Church Law & Tax Report

July/August 2001
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

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Feature Article

Landmark Supreme Court Ruling Favors Arbitration of Employment Disputes Member access only

What church leaders need to know.

Articles

Child Abuse Member access only

The Utah Supreme Court ruled that a pastor could not be sued by a victim of child molestation for advising her to forgive the offender.

Denominations—Legal Liability  Member access only

A Pennsylvania court ruled that a church and diocese could be liable for a priest's acts of child molestation.

Mission Trips Member access only

A Texas court ruled that it was barred from resolving several claims brought against a church by a former missionary who had contracted a serious illness.

Recent Developments

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

Church Names Member access only

A federal court in Florida ruled that a local church's unauthorized use of the name "Seventh-Day Adventist" (and the acronym "SDA") could be prohibited.
Colorado
Church Records

Church Records Member access only

A Colorado court ruled that a church member's legal authority to inspect church records pursuant to state nonprofit corporation law ended when his membership was revoked.

Confidential and Privileged Communications - Part 1 Member access only

A New Jersey court ruled that statements made by a murder suspect to a deacon were not protected from disclosure by the clergy-penitent privilege.

Confidential and Privileged Communications - Part 2 Member access only

A Texas court ruled that the clergy-penitent privilege did not apply to statements made by a murder suspect to a police officer who also served as the youth director at the suspect's church.

Confidential and Privileged Communications - Part 3 Member access only

A Texas court, applying California law, ruled that the clergy-penitent privilege did not apply to a conversation between a murder suspect and a minister.

Employment Practices - Part 1 Member access only

A federal appeals court ruled that two men who set fire to a church could not be convicted under a federal arson statute.

Employment Practices - Part 2 Member access only

A Washington court ruled that it was barred from resolving a former church employee's claim that he was forced to resign his position because the church required him to perform more work than was called for in his employment contract.

Officers, Directors, and Trustees Member access only

A South Carolina court ruled that church trustees had been properly removed at a membership meeting.
Michigan
Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities

Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities Member access only

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that nonmembers who visit churches for noncommercial reasons are "licensees" to whom churches owe a minimal duty of care.

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

A Texas court summarily dismissed a lawsuit alleging that a church was responsible on the basis of negligence and breach of a fiduciary duty for its pastor's sexual relationship with a counselee.

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

A Connecticut court ruled that a national church could be liable for the sexual misconduct of an ordained minister.

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

The South Carolina Supreme 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 Texas court ruled that a pastor, but not his employing church, was liable under a state "mental health provider" law for injuries he caused to a female counselee.

ChurchSalary

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Record Keeping

Record Keeping  Member access only

Learn best practices for protecting confidential documents.
Church Issues: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Identity

Church Issues: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Identity Member access only

Richard Hammar reviews public accommodations laws.