DENVER—A federal appeals court affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit an Arkansas Baptist couple brought against LifeWay Christian Resources that challenged the sale of Glorieta Conference Center near Santa Fe, N.M.
Kirk and Susie Tompkins of Little Rock, Ark., sued LifeWay, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee and the officers and chief administrators of each. They claimed LifeWay misled and mistreated leaseholders, offering them significantly less than market value for their homes built on Glorieta property when the agency sold the 2,100-acre conference center to a new corporation called Glorieta 2.0.
Tompkins asserted LifeWay “won a hollow legal victory but not a moral victory” when the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed his case.
Thom Rainer, president and chief executive officer of LifeWay, applauded the appeal court’s dismissal of “this long, arduous lawsuit.”
“Each step of the way, the courts have wisely demonstrated the frivolity of the suit and strongly affirmed LifeWay’s position,” Rainer said.
The Arkansas couple sought damages totaling $12.4 million for themselves and others affected by the Glorieta sale. After the U.S. District Court for New Mexico dismissed the original suit, the Tompkinses filed an appeal.
Circuit Judge Carlos F. Lucero affirmed the lower court ruling, saying the couple “lacked prudential standing.” Furthermore, while the lease arrangement “operated to the detriment” of the Tompkins family, it did not reach the legal level of procedural or substantive “unconscionability,” he ruled.