MHH Obtains Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment Victory In Highly Contested Church Election Dispute Case
MHH represented the Board of Elders and Deacons of the Community Church of Great Neck. In 2020, there was an election for the position of Deacon on the Church’s Board of Elders and Deacons. The by-laws of the Church require that anyone running for the position must receive a majority of the votes at the election.
A member of the Church running to become a Deacon received 58 votes for that position. There were 118 ballots distributed to members, of which 115 were returned marked for candidates. Two other members said that they had left the meeting early and did not return their ballots. The Church determined that since there were 118 ballots, the member receiving 58 votes did not receive a majority and was thus not elected to the Board as a Deacon.
That member brought a proceeding in the Supreme Court, Nassau County challenging that decision. The member argued that since there were only 115 ballots returned marked, he did receive a majority of votes. Representing the Church’s Board of Elders and Deacons, we moved to dismiss the proceeding, arguing that since the member did not receive a majority of all 118 ballots, he was not elected to the Board as a Deacon.
Justice Roy S. Mahon of the Supreme Court, Nassau County, granted our motion to dismiss. The Court held that the correct number of ballots to consider was 116, which were the 118 ballots distributed less the two ballots of the members who left the meeting early. Since the member who brought the proceeding only received 58 of those 116 votes, the Court found that he did not receive a majority and was thus not elected to the Board as a Deacon.