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

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

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

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
Criminal Liability

Church Member's Arrest Justified Member access only

Individuals who send threatening communications to a pastor can face criminal liability.
May 2020
Employment Practices

Teachers at a Religious Preschool Not Considered Ministers Member access only

California Appeals Court says the four-factor test for ministerial status in Hosanna-Tabor was not satisfied.
March 2020
Church Membership

Churchgoer’s Criminal Stalking Conviction Vacated Due to Free Speech Concerns Member access only

Man’s social media posts about a church employee retained First Amendment protections, court says.
October 2019