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Recent Developments in Minnesota Regarding Accidental Deaths and Liability

A Minnesota court ruled that a pastor who accidentally killed a church trustee while deer hunting was not acting within the scope of his employment and therefore the church could not be liable for his negligence.

Minnesota
State:
Key point. Churches are liable for the negligence of their employees committed within the scope of their employment. Not every action by an employee is within the scope of his or her employment.

A Minnesota court ruled that a pastor who accidentally killed a church trustee while deer hunting was not acting within the scope of his employment and therefore the church could not be liable for his negligence. On a Saturday morning in 1993 the pastor of a church went hunting with two parishioners. One of the parishioners was a church trustee, and the other was a member of the church's strategic planning committee. While the three men were tracking a deer, the pastor's gun accidentally discharged, killing the trustee. The trustee's widow brought a wrongful death action against her pastor and church. The sole issue at trial was whether the pastor was acting within the scope of his employment ...

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Posted:
  • July 1, 1998

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