Legal Developments

Richard Hammar’s Review of Cases Affecting Ministers and Churches
Find summaries of key state and federal court decisions, administrative rulings, and legislative developments. While each development is important, some are vital. Look for Key Point as an indicator.
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Newest DevelopmentsView All

Confidential and Privileged Communications

A Murder Confession to a Pastor Not Considered Privileged Member access only

The defendant waived clergy-penitent privilege by sharing substantial statements with others.
September 2020
Embezzlement

Pastor Guilty of Embezzling Funds from a Local PTA Member access only

Case demonstrates that ministers can face criminal liability for embezzlement.
August 2020
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Christian College Not Liable for Sexual Misconduct of Former Student Hired by a Church Member access only

Churches should be aware that states are divided on liability based on recommendations related to hiring.
July 2020
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

A Nearly $22 Million Verdict for Sexual Abuse Not Excessive, Affirms Federal Appeals Court Member access only

Churches should understand that a single incident of child abuse can expose a church to damages far in excess of its insurance coverage.
June 2020
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Woman Could Sue Her Former High School for Negligent Supervision in Abuse Claim Member access only

But the appeals court ruled that she could not sue for negligent hiring.
June 2020