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Pastor, Church & Law

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

Inapplicability to Nonprofit Organizations

Volume 4 . Chapter 10 . § 10-02.4
Key point 10-02.4. The fundamental policy supporting the doctrine of respondeat superior is "risk allocation." That is, an employer can allocate or shift the risk of injuries caused by the operation of its business to the consumers of its products and services by increasing the cost of those products and services to reflect the cost of personal injury claims. This policy has no application to churches and other charities that are incapable of exacting higher "contributions" from their members to cover personal injury claims. Some courts have recognized the impropriety of applying the respondeat superior doctrine to religious organizations.

The policy considerations supporting vicarious liability rest upon the fundamental principle of risk allocation. ...

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