Churches

News & Analysis as of

Who owns God’s Property? Shifting Politics Cost Some Congregations Their Church

Re-alignment of a congregation with a new denomination is typically driven by ideals, but as usual, money becomes the bone of contention....more

U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh in on Religious Exemptions from ERISA

The United States Supreme Court recently agreed to hear appeals from hospitals with Christian affiliations regarding the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s (“ERISA”) exemption for church retirement plans. ...more

Is discrimination in respect of same-sex marriage ever permissible?

In Reverend Canon Pemberton v. Former Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Canon Pemberton, a Church of England priest, entered into a same-sex marriage. The Church of England opposed the Marriage (Same Sex...more

Church defeats lawsuit by volunteer after stepladder accident. Duelling OHS experts’ testimony considered

A volunteer has lost his lawsuit against a church after he fell off a stepladder he was using at the church. The volunteer was a parishioner at the church who agreed to help with painting. He claimed that the church’s...more

The DBO As Religious Regulator

In December last, the Department of Business Oversight published the 2016 Commissioner’s Report on the Offer or Sale of Securities by Permit under Corporations Code Section 25113. This report, which is required by California...more

Third Circuit Upholds District Court Decision in Pennsylvania Baptist Church Sign Case

Recently, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals entered an order upholding the district court’s decision in the case of Tearpock-Martini v. Shickshinny Borough, which we reported on last summer. The case involved an...more

Do Outsiders Have Standing?

One of the essential elements of a contract is the consent of the parties. Cal. Civ. Code § 1550(2). When a party is not a corporation, there is always a question of whether the person or persons signing the contract have...more

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider ERISA Church Plan Exemption

In a decision that may have profound consequences for the funding and continued operation of defined benefit retirement plans covering employees at religiously affiliated organizations, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to...more

Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Damage Caps As Applied To The Sexual Assault Of A Minor

Except for certain limited circumstances, Ohio law limits, or caps, the maximum amount a person can recover for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. The Ohio Supreme Court recently upheld this limitation of damages...more

Port Jervis, NY Sued by DOJ; Settles Two Days Later

The City of Port Jervis, New York has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit filed by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) alleging that the City’s revision to its zoning code violated the Religious Land Use &...more

RLUIPA Round-Up: Happy Cyber Monday

Take a break from the sales and give the Round-Up a read: ABC Channel 9 in Sioux City reports on a US Justice Department inquiry into the proposed siting of Our Savior Lutheran Church in a former Budweiser warehouse in...more

Watching SCOTUS – ERISA Church-Plan Exemption Revisited

Seyfarth Synopsis: Currently before the Supreme Court are two petitions regarding the thorny legal question of which organizations can qualify for ERISA’s Church-plan exemption. If the Supreme Court grants certiorari and...more

RLUIPA Case of the Year? Minnesota Municipality Uses RLUIPA’s Safe Harbor Provision to Avoid Liability

In an important decision for municipalities across the country, a federal court in Minnesota has recently ruled that actions taken under RLUIPA’s “safe harbor” provision absolved a local government of possible RLUIPA...more

Religious Institutions Update: August 2016

When was the last time your organization reviewed your insurance policies? Not all policies are equal. Many religious organizations are underinsured. Most should have general liability, property, professional liability,...more

Massachusetts Church Alleges Solar Panel Denial Violates Religious Freedom

A Massachusetts Superior Court is soon to consider the interplay of three important planning principles – historic preservation, sustainable development, and freedom of religion. A Unitarian Universalist church is suing the...more

Property Tax and Valuation Topics: Summer 2016

Interim “Watch Tower” Revaluation After High Sale Upheld - The last citywide revaluation conducted by Milford was as of October 1, 2011. On that date, the residential property at 19 Beach Avenue was valued by the...more

Sixth Circuit Holds Coverage Unavailable for Perpetrator of Sexual Misconduct

In its recent decision in Clifford v. Church Mutual Ins. Co., 2016 Fed. Appx. 0373N (6th Cir. July 5, 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, applying Ohio law, had occasion to consider the coverage...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects Hawaii Cannabis Ministry’s RFRA Challenge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently upheld the convictions of two ministers of the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry who admitted using and distributing large quantities of cannabis in accordance with their...more

Graças a Deus - Considerações a respeito de imigração para Igrejas Evangélicas brasileiras após a Sentença no Caso Alencar

Panorama - Eu fui um estudante de espanhol e português esforçado na Academia Militar dos Estados Unidos há trinta anos. Não obstante, sempre preferi português a espanhol. O Departamento de Língua Portuguesa em West Point...more

Church and New Jersey Township Nearing Settlement of Religious Lawsuit

We previously reported about the federal lawsuit filed by Christian Community Chapel against the Township of Hillsborough, New Jersey, in which the Township denied the Chapel’s variance requests to use a 14.3 acre property as...more

Two Adverse Decisions against Church Plans Reached at Appellate Court Level

In Depth - Since 2013, there have been more than 10 lawsuits filed against various health care systems across the country that maintain and operate defined benefit pension church plans. These suits allege that the...more

Courts Strike Down Church Plan Exemptions for Church-Affiliated Organizations

Until recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Labor (DOL), and federal courts seemed to agree that a retirement plan established and maintained by a church-affiliated organization generally qualified...more

New Jersey District Court Remands RLUIPA and Equal Protection Defense to State Court

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sued the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund Review Board, and Joseph A. Kovalcik, Jr. (“Defendants”) in New Jersey Superior Court claiming...more

West Virginia Church Prevails Against Development Authority

Late last year, Summit Church of Elkins, West Virginia, sued the Randolph County Development Authority (“RCDA”) in the Northern District of West Virginia for preventing the Church from purchasing a local movie theater for...more

All Hell Breaks Loose in Phoenix Satanic Prayer Showdown

In our post last month Satanists Score Victory in Phoenix, we reported on the controversy involving the Satanic Temple’s request to open Phoenix City Council’s meeting with prayer....more

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