The Episcopal bishop of Central Florida is suing the U.S. government for $200,000, claiming that a knee injury he suffered on the Navy’s tennis courts prevents him from genuflecting before the altar.
But the Naval Training Center in Orlando has filed a counterclaim, contending that the bishop was a trespasser and owes $5,200 for the use of the courts over five years.
Bishop William H. Folwell of Winter Park says his left knee was severely and permanently damaged in 1982 when he slipped on algae on the training center courts.
His suit claims the Navy negligently allowed the algae to grow on the playing area and that he should have been warned of the hazard.
He suffered extensive ligament damage and his knee has twice been operated on, Folwell said, preventing him from carrying out the half-kneeling act of reverence.
Folwell, 60, is the bishop of 76 congregations as head of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida.
Attorneys for the government say in a countersuit that Folwell had no business at the training center and that he scheduled his matches early in the morning to “avoid detection by NTC security or athletic staff.”
Assistant U.S. Atty. Walter Postula is seeking $5,200 from Folwell for the “unlawful use, enjoyment and wear and tear on the courts” for five years.
Folwell’s suit said he was a guest of a retired Navy officer at the time of his injury and entitled to play.