Jump directly to the content

Appeals Court Barred by First Amendment for Minister’s Terminated Retirement Benefits

Federal
State:
Categories:
Key point. Breach of contract claims by dismissed ministers, no matter how meritorious, cannot be resolved by the civil courts if doing so would require an interpretation of religious doctrine, or involves a claim that a decision by the highest ecclesiastical tribunal of a hierarchical denomination did not comply with the church's laws and regulations.

A federal appeals court ruled that it was barred by the First Amendment religion clauses from resolving a dismissed minister's claim that a denominational pension board acted improperly in terminating his retirement benefits pursuant to denominational rules when he was "defrocked" and ceased to be a minister in good standing. An ordained minister (the "plaintiff") began collecting benefits in 2009 after fulfilling the three conditions identified in his human resource manual for eligibility: (1) he had remained as ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • November 1, 2018

Related ResourcesVisit Store

50-State Religious Freedom Laws Report
50-State Religious Freedom Laws Report
A review of state laws and court decisions affecting church leaders
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition
Learn which local, state, and federal laws apply to religious organizations.
Smart Money for Church Salaries
Smart Money for Church Salaries
This resource takes you on a journey through real-life case studies to uncover compensation issues and navigate their solutions.
ChurchSalary
ChurchSalary
Let ChurchSalary do the work. Get personalized compensation reports for staff and pastors.