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Christian Science Board of Directors of First Church of Christ v. Evans

Decided: March 1, 1985.

THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, AND THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PUBLISHING SOCIETY, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
DORIS W. EVANS, STEPHEN T. EVANS, ROY DOBBELAAR, A. WILLIAM FREY, JOANNE JANNUZZI, RUTH PFEIFER AND MARY BETH SINGLETERRY AS MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, PLAINFIELD, NEW JERSEY AND THE FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, PLAINFIELD, NEW JERSEY, ALSO KNOWN AS THE INDEPENDENT CHRISTIAN SCIENCE CHURCH, PLAINFIELD, NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Union County, whose opinion is published at 191 N.J. Super. 411.

Morton I. Greenberg, O'Brien and Gaynor. The opinion of the court was delivered by O'Brien, J.A.D. Gaynor, J.A.D., dissenting.

O'brien

[199 NJSuper Page 163] Defendants appeal from part of a final judgment enjoining them from using certain words in the name of their church and in connection with their religious activities. The history of the Christian Science religion, the relationship of the parties, their

contentions in this lawsuit, and the trial judge's reasons for his decision are fully set forth in the published opinion. There is no need to restate them here. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

The final judgment entered by the trial judge on August 1, 1983, reads in pertinent part as follows:

Ordered that Defendants shall be and hereby are permanently enjoined from:

1. Using, without the authority of the Plaintiffs, as the name of or designation for Defendants' church, religious group, Sunday School, society, association, organization, reading room or book store, now existing or which may in the future be organized by Defendants, any name or designation which includes any of the following terms or phrases:

(a) Church of Christ, Scientist;

(b) Christ Scientist;

(c) Christian Science Church;

(d) Christian Science; and

2. making a representation which is likely to lead the public to believe that Defendants are associated, affiliated, or connected with or are authorized or approved by Plaintiffs, provided that this paragraph 2 shall not prohibit Defendants from using, in a fair, truthful and non-deceptive manner, both as to form and content, the term "Christian Science" in phrases or sentences to refer to the religion developed by Mary Baker Eddy.

Plaintiff Christian Science Board of Directors is a Massachusetts corporation organized to conduct the business of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts (Mother Church), and plaintiff Board of Trustees of the Christian Science Publishing Society is the publishing segment of the Mother Church, subject to the authority and direction of the Board of Directors (hereinafter both collectively referred to as plaintiffs). The individual defendants are members of the Board of Trustees of defendant First Church of Christ Scientist, Plainfield, New Jersey, now known as The Independent Christian Science Church, Plainfield, New Jersey*fn1 (hereinafter collectively referred to as defendant).

Defendant was affiliated with the Mother Church for many years and operated under the name of "First Church of Christ Scientist, Plainfield, New Jersey." In 1977, as a result of a religious doctrinal dispute, plaintiffs withdrew their recognition of defendant as a branch. As part of the disaffiliation, defendant was notified that it no longer had any legal right to publicly identify itself as a "Church of Christ, Scientist," a "Christian Science Church," or to use the words "Christian Science" in connection with its religious activities.

Thereafter, defendant adopted the name "Independent Christian Science Church of Plainfield, New Jersey." It also terminated its status as a religious corporation pursuant to N.J.S.A. 16:3-1 et seq. (which refers specifically to incorporation as a Church of Christ, Scientist, in New Jersey) and reincorporated as a general religious corporation under N.J.S.A. 16:1-1 et seq. Defendant took a variety of steps designed to advise that it was no longer affiliated with plaintiff, although these steps were delayed in implementation. On this appeal, defendant does not challenge the restraint as to the use of the names "Church of Christ Scientist" or "Christ ...


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