Church Law & Tax Report

September/October 2004
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

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Articles

Retirement Plans Member access only

A federal appeals court ruled that a pastor whose "rabbi trust" retirement fund was substantially lost could not sue the investment company.

Criminal Liability of Clergy for Sexual Misconduct with Adults - Part 2 Member access only

A New York court ruled that the national Boy Scouts organization, and a local church, were not responsible for the sexual molestation of several scouts.

Securities Member access only

A federal appeals court ruled that federal sentencing guidelines did not apply to a pastor who defrauded hundreds of persons in a securities scam.

Recent Developments

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

Privacy Member access only

A federal district court in New York ruled that a dismissed employee could not sue his former employer for invasion of privacy.

Church Business Meetings Member access only

A Georgia court ruled that a trial court did not violate the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom when it intervened in a local church dispute

Church Property Member access only

A Massachusetts court applied the "compulsory deference rule" in resolving a property dispute.

Clergy—Removal - Part 1 Member access only

A Maryland court ruled that it was barred by the First Amendment from resolving a pastor's breach of contract and defamation claims against church officials.

Clergy—Removal - Part 2 Member access only

A Florida court ruled that it was barred by the first amendment from resolving a pastor's claim his denomination violated its internal procedures.

Confidential and Privileged Communications Member access only

An Indiana court ruled that a confession made by a criminal defendant to a police chaplain was not protected by the clergy-penitent privilege.

Copyright Member access only

A federal court in New York ruled that a magazine publisher did not violate the rights of freelance authors and photographers.

Employment Practices - Part 1 Member access only

A Georgia court ruled that an employer and a screening company were not liable for damages allegedly suffered by an employee who was terminated.

Employment Practices - Part 2 Member access only

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that employers can be liable for intentionally communicating false information in employee reference letters, but not for negligently communicating such information.

Employment Practices - Part 3 Member access only

A Pennsylvania court rejected a woman's claim that her employer's failure to conduct an adequate criminal background check on an employee who assaulted her made it liable on the basis of negligent hiring.

Insurance Member access only

A California court ruled that an employer's loss of vital information when its computer "crashed" was not a loss covered under its insurance policy.

Defamation Member access only

A Georgia court ruled that a pastor could not sue a church officer for defamation.

Marriage Member access only

A Florida court ruled that a marriage between a female and a post-operative female-to-male transsexual person was void.
Arkansas

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers Member access only

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that a company was not liable on the basis of negligent hiring or negligent supervision.

Taxation—Church Property Member access only

A Pennsylvania court ruled that a church's fellowship hall that was used for weekly Bible study classes constituted "religious worship" and therefore was exempt from property taxes.

Zoning - Part 1 Member access only

A Michigan court ruled that a trial court acted improperly in dismissing a church's claim that a city violated RLUIPA.

Zoning - Part 2 Member access only

A Missouri court ruled that a city did not violate the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom in refusing to grant a church's request for a permit to construct a sign on its property.

Default Judgments Member access only

A Louisiana court refused to overturn a default judgment issued against a church that failed to answer a lawsuit.