Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Doe v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cashel & Emly

August 31, 2009; as modified September 24, 2009


APPEAL from the judgment of the Superior Court of Alameda County. Ronald M. Sabraw, Judge. Affirmed. (Alameda County Super. Ct. No. JCCP No. 4359; San Joaquin County Super. Ct. No. CV019901)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rubin, Acting P. J.


Plaintiff John Doe appeals from the trial court order quashing service of summons and process on the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly in Ireland. We hold that plaintiff has waived the issue by his failure to fairly and completely set forth, discuss, and analyze the relevant facts under the applicable substantial evidence standard of review. We alternatively hold that substantial evidence supported the trial court's ruling that the defendant had insufficient contacts with the State of California to support an exercise of either general or specific jurisdiction.


1. Jurisdictional Facts

John Doe sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton and Oliver O'Grady, one of its former priests, alleging that O'Grady sexually molested him in 1969 and 1970, when plaintiff was approximately 11 years old. Although plaintiff eventually settled with the Stockton archdiocese, he later added as a Doe defendant the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly, located in County Tiperary, Ireland.*fn1 According to plaintiff, Cashel & Emly owned and operated Saint Patrick's College, the seminary that trained and ordained O'Grady, and which sent him to Stockton knowing he was a child molester.

Cashel & Emly, acting through Archbishop Dermot Clifford, moved to quash service of the summons on the ground it was not subject to the personal jurisdiction of the California courts. The trial court permitted plaintiff to take discovery on the jurisdictional issues. Distilled, the evidence showed that O'Grady, who was born and raised in Ireland and was living there at the time, entered the seminary in 1964. In 1965, he was incardinated into the Stockton archdiocese. According to plaintiff's expert, incardination is the process by which a diocese accepts a candidate for priesthood. The Stockton archdiocese paid Saint Patrick's for O'Grady's tuition and living expenses. O'Grady completed his seminary studies in 1971, and was ordained as a priest by Thomas Morris, the then-current archbishop of Cashel & Emly. Ordination is the ceremony by which one becomes a priest, and is thereby vested with the powers and duties of priesthood. O'Grady then moved to the Stockton area and began serving as a priest.

Archbishop Clifford's supporting declaration said he became affiliated with the Archdiocese in 1985 and became its archbishop in 1988. Saint Patrick's is located within the geographical boundaries of the Archdiocese but is a "juridically separate" entity held in trust by a wholly distinct board of trustees. Clifford is a member of the Saint Patrick's board, as are other clergy members from two dioceses. The college no longer operates as a seminary, offering instead a traditional collegiate curriculum. When Saint Patrick's was a seminary, it was one of six in Ireland that educated prospective priests for ordination throughout Ireland's 26 dioceses, as well as in foreign countries. According to Clifford, O'Grady was never a priest, employee, volunteer, agent, or representative of Cashel & Emly. Nor did the Archdiocese have any contact of any kind with O'Grady. The Archdiocese did not own property or conduct business operations in California, and had never sent an agent or representative to the state in order to conduct business on its behalf. McDermott said he had travelled to California twice in 1991 at the invitation of an American nonprofit entity that was trying to raise funds to support seminary education in Ireland. While Saint Patrick's college might have received money from such fundraising, the Archdiocese never did.

Plaintiff opposed the motion to quash with a declaration from Patrick Wall, a Catholic priest and Benedictine monk who claimed to have expertise in canon law through his service as a "judge/advocate" on the judicial tribunal for the Minneapolis-St.Paul area archdiocese. Wall's declaration included the following assertions: (1) excerpts from an attached copy of the 2005 Irish Catholic Directory listed Cashel & Emly as the entity that owned, operated, and controlled Saint Patrick's College; (2) excerpts from an attached copy of a 2004 book titled "Irish Priests in America" said the college was a seminary for mostly overseas dioceses, that it had ordained 511 priests who served in the United States, and that as of 1997, 36 priests educated at Saint Patrick's were serving in California; (3) church records showed that O'Grady entered the seminary in 1964, was incardinated to the Stockton archdiocese in 1965, and arrived in Stockton as a newly ordained priest in 1971. The normal practice would have required the Stockton archdiocese to support O'Grady's education by way of payments to Saint Patrick's for room, board, and tuition; and (4) a petition for laicization (removal from the priesthood) that was filed by the Church in the 1990s, listed a "psychic defect" under Canon 1044 of the Catholic Church's canon law code as the ground for the petition. Wall interpreted that to mean the petition alleged O'Grady had committed a crime or had a mental disorder before he was ordained that had to have been known by the archbishop who ordained him.

Plaintiff's counsel, Venus Soltan, submitted a declaration claiming that Wall had reviewed and translated the certificate showing O'Grady's ordination into the priesthood, and had translated it to mean that O'Grady was ordained by the then-archbishop, who assigned O'Grady to serve the Stockton archdiocese. Those statements do not appear in Wall's declaration, however. Interrogatory responses from the Archdiocese also showed that the Stockton archdiocese paid O'Grady's educational and living expenses while he attended Saint Patrick's.

The Archdiocese countered with a reply brief supported by the declaration of Anthony Anscombe, a partner in the law firm representing the Archdiocese. Anscombe declared that as part of his coursework for his college degree in classical languages, he took numerous advanced level courses in Latin literature. He also taught Latin at the high school level some years before. Anscombe interpreted the ordination certificate to mean that O'Grady was ordained by the Archdiocese "for the benefit of service" in the Stockton archdiocese, but it did not mean that Cashel & Emly had assigned him to the Stockton archdiocese.

The parties submitted supplemental briefs and declarations. Soltan submitted an 81-paragraph declaration, along with supporting documents, on behalf of the plaintiff. Much of Soltan's declaration purported to describe: how the Archdiocese operated; the nature of its structure and affiliation with Saint Patrick's; how the Archdiocese came to know that O'Grady was already molesting young boys while he studied at Saint Patrick's; and the meaning and effect of the proceedings to remove O'Grady from the priesthood. Wall submitted another declaration describing how, in his view, Saint Patrick's was in fact controlled by Cashel & Emly. William Smith, the author of Irish Priests in the United States: A Vanishing Subculture, submitted a declaration that as of 1997, 176 alumni of Saint Patrick's served as priests in 48 United States dioceses, with 64 of those in California, and 10 of those in the Stockton archdiocese.

The Archdiocese submitted the declaration of Nicholas P. Cafardi, a lawyer, law professor, and former dean of both Duquesne University School of Law and the law school at the University of Pittsburgh. Cafardi also had worked as counsel for the Pittsburgh diocese and obtained a degree in canon law. Cafardi reviewed the Wall declarations and supporting documents, and said he disagreed with Wall's conclusions. According to Cafardi, Wall "seriously misrepresent[ed]" the meaning of the petition to remove O'Grady from the priesthood. Instead, Cafardi said the various documents involved in the proceeding showed that an attempt was made to remove O'Grady from the priesthood for having molested two boys, and that the petition was dropped when O'Grady's request for voluntary laicization was granted by the Pope. Even so, a psychic defect could not have been grounds for laicization and that nothing in the documents or canon law could be interpreted to mean that the archbishop of Cashel & Emly would have known such a defect existed when O'Grady was ordained.

Fathers Ronald Bowers and Daniel J. Ward, who served on the judicial tribunal of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese and who knew plaintiff's expert Wall, said Wall was never a ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.