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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State trial court decisions are not reviewed since they are unpublished and have no value as legal precedent.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


Church’s Failure to Cooperate Results in Loss of Insurance Coverage for Storm Claim Member access only

The church never submitted proof of loss form or other required supporting information.
August 2022
Church Property

A Church Loses Land to a Family That Maintained It for Years Member access only

A long list of multiple uses and actions performed by the plaintiffs over decades showed the property became theirs through “adverse possession.”
July 2022
Church Property

Understanding Restrictions Placed on Property Deeds Member access only

Ruling offers insights into two types of conditions that may affect how a church owns, uses, sells, or gives away its land.
July 2022
Ministerial Exception

Missouri Federal Court Further Defines “Ministerial Exception” Member access only

Lay principal’s lawsuit alleging sex discrimination not allowed to proceed.
July 2022
Charters, Constitutions, and Bylaws; Officers, Directors, and Trustees

Pastor Lacked Authority to Appoint Board Members Member access only

The appointments were rescinded because they violated the church’s bylaws.
July 2022