MBC asks court for ‘expedited trial setting’
Jefferson City – Attorneys for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) filed a motion this week asking for an “expedited trial setting” and Judge Richard Callahan said he may do so at a conference scheduled for May 4.
In their first hearing before Judge Callahan since he was newly assigned to the case, MBC attorneys on April 9, presented their motion seeking a trial date, stating the urgency of getting the case to trial, especially in light of development work that has been started at Windermere. Michael Whitehead, lead attorney for MBC, told the court in his motion, “The harm to plaintiffs caused by the development of this retreat land increases with each passing day. An expedited trial is necessary in order to insure justice.”
Attorneys for the five former agencies filed briefs in opposition to an early trial setting, saying that more depositions were needed, and numerous motions are still pending.
“We can complete pre-trial matters between now and a trial date,” said Whitehead, “but it is important to get these matters set for trial.”
Judge Callahan said he would discuss the status of the case with counsel at a meeting on May 4 and then would set a trial date.
Whitehead also requested the judge to order separate trials for each defendant. “The cases have been consolidated for discovery and motion practice, but since each corporate charter is a little different, it may be easiest to present each defendant’s case to a separate jury. That also means that attorneys for the other four defendants do not have to be in court, cross-examining every witness in the trial about Windermere. It will be faster and less costly to all if the trials are separate.”