern Baptist Convention. Another case is involved allegations that David Platt and other elders of McLean Bible Church rigged the 2021 elder election. That case is set to be heard by a Virginia appeals court in February.
Gaskins v. McLean Bible Church was filed in 2021 over allegations the church rigged the elder elections by depriving some members of their vote and other factors improperly influencing the outcome of the July 2021 elder election. Other issues with the 2021 elder vote included eliminating the secret ballot and expelling conservative members before the key vote.
A court allowed the church’s 2022 re-run of the vote (despite what plaintiffs claim were serious defects) to “moot” the case.
However, plaintiffs appealed in July 2022 and a Virginia appeals court will now consider if the circuit court’s dismissal for “mootness” will be sustained or overturned. A panel of the appeals court will sit February 16 in the Fredericksburg Circuit Court on February 16.
Plaintiffs contend there were several defects in the trial court’s decision to dismiss. One of the claims advanced by plaintiff attorney Rick Boyer is that “Virginia law forbids a court to dismiss a case on a Plea in Bar if no evidence is submitted in support.”
Other issues raised by Boyer are: “Virginia law is clear that a case is not moot if either if two exceptions applies. The first exception is if a case is ‘capable of repetition yet evading review.’ As in this case, MBC simply held another election (again under illegal procedures) and claims the case is moot because a year has intervened. But without court action, MBC is free to continue to deny the rights of its members in future elections as it did in 2021.; and, “The case also falls under the ‘voluntary cessation of illegal activity’ exception to the mootness doctrine. A party cannot act wrongfully, then after being sued simply stop the wrongful action and claim the court is prevented from redressing it.”