Jefferson City – Ongoing litigation between the Missouri Baptist Convention and five formerly affiliated entities has been placed in the hands of Cole County Circuit Court Judge Richard Callahan.
Judge Thomas Brown had heard most of the case since the MBC filed the suit on Aug. 13, 2002. When the Democrat lost his bid for reelection to the bench on Nov. 7, the case was turned over to the new judge, Republican Jon Beetem.
The MBC filed legal action against The Baptist Home, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Missouri Baptist University, Windermere Baptist Conference Center and Word&Way in an effort to force the five institutions to rescind changes they had made in their corporate charters. The Baptist Home changed its charter in 2000 to elect its own trustees. The other four took the same action in 2001.
After Judge Beetem took the bench, attorneys for both sides had 30 days in which to request a change in judge. Missouri Baptist University filed a motion on Jan. 16, and the case was assigned to Presiding Judge Patricia Joyce on Jan. 18. The convention then had an additional 30 days to request a change.
Convention attorneys filed a motion on the MBC’s behalf on Jan. 19 and the change to Judge Callahan’s court was made on Jan. 22.
According to court records, a status hearing that had been set for Feb. 20 in Judge Joyce’s court has been canceled. No new date had been set as of Jan. 29. (2-8-07)