"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WVa Lawsuit Moves Forward

The Charleston (WVa) Gazette reports today that Judge Irene C. Berger has denied the motion by the Grand Lodge of West Virginia to dismiss the lawsuit brought by expelled Past Grand Master Frank Haas. Last month, defense attorney John Tinney argued that the case should be dismissed because Haas hadn't fully exhausted his appeals within Masonic law. Hass' attorney argued that any appeal within the current Grand Lodge process would be "a sham."

Grand Master Charles Montgomery was deposed yesterday, and PGM Charles Coleman II will probably be deposed today. Haas will be deposed by the GL's attorney on October 8th.

Now it's a race between the trial and the convening of Grand Lodge. The big question is, will Haas be reinstated by Grand Lodge when it meets, or will it uphold GM Montgomery's expulsion of Haas without a Masonic trial? Their annual communication will be Monday, October 13th.

That ought to sound familiar. It's the anniversary of the arrest of the Templars.


  1. Brethren,

    A general question: Should this trial prove that PGM Haas was denied Masonic due process, would that cause him to be automatically re-instated? Can the court be a surogate for a Masonic trial or would it get kicked back to the West Virginia brethren?

    Chris Kimmel
    Vincennes Lodge #1

  2. I would sincerely hope that GLSV would immediately reinstate Haas with "back pay," rendering the suit moot.

    It will be interesting, if that is what occurs, whether or not Haas accepts reinstatement.

  3. I cannot imagine how the court would ever make a ruling other than to order the GL to follow its own rules. I don't see how the court in and of itself can reinstate Haas -- in violation of that same due process that Haas is complaining about not receiving -- and not run afoul of the principle of freedom of association.

    Any other ruling should have every other fraternal society in the state looking over their shoulders. It's one thing to force you to follow your own rules -- it's another thing entirely to allow a court to overturn your organization's internal system of discipline from the outside.

    I have a certain sympathy for Haas, but I am not convinced that going to law was the correct ameliorative in this case.

  4. Does anyone know the exact charges that were leveled against this guy, or more details?


    Christopher Tiplady
    Spokane #34, Spokane, WA


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