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Legal Developments

Richard Hammar’s Review of Cases Affecting Ministers and Churches

This section contains a summary of court decisions, administrative rulings, and legislative developments that directly affect churches and clergy. Court decisions reflect decisions of all state appellate courts and supreme courts, and all federal courts.

State trial court decisions are not reviewed since they are unpublished and have no value as legal precedent. All of these developments are important, but some are of vital significance. Therefore, each development should be reviewed carefully.

Note that there are many “key points” associated with Legal Developments. These are intended to help you more quickly comprehend the importance of each development. To help you go deeper on a specific topic or issue, the numbered key points in Legal Developments align with the numbered key points in Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition (ChurchLawAndTaxStore.com) and the Legal Library available on ChurchLawAndTax.com.

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Newest DevelopmentsView All

Invasion of Privacy

Church School Not Liable for Alerting Parents of Fired Coach’s Ban from Campus Member access only

Invasion of privacy claim failed because of how the school handled public messages about former employee.
November 2022
Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities

Child’s Injury Raises Questions of Church Liability

The case highlights the duty churches have to promptly identify and correct dangerous conditions.
November 2022
Fiduciary Duty

Court Affirms Pastor’s Conviction, Sentence for Embezzlement

Pastor wrongfully took more than $100,000 from widow over several years.
October 2022
Taxation - Church Property

Court Sides with Church in Tax Delinquency Case Member access only

But the case underscores the importance of knowing—and abiding by—state-specific tax exemption laws
October 2022
Ministerial Exception; Sexual Harassment

Court Cannot Rule on Sexual Harassment Claims from Church Employees Member access only

Ohio case shows ministerial exception can block sexual harassment claims brought by ministers against their churches.
October 2022