Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Personal Injuries - Part 1
On Church Property or During Church Activities
Alabama
State:

In a case of great significance to religious denominations and church agencies, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a Catholic order was not legally responsible for the actions of a priest who had entered an abortion clinic and injured a woman while destroying several pieces of equipment with a sledge hammer. The priest, a member of the Benedictine Society, had been appointed pastor of a local parish and "pro-life coordinator" for the Birmingham diocese by the bishop. The injured woman sued the Benedictine Society and the priest's immediate superior (an abbot), claiming that the priest was an "agent" of the society and accordingly that the society was legally responsible for his conduct. In particular, she argued that the priest "was a member of the society and, as such, was subject to [his abbot's] orders as it related to his 24-hour life as a monk, including the authority to recall him to the abbey. The evidence established that [the abbot] knew of at least one previous act of violence on the [priest's] part, but failed or refused to exercise any discipline over him because of it. Finally, it established that [the priest] was driving a society-owned car when he went to [the abortion clinic] and attacked the [plaintiff]." The trial court disagreed that these allegations proved an agency relationship that gave rise to legal liability on the part of the society or abbot, and the case was appealed to the state supreme court.

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Related Topics:
Posted: January 2, 1989
View All
from our store
Board Member Orientation

Board Member Orientation

The concise and complete guide to nonprofit board service
12 Law & Tax Guidelines for New Ministers

12 Law & Tax Guidelines for New Ministers

Essential knowledge to ensure legal and financial clarity and integrity in ministry.
Church Issues: Waivers and Release Forms and Church Liability

Church Issues: Waivers and Release Forms and Church Liability

What these documents do—and don't do—based on statutes and court decisions made nationwide.
Avoiding Church Lawsuits

Avoiding Church Lawsuits

Create proactive procedures to avoid common reasons why churches most often go to court.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Let ChurchSalary do the work. Get personalized compensation reports for staff and pastors.