Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sumner v. Simpson University (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 25, 2018)

If you want to learn all about the common law "ministerial exception" that bars various claims made against religious organizations, Justice Blease's opinion today is a great starting point.

This particular case involves the former dean of a theological seminary in northern California who alleges that she was wrongfully fired from her position.  In the end, the Court of Appeal allows her contract claim to go forward, but dismisses her tort claims on the basis of the ministerial exception.

It's interesting to see how the courts treat various "self-contained" entities -- e.g., churches, Indian tribes, etc. -- in civil society.  You've got to balance the need for sovereignty and non-interference with the protection of individual rights and liberties.  Tough to do.

Anyway, super informative opinion.  Worth a read.