Church Law & Tax Report

March/April 2000
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

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Feature Article

Lead-Based Paint on Church Property  Member access only

The legal implications.

Articles

Recent Developments

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

Church Property - Part 1 Member access only

An Arkansas court ruled that a neighboring landowner had a legal right to use a roadway across church property to access a public road.
Federal

Clergy—Income Taxes Member access only

The Tax Court ruled that a minister was not exempt from Social Security because his exemption application was filed too late.
Iowa
Confidential and Privileged Communications

Confidential and Privileged Communications - Part 1 Member access only

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a conversation that a rapist had with a minister on the day of the rape was not protected by the clergy-penitent privilege.

Constitution, Bylaws and Charters - Part 1 Member access only

A District of Columbia appeals court ruled that it was prohibited from resolving a lawsuit brought by members of a church claiming that the board of trustees breached its fiduciary duties by authorizing an interest-free loan to the pastor

Defamation - Part 1 Member access only

A New York court ruled that the first amendment prevented it from resolving a lawsuit brought by a minister claiming that he had been defamed by statements made about him.

Employment Practices - Part 1 Member access only

A Washington state appeals court ruled that a city's nondiscrimination law could not be applied against religious organizations.

Insurance Member access only

A Louisiana court ruled that a minister who cancelled his health insurance shortly before leaving his position as a seminary professor was not entitled to continued health insurance coverage.

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers - Part 1 Member access only

A California court ruled that a school was legally responsible for a teacher's acts of child molestation, but that a jury erred in finding the school to be 100 percent at fault.

Taxation—Church Property Member access only

The Minnesota Tax Court ruled that a church-owned rectory was exempt from property tax even though it was no longer occupied by the parish priest.

Church Property - Part 2 Member access only

A New York court ruled that the property of a church that voted to disaffiliate from a parent denomination belonged to the denomination rather than the local church.

Church Property - Part 3 Member access only

A New York court ruled that a denominational agency was not legally responsible for injuries sustained by a woman on a local church's property.

Confidential and Privileged Communications - Part 2 Member access only

A North Carolina court ruled that a minister who served as a volunteer chaplain to a sheriff's department could testify in a murder trial concerning statements made to him by the defendant.

Constitution, Bylaws and Charters - Part 2 Member access only

A Rhode Island court ruled that a church's removal of its board of directors and election of a new board in violation of its bylaws could not be challenged.

Constitution, Bylaws and Charters - Part 3 Member access only

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that a church-affiliated hospital's "dissolution clauseā€¯ was not triggered by the hospital's sale of its assets, and therefore the sales proceeds did not belong to the church.

Defamation - Part 2 Member access only

A Georgia court ruled that a $3 million judgment against certain church members for defaming other members of the congregation was not excessive.
California

Employment Practices Member access only

A California court ruled that the first amendment prevented it from resolving a lawsuit brought by an ordained chaplain who claimed that she had been discriminated against by her employer.

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers - Part 2 Member access only

An Ohio court ruled that a church could be liable as a result of the molestation of several young children by two adolescent boys who served as volunteer teachers and caregivers.

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers - Part 3 Member access only

A South Carolina court ruled that an adult woman who claimed that she had been molested as a child at a church-operated preschool was not barred by the statute of limitations from suing the church.

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers - Part 4 Member access only

A Maryland court ruled that a church and denominational agency were not liable for the injuries sustained by a woman who was seduced by a pastor.