Court Ruled Internal Church Dispute Does Not Justify a Breach of Contract

Church could have made appropriate revisions in the contract to protect itself against a claim of breach.

An internal church dispute does not justify a breach of contract with an outside vendor, ruled a Georgia state court.

A church entered into a contract to sell its property to a commercial business after its congregation voted to merge with another congregation. A dissatisfied minority filed lawsuits in state court seeking to stop the proposed merger and disputing the church's legal ownership to its property. The church was unable to resolve these disputes, and as a result, was unable to fulfill its obligations under the contract by the commercial buyer.

The church attempted to defend its breach of the contract on the basis of its internal problems and the lawsuits that had been filed against it by the dissident members. Such excuses were summarily rejected by the court, which noted that the church had been aware, at the time it executed the contract of sale, of the lawsuits against it by the dissident members, and it could have made appropriate revisions in the contract to protect itself against a claim of breach. Solid Rock Baptist Church v. Freight Terminals, Inc., 361 S.E.2d (Ga. App. 1987)

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