Key point 10-02.01. Employers may be liable on the basis of respondeat superior only for the acts of employees.
Churches can be liable on the basis of respondeat superior for the negligent acts of employees committed within the course or scope of their employment. A number of courts have addressed the question of whether clergy are "employees" for purposes of imposing liability on an employing church. One of the first such cases was a decision by the Supreme Court of California. Malloy v. Fong, 232 P.2d 241 (Cal. 1951). The case involved a 12-year-old boy who lost a leg and suffered serious injuries to his other leg because of an accident caused by the reckless driving of the pastor of a Presbyterian "missions" church. At the time of the accident, the boy was standing on the "running board" of a car driven by the church's pastor at an excessive rate of ...
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.