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Church Law & Tax Report

March/April 2009
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

Feature Article

Whose Church Is It? Member access only

California Supreme Court rules on ownership issue between national Episcopal church and local parish that seceded.


Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
Compensation and Benefits; Employment Practices

Breach of Contract and the Ministerial Exception Member access only

Court agrees to hear church organist's breach of contract lawsuit.
Church Names

Take Care When Naming Your Church Member access only

Church names are protectable under trademark law.
Compensation and Benefits

Clergy Compensation Disputes Member access only

Court rules that it cannot resolve a pastor's lawsuit for breach of contract.
Charters, Constitutions, and Bylaws; Church Members

Expelled Church Members Sue Church, Directors and Officers Member access only

Court agrees to resolve former members' complaint.
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Off-Premises Sexual Misconduct Member access only

Employer not liable for employees' off-premises sexual assault.
New York

Can Opinions Be Defamatory? Member access only

Former music director sues church for defamation after his dismissal.
Multi StateWashington
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Segregation of Damages Member access only

If this principle applies, exposure to monetary damages in sexual misconduct claims may be reduced.
North Carolina
Employment Practices

Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment Member access only

Court rules that church employee's behavior does not qualify as harassment.
Employment Practices

Are Parochial School Teachers Ministers? Member access only

Court rules that ministerial exception does not apply to teacher in Catholic school.
Employment Practices

Whistleblower Protections for Church Employees Member access only

Dismissing or disciplining a whistleblower can have legal consequences.


Q&A: Pastor's Taxable Income? Member access only

A no-interest loan to a pastor brings up a number of issues.