by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Charitable Immunity

§ 10.16.05
Key point 10-16.05. The legal liability of churches and their officers, directors, and volunteers, is limited by state and federal "charitable immunity" laws.

In most states, religious organizations are subject to being sued for the negligence of their employees just like any commercial organization. However, the view that religious organizations should be completely immune from liability was once common. It gradually was rejected by all of the states that had adopted it. The principle of total immunity frequently was criticized. One court observed, "Even the most cursory research makes it apparent that there is no ground upon which this doctrine of nonliability has rested … that has not been assailed and criticized at length by some other court … ." [209] Gable v. Salvation Army, 100 P.2d 244, 246 (Okla. 1940).While the view that charities should be completely ...

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