Jump directly to the Content

A Church’s Insurer Was Not Obligated to Provide a Legal Defense for Congregant Facing a Lawsuit

Defamatory remarks made by a lay member on social media were not authorized by the church and therefore not covered by its insurance policy.

California
State:
Categories:

Key point 6-06.02. Officers and directors must be legally authorized to act on behalf of their church. Legal authority can be express, implied, inherent, or apparent. In addition, a church can ratify the unauthorized actions of its officers or directors, but this is not required.

A federal court in California ruled that a church’s insurance policy was not obligated to provide a legal defense to a lay member of the church’s council. The member was sued for defamatory remarks he posted on the website Yelp regarding the quality of services provided by a contractor to the church.

Background

In 2018, a company installed solar panels at a church. Dissatisfied with the purported lack of savings in the church’s energy bills promised by the company, a church member (the “defendant”) began investigating the church’s energy usage.

When the company was not sufficiently ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • May 11, 2022

Related ResourcesVisit Store

Nonprofit Financial Oversight
Nonprofit Financial Oversight
The concise and complete guide for boards and finance committees
Board Member Orientation
Board Member Orientation
The concise and complete guide to nonprofit board service
Church Board Guide to Developing a Risk Management Strategy
Church Board Guide to Developing a Risk Management Strategy
Learn how to develop and implement a risk management strategy in your church.
Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy
Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy
Church leaders and boards can take relatively simple, yet effective steps to reduce the likelihood of child sexual abuse.