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Church Law & Tax Report

January/February 2015
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.


Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
Compensation and Benefits; First Amendment

Exemption of Unemployment Services in the Employ of a Church Doesn't Violate First Amendment Member access only

Terminated employee unable to sue church for lack of unemployment benefits.
New York
Taxation - Church Property

New York Court Rules Tax Exemption in Favor of Catholic Diocese Member access only

Closed churches’ occasional use for religious purposes is enough to exempt them from property taxes.
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Church Could be Liable for Negligent Hiring Member access only

Court rules church hiring youth pastor without checking reference could be liable for workers' molestation of a minor.
Denominations - Legal Liability; Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Former Scout Leader Sued for Molestation Member access only

Court rules scouting organization is not responsible.
Invasion of Privacy; Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Church Deacon Secretly Records Teenage Girls in His Bathroom Member access only

A 10-year sentence at hard labor stands up in court.
Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities

Aurora Movie Theater Could Be Liable for 2012 Shooting Member access only

Federal court rules armed assailant’s shooting could have been prevented if security measures were taken.

Pollution Exclusion in Insurance Policy Prevents Lawsuit Member access only

Pastor killed by carbon monoxide in church parsonage; wife is unable to sue for damages.

Church Board Guilty of Defamation Member access only

Pastor able to sue board for false accusations.
Clergy - Removal; Employment Practices

Seminary Professor Unable to Sue for Racial Discrimination Member access only

Ministerial exemption keeps court from getting involved in discrimination claims.
Clergy - Removal; Employment Practices

Ministerial Exemption Prevents Court from Resolving Lawsuit Member access only

Texas court claims they’re unable to resolve wrongful dismissal claim.