Church Law & Tax Report

May/June 2000
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

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Articles

Recent Developments

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

Church Property - Part 1 Member access only

A North Carolina court ruled that a local church, rather than a national denomination, was the legal owner of its property.

Church Property - Part 2 Member access only

A New York court ruled that a church could transfer its property despite a provision in its deed that required the property to be used forever for religious purposes.

Church Property - Part 3 Member access only

A Kansas court ruled that a national church owned the property of a local church that attempted to disaffiliate.

Church Property - Part 4 Member access only

A Connecticut court ruled that a Catholic diocese could be responsible for an injury that occurred at a parochial school if it exercised "control" over the school.

Clergy—Income Taxes Member access only

The IRS ruled that a minister who was employed as a guidance counselor and teacher by a church-affiliated school was eligible for a housing allowance.

Clergy—Removal Member access only

An Indiana court ruled that the first amendment prohibited it from resolving a wrongful dismissal claim by a seminary professor.
Washington

Confidential and Privileged Communications Member access only

The Washington Supreme Court ruled that the clergy-penitent privilege applied to confidential statements made to a pastor.

Contracts Member access only

A New York court ruled that a church was legally obligated to pay a contractor for a project he completed at the church at the pastor's request.

Defamation Member access only

An Indiana court concluded that it was barred by the first amendment from resolving a claim by a dismissed pastoral associate that she had been defamed by church officials.

Marriage and Divorce Member access only

A Pennsylvania court ruled that a couple was not legally married as a result of their participation in a "reenactment" of a colonial wedding ceremony attended by several family members and conducted by an ordained minister.

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

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that a church insurance policy provided coverage for a minister's "harmful counseling" occurring prior to acts of sexual misconduct.
Oregon

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers Member access only

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that a church can be liable for the sexual misconduct of an employee on the basis of "respondeat superior."

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

A Kentucky court ruled that a priest and his diocese could be responsible for the priest's seduction of a woman during marriage counseling.

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

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the national office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was not legally responsible for a pastor's acts of child molestation.

Minister's Exemption from Self-Employment Tax Revoked Member access only

The Tax Court upheld the revocation by the IRS of exemption on the ground that the minister's application was not timely filed.

Unemployment Compensation - Part 1 Member access only

A New York court ruled that a woman employed by a church-operated child care facility was entitled to unemployment benefits following her termination.

Unemployment Compensation - Part 2 Member access only

A New York court ruled that an employee who had been dismissed for proselytizing coworkers was not eligible for unemployment benefits.

Unemployment Compensation - Part 3 Member access only

An Oregon court ruled that a church's constitutional rights were not violated by an award of unemployment benefits to a dismissed youth pastor.

Wills, Estates, and Trusts Member access only

A Tennessee court ruled that a will containing a gift to a church was valid even though the deceased was suffering from a mild form of senile dementia at the time she signed the will.

Zoning Member access only

A Missouri court ruled that a church's constitutional rights were not violated by a city ordinance requiring it to obtain a special permit before building.