As we all know, Frank Haas of West Virginia is suing the Grand Lodge of West Virginia for a variety of reasons. I have heard many brothers who believe that Freemasons do not sue other Freemasons. Sadly, however, this is not the case.
I happened to find an article from the New York Times concerning a brother that had been expelled from the Fraternity. Robert Kopp was a twenty-three year member of Strict Observance Lodge #94 where he had served as Past Master. According to the article, Kopp had written an angry letter to the Grand Master, William Sutherland. It was recommended and approved that Kopp be expelled at the next Grand Lodge Communication which subsequently occurred.
Kopp sued the Grand Lodge for reinstatement but his "appeal" was denied. The Judge believed that it was not in the purview of his Court to review the decisions of Masonic tribunals. The Judge stated that "[w]hatever right he obtained, he obtained from the society itself." Kopp was not allowed to continue his suit.
What this article shows is that there really does exist the threat of suit by a brother against a Grand Lodge. The article in question was published in 1900, more than 108 years ago. The difference between this case and the Haas case is that unlike Kopp, Haas's suit will be allowed to continue. We must not be surprised that brothers suing Grand Lodges is new and will need to be planned for accordingly.