10/08/2017: Governing Body Commission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness successful in action to retain control over New York temple
S&A client GBC granted possession of temple and assets in case raising multiple constitutional issues:
The longstanding rule enunciated by the United States Supreme Court in 1871 is that civil courts must defer to the determinations of a hierarchical religious institution's highest ecclesiastical body. Watson v. Jones involved a religious property dispute over two rival factions who sought control of a church property in Louisville, Kentucky. 80 U.S. at 681. . . . Guided by the foregoing principles in the instant dispute, we find that ISKCON is a hierarchical religious organization and shall apply the neutral principles of law doctrine to resolve whether the Plaintiffs are entitled to use, control and possession of the Freeport Temple property.
Accordingly, insofar as the Plaintiffs seek a declaration as to membership within ISKCON or whether the GBC acted appropriately in expelling the Defendants and appointing new trustees, this Court shall defer to the resolutions passed by the GBC in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
Kelley v. Garuda (Nassau Cy. Sup.Ct. Oct. 2, 2017)
New York Supreme Court Justice Randi Sue Marber in her October 2 decision agreed with Hare Krishna Movement leadership and recognized the legal status of this ancient religious tradition and the hierarchical governance structure of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
"New York State Court Renders Historic Decision in favor of Hare Krishna Movement," ISKCON News (Oct. 8, 2017)