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Church Law & Tax Report

September/October 2007
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.


Recent Developments

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

Church Liability for the Sexual Molestation of Minors Member access only

A recent case provides helpful guidance.
Church Property

Control of Church Property Member access only

An Iowa court ruled that a local church that was experiencing internal problems did not enter into an enforceable agreement to transfer governance responsibilities to a denominational agency.
South Carolina
Church Property

Property Disputes and Bylaws Member access only

Churches and denominational agencies can avoid church property disputes by adopting appropriate nondoctrinal language in deeds, trusts, local church bylaws, or denominational bylaws.
Clergy - Removal; Clergy Malpractice; Counseling

Counseling and Clergy Malpractice Member access only

Most courts have rejected clergy malpractice as a basis for liability in all cases.
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Whistleblower Act and Employer Retaliation Member access only

A Florida appeals court ruled that it was barred by the First Amendment from resolving a woman's claim under a state "whistle-blower" law.
New York
Employment Practices; Schools; Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Liability for Ex-Employees Member access only

Churches generally cannot be liable for the acts of employees that are committed in their own residences apart from an official church activity, or after the termination of their employment.
Church Property; Zoning

Land Use Regulations Member access only

A federal district court in Michigan ruled that a city violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) by denying a church the right to use its property for church purposes on the basis of a parking ordinance.
Church Property; Schools; Zoning

Zoning and Substantial Burden Member access only

An Oregon court ruled that a county did not violate RLUIPA by denying a church permission to construct a parochial school on its premises.


Q&A: Is There a Minimum Legal Age for Church Child Care Workers? Member access only

No, but the younger the worker, the more supervision required.

Q&A: Does Our Bus Need to Be Certified? Member access only

A "private motor carrier of passengers" must meet certain requirements.