Church Law & Tax Report
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Clergy and some other church officials are affected.
A federal court in Louisiana ruled that a church in Florida was not responsible for the liabilities of a church in Louisiana.
Application to churches and church staff.
Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
An Indiana court ruled that a private investigator who made secret surveillance videos during a worship service to "prove" that the pastor's wife was not disabled did not commit an invasion of privacy or emotional distress.
A Michigan court ruled that it was barred from resolving a dismissed pastor's claim that his dismissal was legally void because of noncompliance with procedural requirements.
The Tax Court ruled that a minister could not deduct the cost of courses he took at a local university to complete his undergraduate degree.
An Indiana court ruled that a lawsuit brought by a dismissed pastor against his former church was barred by the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom.
A federal court in Puerto Rico ruled that it was barred by the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom from resolving a dismissed pastor's lawsuit against his former church.
A federal court in Florida ruled that a computer software program written by an employee was a "work made for hire" that was owned by the employer and not the employee.
A federal appeals court ruled that a religious chorus did not infringe upon the copyright of an allegedly similar song composed by another songwriter a few years earlier.
A federal court in Texas ruled that a company committed copyright infringement by making and selling a videotape of a concert in which copyrighted music was performed.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that church officials could be sued for defamation as a result of a letter that was sent to both members and non-members.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a pastor could sue his denomination for publishing a statement informing other pastors and the media that he had been suspended from all pastoral duties because of "formal charges of sexual misconduct."
Church Property; Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities
An Ohio court ruled that an indemnification clause in a "facility use agreement" required a charity that used a nonprofit camp to reimburse the camp for any legal judgments or settlements arising out of injuries occurring at the camp.
A California court ruled that an employer's cell phone records can be used to show whether or not an employee was talking on a cell phone at the time of an accident.
The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine ruled that a church could not be liable on the basis of negligent supervision for a pastor's sexual assault.
The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom did not prevent it from resolving a man's claim that his church and a denominational agency were responsible for the negligent counseling of his pastor that led to the breakdown of his marriage.
A federal district court in California ruled that a city could not seize a church's property through eminent domain.
A New Jersey court ordered a plaintiff to pay the attorney fees of a church employee because a lawsuit naming the employee as a defendant was frivolous.