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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Clergy Malpractice

Volume 1 . Chapter 4 . § 4-05
Key point 4-05. Most courts have rejected clergy malpractice as a basis for liability in all cases. A few courts have found clergy guilty of malpractice for engaging in sexual misconduct with an adult or minor, or if they engage in "nonreligious" counseling.

Malpractice generally is defined as a failure to exercise an accepted degree of skill in the performance of professional duties that results in injury to another. In the past, malpractice suits were restricted almost exclusively to doctors and lawyers-a doctor prescribed the wrong medication or made a faulty diagnosis; a lawyer missed a pleading deadline or made an error in a title search. But in recent years a small number of malpractice suits have been brought against ministers.

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