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Church Law & Tax Report

March/April 1995
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Recent Developments

Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar

Church Not Responsible for Injuries Sustained by "Beneficiary" Subscriber access only

New Jersey "charitable immunity" law cited in case.

The Hidden Threat of Reverter Clauses Subscriber access only

Churches may lose property if they accidently trigger a reverter clause.

Clergy Removal and Court Involvement Subscriber access only

Courts can resolve clergy dismissal cases if consideration of ecclesiastical matters are not involved.

Penitent Privilege and Identity Disclosure Subscriber access only

Some states allow clergy to keep confessor identities a secret.

Waiving the Clergy-Penitent Privilege Subscriber access only

Few states allow clergy to waive penitent privilege without counselee consent.

Denominational Constitutions and Legal Liability Subscriber access only

Court rules denomination rules are for ecclesiastical control, not legal liability.

Religious Conventions and Copyright Infringement Subscriber access only

Religious groups may be liable for exhibitors' copyright infringement.

Public Schools, Churches, and Rental Discrimination Subscriber access only

Court rules public school cannot charge higher rental fees to church groups than other community groups.

Resolving Disputes Between Clergy and Denominations Subscriber access only

Civil courts cannot resolve disputes involving ecclesiastical issues.

Liability for Obviously Dangerous Conditions Subscriber access only

Court rules church not responsible for injuries sustained on a rain-dampened ramp.

Liability for Workers with Criminal Records Subscriber access only

Churches are only liable if criminal record correlates to the injuries a worker may cause, court rules.

Dismissal of Church Members Subscriber access only

Court says it can't get involved in dispute involving religious group's ousted members.

The Protection of Charitable Immunity Subscriber access only

Some states will not allow charities to be sued because of negligence.

Background Investigations of Prospective Workers Subscriber access only

Churches may be liable for problems arising from employees whose backgrounds have not been appropriately checked.

Child Abuse and Retracted Stories Subscriber access only

A retracted accusation of abuse not always indicative of accused's innocence, court rules.

Zoning Laws and Homeless Shelters Subscriber access only

Zoning laws may prevent churches from having homeless shelters on their property.



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Understanding Wage and Hour Laws

Understanding Wage and Hour Laws Subscriber access only

Learn about the Fair Labor Standards Act and how it applies to churches.
Avoiding Church Lawsuits

Avoiding Church Lawsuits Subscriber access only

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