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Pastor, Church & Law

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

Court Decisions Recognizing Fiduciary Duty Claims

Volume 4 . Chapter 10 . § 10-13.1
Key point 10-13.1. A few courts have found churches and denominational agencies liable on the basis of a breach of a fiduciary duty for the sexual misconduct of a minister. In some cases, the church or agency is found to be vicariously liable for the minister's breach of a fiduciary duty, but in others the church or agency is found to have breached a fiduciary duty that it had with the victim.

This section reviews court decisions in which a church or other religious organization was found liable on the basis of breaching a fiduciary duty.

Case Studies

• A California court ruled that a pastor and his employing church could be liable on the basis of his sexual seduction of a female member of his congregation, but only if the member was vulnerable ...

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