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Here is the Steeple--But Whose Steeple?

Here is the church
And here is the steeple.
But does it belong
To the group or the people?

Church property disputes are painful and usually contentious. Usually, though not always, they begin when a congregation wants to leave the denomination, often over doctrinal fidelity. Because it is a dispute over church property, deep constitutional issues apply that may trump regular property law.

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Mechanics of a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Ministry

personal injuryA claim of negligence against a church or ministry can have very serious consequences. There are many possible types of legal claims: torts, breach of contract, employment claims, intellectual property and so forth.  Because of the potential high value of the claims, and because it is a common type of lawsuit that can take many forms, this post reviews the tort of negligence resulting in a personal injury, with the church or ministry as a defendant.  While individual defendants are usually named, some sort of shared liability with the organization is likely because it has greater financial resources.

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The Importance of Preservation to Winning a Civil Appeal

Although it is important that an appellate brief be artfully drafted, victory on appeal may turn more on whether trial counsel had the forethought to ensure that an issue was preserved. This article reviews the general rules regarding preservation and explores the narrow exceptions to that rule that have been recognized by Colorado appellate courts. It then provides some practical suggestions for preparing for appeal during trial and beyond. 

This article was originally published in the Pikes Peak Lawyer, October 2015, the official publication of the El Paso County Bar Association. Read More→

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Seven Lessons from Archdiocese Criminal Prosecution

The State of Minnesota filed criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The charge was six counts of a gross misdemeanor criminal complaint, for putting children at risk in various ways. What lessons should organizations gather from this criminal complaint?

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