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Church Law & Tax Report

March/April 2001
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

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Feature Article

The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000  Member access only

Religious organizations provided new protections under a new federal law.


Recent Developments

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

Bankruptcy Member access only

A federal court in New Jersey ordered a church to return a $20,000 contribution to a bankruptcy court that had been made by a church member within a year before he filed for bankruptcy.

Child Abuse Member access only

A California court ruled that an associate pastor who was suspended for reporting a suspected incident of child abuse involving his senior pastor could sue his church for "retaliation."

Church Meetings Member access only

An Ohio court ruled that an attempt by church members to remove all of the members of the church board at a specially called membership meeting was invalid.

Church Members Member access only

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that it was barred from resolving a claim by a dismissed church member that his church violated his legal rights when it dismissed him.

Church Property Member access only

A Tennessee court ruled that a woman who used a path across a church's property had not acquired an easement because her years of use were less than what were prescribed by law.
New York
Church Records

Church Records Member access only

A New York court ruled that members of a nonprofit corporation had a "proper purpose" in asking to see various records of the corporation.

Clergy—Removal Member access only

A federal court in Colorado ruled that it was barred from resolving a claim that a church had engaged in unlawful sex discrimination by dismissing a non-ordained female youth pastor because of her "marriage" to another woman.

Construction Projects  Member access only

An Iowa court ruled that a church was barred by the statute of limitations from suing a contractor for numerous construction-related problems.

Copyright Member access only

A federal appeals court ruled that books written by a religious leader were not works made for hire and therefore the leader himself was the owner of the copyright in the books.

Employment Practices - Part 1 Member access only

A federal appeals court ruled that it was prevented from resolving a claim by a minister that he had been "retaliated" against by his church for assisting a female employee in presenting a sexual harassment claim to church leaders.

Employment Practices - Part 2 Member access only

A federal court in Connecticut ruled that the a church-affiliated college could be sued by a homosexual ex-priest who was dismissed as a professor in the college's religion department.

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

A New York court ruled that a church was not legally responsible for the injuries sustained by a 3-year-old child who suffered lead poisoning.