Five Legal Pitfalls Churches Continually Face
Court data from 2012 show congregations still plagued by abuse allegations.

Each year I review 12,000 published and unpublished rulings by state appellate and federal courts pertaining to religious organizations. Based on my case analysis from 2012, churches wound up in court for the following five reasons:

  1. Zoning (5.4 percent of cases)
  2. Property disputes (6.8 percent of cases)
  3. Insurance coverage disputes (7.3 percent of cases)
  4. Nonsexual personal injuries (7.6 percent of cases)
  5. Sexual abuse of minors (13.6 percent of cases)

Read more details about the top five reasons churches went to court in 2012 at For more help with understanding these issues or preventing them, check out these five resources:

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.


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