Serving Religious Organizations and Their Members — Churches • Seminaries • Schools • Synagogues

Legal Landmines

In today's litigious society, no organization is immune to legal attacks. This reality means taking deliberate steps toward prevention and preparedness. Allegations of harm must be met with specific and enforced policies customized to the organization's staffing, membership, facilities and functions. Furthermore, liability coverage should be adequate for the facts and provide for legal representation should such allegations be made. Only through careful evaluation by attorneys experienced at defending against such allegations will your organization be in the best possible position to avoid and defend against these eventualities. ROLDA has been established to provide you with tools for that prevention and preparedness. The following are examples of the most common legal landmines that result in lawsuits against the organization for negligence or breach of contract:

Sexual Abuse
  • A licensed counselor employed by a church is accused of becoming sexually involved with a married female church member he was counseling.
  • A church school principal is accused of sexually assaulting numerous minor students at his home.
  • A church with no youth department has no insurance coverage for sexual assaults and does not add such coverage when it establishes its new youth department. Within a year, a volunteer youth leader is accused of becoming sexually involved with one of the youth.
  • A daycare worker is accused of fondling a child.

Employee and Member Disputes
  • A synagogue is forced to discipline a member by ousting him from membership.
  • Within the one-year term of an employment contract, a church school terminates a high school coach for not satisfactorily performing his duties.

Premises Liability
  • A child wanders away from a function on the playground and is injured on the playground equipment.
  • A facility located in a high-crime area provides “some” security protection. Is it adequate to prevent foreseeable crimes against persons?
  • A child is injured at summer camp.


DISCLAIMER: Membership services are consultative only and do not constitute representation.
Representation may be available but must be contracted for separately.
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Sharpe Firm

Sharpe Tillman & Melton, P.C. | Fort Worth, TX