Church Law & Tax Report
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A federal court issues an important ruling- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. St. Francis Xavier Parochial School, 117 F.3d 621 (D.C. Cir. 1997)
Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
A bankruptcy court in New York ruled that a church had to turn over tithes it received from a couple during the year preceding the filing of a bankruptcy petition since the tithes represented a "fraudulent transfer" for less than "reasonably equivalent value."
A Texas court ruled that a 23-year-old male who was molested by a church music director when he was a minor was barred by a 2-year statute of limitations from suing his church, and that the church could not be sued as a result of the failure of 5 pastors to report the alleged abuse to civil authorities.
A Maryland court ruled that a church dispute over an election did not have to be arbitrated but could be resolved by a civil court.
The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that members of a "congregational" church could not challenge their expulsion in civil court since membership in such a church is not a property right.
A Minnesota court upheld the legal validity of a restraining order prohibiting a disruptive individual from entering onto a church's premises.
A Missouri court ruled that a church had a legal right to use a roadway across a neighboring property since an "easement by implication" had been created.
A Connecticut court ruled that a church could construct a parsonage in a subdivision despite a "restrictive covenant" prohibiting any use other than a "strictly private residence."
The United States Tax Court ruled that a Methodist minister was an employee for federal income tax reporting purposes.
The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that statements made by a murder suspect to his brother were not protected from disclosure in court by the clergy-penitent privilege since the brother was not a recognized minister.
A federal court in Louisiana ruled that a church school did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act by not rehiring a teacher who had to temporarily quit her job because of pregnancy-related varicose veins.
The United States Supreme Court ruled that a church-operated camp was engaged in "commerce."
A federal court in Kansas ruled that an employer committed unlawful religious discrimination by dismissing two employees for engaging in religious speech with customers.
An Alabama court ruled that a church's "directors and officers" insurance policy covered a lawsuit brought against a pastor for improperly obtaining money from an elderly member.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has issued an important ruling addressing the personal liability of members of the board of a nonprofit corporation.
A bankruptcy court in Arizona ruled that a Catholic high school could not withhold a former student's academic transcript as a result of her failure to pay her school bill.
An Oregon court ruled that a church's property was subject to tax because the church failed to timely appeal an assessor's decision to place it on the tax roll.
An Indiana court recognized an exception to the general rule that members of an unincorporated church cannot sue their church for injuries they suffer on church premises or during church activities.
A Pennsylvania court ruled that workers who were members of a church that made provision for its dependent members were eligible for exemption from workers compensation coverage.
A New Jersey court ruled that a city zoning board acted properly in allowing a church to construct a sanctuary and preschool on an undeveloped tract, despite the protests of neighbors.
A federal court in Kentucky ruled that a church's constitutional rights were not violated by a new city ordinance that prohibited the use of a sign the church had used for ten years.
A federal court in New York ruled that a city did not violate the rights of neighbors by refusing to enforce a noise ordinance against a church that broadcast amplified music from its steeple.