The Israelite House of David (“IHOD”) is a religious association located in Benton Harbor, Michigan. An excommunicated member (Charles Ferrel) sued IHOD seeking reinstatement of his membership and control over the association and its assets, which he claimed to be worth more than $50 million dollars. Ferrel claimed he was the only “true believer” in IHOD’s religion and the only way to “save” the religion was for him to be reinstated and placed in control. In the alternative, Ferrel sought the escheat of IHOD’s assets to the state. Ken Neuman and Leif Anderson of Neuman Anderson Grieco McKenney, P.C. (“NAGM”) defended IHOD in the suit.
NAGM sought dismissal at the outset of the case as Ferrel lacked standing and his claims were barred by the ecclesiastic abstention doctrine, which bars court intrusion into matters of church governance and religious doctrine. The trial court agreed with NAGM and dismissed the matter in its entirety. Click here for a Detroit News article about the case: