United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
BISHOP ANTHONEE J. PATTERSON, individually and on behalf of the General Assembly of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Petitioner,
KENNETH SHELTON, Respondents.
instant action, filed on August 29, 2016, is the latest
attempt by Petitioner Bishop Anthonee J. Patterson to seek
confirmation of an Arbitration Award entered in his favor in
2006. The Award was vacated, however, as ordered by the
Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania and, as of this date, is
not effective. But not to be deterred, Petitioner Patterson
has filed the instant case, which is only the most recent
stage in a decades-long dispute between these parties. The
initial case was brought in state court in 1995, and
subsequently endured a complicated procedural history, in
both federal and state court.
the Court is a Motion to Dismiss filed on October 19, 2016 by
Respondents Bishop Kenneth Shelton, Leon Bligen, John Carlton
Shelton Thomas, John R. Brown, Esquire, Anthony Lamb, James
Brown, and Trustees of the General Assembly of the Church of
the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith,
(collectively “Respondents”). (Doc. No. 13.)
Respondents filed the Motion pursuant to Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(1) (lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction) and 12(b)(6) (failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted). (Id.) On October 20,
2016, Petitioner filed a Response in
Opposition. (Doc. No. 20.) The Motion to Dismiss is
now ripe for a decision. For reasons that follow, the Motion
will be granted.
current matter stems from previous litigation between the
parties, with Petitioner seeking both state and federal
courts to confirm the same vacated arbitration award entered
in his favor on October 3, 2006. The twenty-two-year long
litigation arose from a singular set of facts.
over two decades, Petitioner Anthonee Patterson and
Respondent Kenneth Shelton have been involved in litigation
for control over the General Assembly of the Church of the
Lord Jesus Christ and the Trustees of the General Assembly of
the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.
(“the Trustees Corporation”). (Doc. No. 13-2 at
6.) Based on the organization of these two religious
entities, whoever serves as a General Overseer/Bishop of the
General Assembly of the Church, also serves as a President of
the Board of Trustees. Patterson v. Shelton, No.
1967 CD. 2006, 2008 WL 9401359, at *1 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Jan.
31, 2008). The person considered the rightful Bishop controls
the General Assembly of the Church, the Trustee Corporation,
and notably, the assets of these entities. Id Since
1992, Kenneth Shelton has been in control of the General
Assembly of the Church and of the Trustee Corporation.
timeline of the litigation of this matter in both state and
federal court follows:
• In 1995, Petitioner Patterson filed a Complaint in the
Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas against Respondents
Kenneth Shelton and Erik Shelton (the “1995
Action”). (Doc. No. 13-2 at 4.)
• On January 10, 2006, the claim remaining from the 1995
Action was referred to arbitration by an order of the Court
of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. (Doc. No. 13-11 at
• On April 26, 2006, the Honorable Edwin E. Naythons, a
former United States Magistrate Judge, acting as a private
arbitrator, entered the Arbitration Adjudication in favor of
Petitioner Patterson. (Doc. Nos. 13-11 at ¶ 6; 20 at
6-9.) (See also Doc. Nos. 20-2, 20-3.) At the time,
Judge Naythons was not acting in the capacity of a judge in
the federal court.
• On May 8, 2006, Judge Naythons issued a Supplemental
Adjudication in which he clarified findings in the previous
Adjudication. (Doc. No. 20-4.)
• On May 16, 2006, Judge Naythons issued an Amendment to
the Adjudication. (Doc. No. 20-5.)
• On July 10, 2006, the Court of Common Pleas denied
Defendants Kenneth and Erik Shelton's petition to vacate
and confirmed the Arbitration award in favor of Patterson.
(Doc. No. 20-6.)
• On July 26, 2006, Defendant Shelton filed an appeal to
the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Patterson v.
Shelton, No. 2945, 2012 WL 595833 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Jan.
• On September 22, 2006, the appeal was transferred to
the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. Id.
• According to Petitioner Patterson, Judge Naythons
issued another Adjudication on July 25, 2006. (Doc. No. 20 at
9.) (See also Doc. Nos. 20-8, 20-9.)
• On October 3, 2006, the Final Adjudication was issued
which concluded the Arbitration in favor of Patterson. (Doc.
No. 20 at 9.) (See also Doc. Nos. 20-8, 20-9.)
• On November 15, 2006, Anthonee J. Patterson filed an
action in district court to confirm the same Arbitration
award which was entered in his favor. (Doc. No. 1,
Patterson v. Shelton, No. 06-5060 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 6,
2007).) The case was docketed under No. 2:06-cv-05060 and
assigned to the Honorable Gene E.K. Pratter.
• On April 6, 2007, the then Chief Judge reassigned the
case from Judge Pratter's calendar to the Honorable Anita
B. Brody because a related case was in front of Judge Brody.
(Doc. No. 43, Patterson, No. 06-5060.)
• On April 6, 2007, after a telephone conference with
the parties, Judge Brody dismissed the case sua
sponte for lack of “federal jurisdiction.”
(Doc. No. 44, Patterson, No. 06-5060 (Brody, J.).)
• On June 5, 2007, the then Chief Judge ordered the case
to be reassigned from the calendar of Judge Brody to the
calendar of the Honorable Mary A. McLaughlin for all further
proceedings. The reason for the reassignment is not stated in
the Order. (Doc. No. 63, Patterson, No. 06-5060.)
• In the spring of 2007, the various parties separately
appealed Judge Brody's dismissal to the Court of Appeals
for the Third Circuit. (See Doc. Nos. 47, 49, 51,
53, Patterson, No. 06-5060.)
• On January 31, 2008, the Commonwealth Court ruled that
the arbitrator exceeded his authority and therefore reversed
and remanded the case to the trial court with instructions to
vacate the Arbitration Adjudications entered in favor of
Patterson, and to proceed to trial. Patterson v.
Shelton, No. 1967 CD. 2006, 2008 WL 9401359, at *8.
• In an order dated November 28, 2009, the Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the order of Judge
Brody dismissing this case for “lack of diversity
jurisdiction.” (Doc. No. 69, Patterson, No.
• The arbitration award was presumptively vacated by the
Court of Common Pleas (see Doc. No. 13-2 at 4), because
on July 15, 2014, pursuant to the remand instructions, the
Court of Common Pleas began a non-jury trial and then granted
a motion to dismiss based on a lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. Patterson v. Shelton, No. 2147 CD.
2014, 2015 WL 9260536, at *4-7 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Dec. ...