Thefts from Church Coat Racks

Churches are not necessarily responsible for thefts occurring on their property.

Church Law and Tax 1997-07-01

Church property

Key Point. Churches are not necessarily responsible for the theft of coats from unattended coat racks or rooms.

A Georgia court ruled that a private club was not legally responsible for the theft of a womans coat. This ruling is of direct relevance to every church that has coat racks or rooms for the convenience of their members and guests. The court, in concluding that the organization was not responsible for the loss of the womans coat, observed:

[S]he had an opportunity to avoid any risk attributable to an unattended cloakroom …. [O]nce she arrived at the club and saw the unattended cloakroom … she knew, or should have known, that no attendant was provided. She left her valuable coat in the cloakroom knowing that it was unattended; she assumed the risk of theft. She therefore cannot recover for the consequences of that risk.

Application. Most churches have a room where members and guests can store coats during services and other activities. Occasionally, coats are stolen or removed by accident. This case illustrates that churches are not necessarily legally responsible for the loss of a coat from an unattended coat room-since persons who leave a coat in an unattended room “assume the risk” of theft. Athens Country Club, Inc. v. Jackson, 481 S.E.2d 904 (Ga. App. 1997). [Premises Liability]

Related Topics:

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations." Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

ajax-loader-largecaret-downcloseHamburger Menuicon_amazonApple PodcastsBio Iconicon_cards_grid_caretChild Abuse Reporting Laws by State IconChurchSalary Iconicon_facebookGoogle Podcastsicon_instagramLegal Library IconLegal Library Iconicon_linkedinLock IconMegaphone IconOnline Learning IconPodcast IconRecent Legal Developments IconRecommended Reading IconRSS IconSubmiticon_select-arrowSpotify IconAlaska State MapAlabama State MapArkansas State MapArizona State MapCalifornia State MapColorado State MapConnecticut State MapWashington DC State MapDelaware State MapFederal MapFlorida State MapGeorgia State MapHawaii State MapIowa State MapIdaho State MapIllinois State MapIndiana State MapKansas State MapKentucky State MapLouisiana State MapMassachusetts State MapMaryland State MapMaine State MapMichigan State MapMinnesota State MapMissouri State MapMississippi State MapMontana State MapMulti State MapNorth Carolina State MapNorth Dakota State MapNebraska State MapNew Hampshire State MapNew Jersey State MapNew Mexico IconNevada State MapNew York State MapOhio State MapOklahoma State MapOregon State MapPennsylvania State MapRhode Island State MapSouth Carolina State MapSouth Dakota State MapTennessee State MapTexas State MapUtah State MapVirginia State MapVermont State MapWashington State MapWisconsin State MapWest Virginia State MapWyoming State IconShopping Cart IconTax Calendar Iconicon_twitteryoutubepauseplay