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Intervening Cause and Injuries on Church Property

Churches may not be liable for negligence if the injuries result from a third party's criminal activity.

Key point. Churches may be relieved from liability for their negligence if an injury results from an "intervening cause."

A Georgia court ruled that a public school was not legally responsible for the murder of a child who was released by school officials prior to the end of the school day. While the case involved a school, it will be relevant to churches as well. The school had a written policy addressing early dismissals of students. The policy specified that no student could be released prior to the end of the school day without the consent of a parent. On the day of the murder, the school received two calls from a person with a male voice requesting that the victim be released early. The caller was informed that this was not possible without the consent of a parent. A short time later the school received a call from a person identifying herself as the victim's mother. This person ...

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  • May 1, 1997