Supreme Court Rules on Religiously Affiliated Hospitals' Exemptions
"Giving a major win to religiously affiliated health care systems, the US Supreme Court [on June 5] in Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton … held that their retirement plans qualify as exempt 'church plans' under ERISA. Interpreting ambiguous language in the statute, Justice Kagan, writing for a unanimous court (Gorsuch, J. not participating), said: 'ERISA provides (1) that a "church plan" means a "plan established and maintained … by a church" and (2) that a "plan established and maintained … by a church" is to "include a plan maintained by" a principal-purpose organization. Under the best reading of the statute, a plan maintained by a principal-purpose organization therefore qualifies as a "church plan," regardless of who established it. We accordingly reverse the judgments of the Courts of Appeals'" ("Supreme Court: Pension Plans of Religiously Affiliated Hospitals Are ERISA 'Church Plans,'" Religion Clause).
Religious Network Lawsuit Results in $2 Million for Televangelist's Granddaughter
"An Orange County jury [… awarded $2 million in damages to the granddaughter of late televangelist Jan Crouch, finding that the minister acted outrageously when she blamed and berated her 13-year-old granddaughter after the girl told her she had been sexually assaulted by a church employee. The jury deliberated nearly eight hours before determining that Jan Crouch, who co-founded the Trinity Broadcasting Network empire with her late husband Paul, caused her granddaughter Carra Crouch, now 24, years of emotional pain and suffering… . While the judgment falls short of the $6 million Carra Crouch was seeking, her attorney, David Keesling, said it sends a strong message on how churches should handle reports of sexual assault" ("Granddaughter who alleged rape cover-up is awarded $2 million in Trinity Broadcasting Network lawsuit," The Orange County Register).