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Church Law & Tax Report

January/February 2002
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

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Recent Developments

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

Church Property Member access only

A Pennsylvania court ruled that a painting contractor could be liable on the basis of negligence for injuries sustained by the young children of a pastor who were exposed to lead paint dust.

Clergy—Removal - Part 1 Member access only

A Michigan court dismissed a lawsuit brought against a church by a former pastor who was terminated as a result of a consensual relationship he initiated with a female church employee.

Clergy—Removal - Part 2 Member access only

The Virginia Supreme Court declined to resolve a dispute over the removal of a minister.

Privacy - Part 1 Member access only

A Michigan court ruled that a husband who secretly recorded conversations his wife was having on a cordless telephone had violated a state eavesdropping statute.

Defamation Member access only

A Florida court ruled that it was barred by the first amendment from resolving a woman's defamation claim against her church.

Euthanasia Member access only

A Florida court granted a husband's request to discontinue life-support systems for his wife, who had been in a persistent vegetative state for ten years, despite the objections of her parents.

Insurance Member access only

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a church's liability insurance policy covered allegations that the church was responsible, on the basis of negligence, for the sexual misconduct of a church employee.

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

A federal court in the District of Columbia ruled that a school could be responsible on the basis of negligent supervision for an assault committed by five of its students on another student.

Privacy - Part 2 Member access only

A federal court in Pennsylvania ruled that a school did not violate a federal wiretap law when it used a transcript of an AOL "Instant Messenger" conversation between two high school students as the basis for expelling one of the students.

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

The Alabama Supreme court ruled that an employer cannot be liable for the sexual misconduct of an employee unless it had prior knowledge of similar incidents.

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

An Oregon court ruled that a pastor who engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman could not be sued directly by the woman’s husband.

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

The Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that the statute of limitations barred a woman's claims against her church and denomination as a result of a sexual relationship that her pastor allegedly initiated with her.

Taxation—Church Property Member access only

A New York court ruled that a church-owned residence occupied by a non-ordained choir director was exempt from property taxes.