Arguments in Archdiocese lawsuit nixed, settlement possible

The oral arguments scheduled for Dec. 12 in the case involving the Cathedral High School teacher fired by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for being in a same-sex marriage have been postponed, but the judge presiding over the matter is hopeful the parties will reach a settlement in the interim.

In an order continuing the hearing, Special Judge Stephen Heimann explained an urgent family matter will prevent him from attending the hearing next week. The court was to hear arguments over the Archdiocese’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Joshua Payne-Elliott.

However, in the order, Heimann said he “is hopeful and reasonably believes” the matter will be resolved at a settlement conference. He has ordered the two parties to pick a day between Jan. 13, 2020, and Feb. 14, 2020, to meet either in the morning or afternoon to discuss a settlement.

In the event one of the parties objects to holding a settlement conference on a day separate from the hearings, Heimann included an alternative. He ordered the parties, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s office and Cathedral’s Trustees, Inc., to find a date between Jan. 13, 2020 and March 13, 2020, for a full-day settlement conference along with hearings on the motion to dismiss.

If the settlement is not reached, Heimann is preparing for a hearing. Again, he had the parties along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Cathedral’s Trustees Inc. list the dates between Feb. 3, 2020 and March 13, 2020 when they will be available for a half-day hearing.

The case is Joshua Payne-Elliott v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Inc., 49D01-1907-PL-027728.

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