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Church Not Responsible for Hayride Injuries

But this case highlights the need for churches to set up stringent safeguards for inherently risky activities.

Key point 10-11.1. Churches can reduce the risk of liability based on negligent supervision for injuries not involving sexual misconduct by adopting risk management policies and procedures.

A federal district court in New Jersey ruled that a church was not responsible for serious injuries sustained by a parishioner while participating in a hayride organized by the church.

Background

The Fellowship Event was a free, church-sponsored outing hosted each fall at a nearby commercial farm owned by longtime parishioners of the church. In 2015, the event began at 5:30 p.m. and ended around 10 p.m. About 50 people attended, most of whom were not farmers and did not possess farming experience. The church promoted the event through mentions in the weekly bulletin and announcements by the pastor in the weeks leading up to the event. No participants were required to sign liability waivers for the event.

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Posted:
  • August 9, 2021

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