As most of you who have followed this devotion in recent years know, there has been long and protracted litigation surrounding copyrights and trademarks of devotionals to Our Lady of America. A former nun, Patricia Fuller, claimed that she
controlled the devotion through her ownership of copyrights and trademarks. We, the Plaintiffs, argued the visionary Sr. Mary Ephrem had placed these same devotional materials into the public domain for free use by anyone. While this was the central issue, the litigation grew exponentially when the Defendants counter sued the Plaintiffs accusing us of all sorts of illegal and immoral behavior.
In 2014 there was a trial in the United States District Court where the jury found that the devotionals were indeed in the public domain and that we had not engaged in any of the illegal and immoral behavior of which we were accused. The jury also found that the defendants had extensively defamed us by the civil publication of these accusations and thus awarded us substantial damages.
Shortly after the trial the Defendants entered an appeal in the United States 7th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the entirety of the jury’s verdict.
This past Friday, December 18, 2015 that court entered its Final Judgement on the appeal.
THANK GOD! WE WON! ALL BY THE GRACE OF GOD, WE WON!
The Appeals Court upheld the entirety of the jury’s findings. The only item the Appeals Court did not uphold was the District Judge’s injunction against future defamation by the Defendants . The Appeals court found it too broad, rendering it un-constitutional under the First Amendment and returned it to the District Judge with instructions for revision.
The devotional materials central to the devotion to Our Lady of America are in the public domain and free for use by anyone! While there is some chance that the Defendants will appeal to the United States Supreme Court, there is little chance that court will accept it on appeal in light of the following quote from the Final Judgement.
“The conduct of the litigation in the district court by the lawyer representing Fuller and Hartman showed, as the district judge explained in granting the request for attorney’s fees, a serious and studied disregard for the orderly processes of justice. That disregard has persisted on appeal. Many of the grounds on which Fuller and Hartman seek reversal were waived, are frivolous, or are incomplete, with the important exception of the permanent injunction entered by the district judge, to which we devote the balance of this opinion.” (page 7)
Our Lady has given us the victory!
To all of the prayer warriors that have prayed for this victory – you are the WE in WE WON! This victory would not have been possible without your petitions to the Lord and our Blessed Virgin Mother! Your prayers, sacrifice, and intercessions made the difference. This was not a partial victory. This is a complete victory for Our Lady of America.
It really is a mystery how Our Lady through Her intercession can bring perfection out of our actions of good intent but imperfect human acts. Throughout this litigation we did our best, but it was Our Lady through the intercession of your prayers that delivered the perfect outcome.
It is just like Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin to bring us perfection in all that She does. Starting with Her Immaculate Conception and then Her Fiat, She brought to us He who is that Perfect Gift. Jesus Christ Our Savior has come!
Please offer a prayer of Thanksgiving over the next few days.
From my family to yours – accept our deep appreciation for your aid and support in this work. Wishing you a Blessed Christmas and a Holy New Year, I remain Yours in Christ,
P.S. You are certainly asking: Where to from here with the devotion? Pray that Our Lady guides us.