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

Pastor Allowed to Testify at a Man’s Sexual Abuse Trial Member access only

Appeals court determined that the pastor acted in the role of a friend and the clergy-penitent privilege did not apply.
March 2021

Are Ministers Always Exempt from State-Required Counseling Licenses? Member access only

A Florida appeals court’s decision offers a rare look at the elements necessary for a licensing exemption to apply.
February 2021
Clergy - Discipline and Removal

Music Director’s Duties Fall “Squarely Within the Ministerial Exception” Member access only

Court ruled it was barred from resolving claim of unlawful discrimination.
February 2021
Income Taxes - Clergy

A Church’s Tax-Exempt Status Does Not Extend to Its Minister

Tax court confirms imposition of substantial penalties on taxpayer who claimed he functioned as a church.
November 2020
Confidential and Privileged Communications

Defendant's Meeting with Pastor Was Not for Spiritual Advice Member access only

Man accused of sexual abuse of stepdaughter not protected by clergy-penitent privilege.
October 2020