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Address Legal Concerns Involving Pastor or Church Board Disputes and Personal Injury Liability

Churches and other religious organizations by their very nature face unique issues of personal injury liability. They must rely not just on employees, but also on volunteers and lay leaders to teach and minister. They are often committed to ministering to vulnerable people who are suffering, including addicts and homeless people. They may also allow other religious or nonprofit organizations to use their facilities.

All of these acts of charity put churches at risk. Situations that have resulted in churches being sued include:

  • Lay leaders abusing minors
  • Addicts or other homeless individuals abusing minors or another person
  • Lack of supervision leading to an accident (negligent supervision)
  • Pastor making sexually inappropriate advances to vulnerable females
  • Failure to report an incidence of child abuse discerned during a confidential counseling session in a state where mandatory reporting is required.

It is important that church and lay leaders be informed of potential liability issues and proactively address these risks. In this case, an ounce of prevention may save the church from costly, heart-wrenching litigation.

Situations can arise even under the most innocent of circumstances. For instance, in 2008, an elderly woman died after eating beef at a church social buffet at Salem Lutheran Church in Longville, Minnesota. Several other people also became very sick. The beef had E. coli bacteria.

The source was tracked back to Nebraska Beef. The processing plant’s beef was tested and found positive for E. coli. Nonetheless, in an outrageous move, Nebraska Beef turned around and sued the church, blaming it for the E. coli contamination.

Lonnie Woods is a seasoned attorney whose practice centers on church law. Based in Arlington, Texas, Mr. Woods offers legal guidance that includes managing and advising on issues involving pastor disputes, church board disputes, church liability issues, buying and selling real estate for church purposes and more.
An ordained minister as well as a lawyer, Mr. Woods is dedicated to serving the legal needs of churches. He is here to help, serving nonprofit communities throughout Texas, including in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Speak with a trustworthy, caring church law attorney who can knowledgeably answer your questions and offer guidance on how to protect your rights. Please call for a free initial consultation at 817-751-7111 or contact us online.

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