New judge assigned to FUMC lawsuit
JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – After a series of judges backing out, the property lawsuit filed by the First United Methodist Church of Jonesboro now has a new judge.
Court documents show the Arkansas Supreme Court assigned retired Judge Gary Arnold to the case following a request from the Craighead County Circuit Clerk’s office.
So far in this case, 12 judges have recused themselves, including Circuit Judges Richard Lusby, Pamela B. Honeycutt; Melissa Richardson; Cindy Thyer; Dan Ritchey; Tonya Alexander; Charles M. Mooney, Jr.; Randy Philhours; Chris Thyer; Mary Broadaway; Scott Ellington; and Kimberly Bibb.
The documents said the judges all cited conflicts of interest or the need to avoid the appearance of impropriety in this lawsuit and declined to preside over it.
In addition, the documents also show that FUMC has filed for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent The Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church from trying to interfere with the congregation’s use and occupancy of the building while the lawsuit is underway. No word on if this has been granted.
The lawsuit itself was filed by FUMC to keep its current church building in the wake of an attempt to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church.
Defendants in the case are the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Conference of the UMC, Inc.; The Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church, Inc.; and First Community Bank.
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