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Denominational Legal Responsibility for Local Churches

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.

Key point 10-18.3. 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. These include a lack of temporal control over clergy and churches; a lack of official notice of a minister's prior wrongdoing in accordance with the denomination's governing documents; lack of an agency relationship; the prohibition by the First Amendment of any attempt by the civil courts to impose liability on religious organizations in a way that would threaten or alter their polity; and elimination or modification of the principle of joint and several liability.

* A New York court ruled that the national Boy Scouts of America was not legally responsible for the drowning death of a scout because it did not exercise supervision or control over the activities of local troops. A 15-year-old Boy Scout drowned while on ...

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Posted:
  • May 1, 2007

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