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Church Law & Tax Report

May/June 2007
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.


Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
Clergy - Removal; Defamation

Lawsuits by Dismissed Clergy  Member access only

A Texas court ruled that it was barred by the First Amendment from resolving a lawsuit brought against a church by a dismissed youth director.
Church Members; Defamation

Accusations of Defamation Member access only

Statements concerning the discipline of members cannot be defamatory unless made with malice.
New York
Denominations - Legal Liability

Denominational Legal Responsibility for Local Churches Member access only

There are several legal defenses available to a denominational agency that is sued as a result of the acts or obligations of affiliated clergy and churches.
New York
Breach of Contract; Contracts; Employment Practices

Enforced Moral Codes Member access only

Churches can impose scriptural or moral standards on their employees, and such efforts will be fully protected by the civil courts?o long as they do so fairly and uniformly.
Employment Practices; Schools

Age Discrimination Claims Member access only

Age discrimination requires proof that age was the basis for an adverse employment decision.
Multi StateConnecticutFederalIowaNew Jersey
Denominations - Legal Liability; Fiduciary Duty; Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Breach of Fiduciary Duty Member access only

Several courts have refused to hold churches and denominational agencies liable on the basis of a breach of a fiduciary duty for the sexual misconduct of a minister.


Q&A: Does Providing Child Care for House Groups Expose the Church to Liability? Member access only

Potential risks for in-home small group gatherings.
Q&A: What's the Difference Between "Privileged" and "Confidential" Communication?

Q&A: What's the Difference Between "Privileged" and "Confidential" Communication? Member access only

Two confusing legal concepts made clear.

Q&A: Does a Child with ADHD Impose a Higher Duty of Care Upon Leaders? Member access only

Churches may need to increase supervision.