Sunday, February 11, 2007

Legislature mulls damages cap on church lawsuits

Nice piece by Randy Stapilus on Oregon House Resolutions 16 & 17 -- two bills that would cap non-economic damages in lawsuits against churches at $1 million.

A bit of background may be helpful here. If someone gets hurt in your church, they can sue for two kinds of damage: economic and non-economic.
  • Economic damage covers out-of-pocket expenses like medical bills and lost-wages.
  • Non-economic (or "qualitify of life") damage is for "pain and suffering" -- and yes, this can run to millions and millions of dollars.
In Oregon, for instance, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland has been sued by at least 196 people who say they were molested by priests. Claims for economic damages have been negligible . . .

But the Archdiocese has already settled $53 million in claims for non-economic damage, and faces claims for another $160 million. In response to all this, the Archdiocese has filed for bankrupcy.

And now you know why Oregon House Republicans want to "cap" non-economic damages in lawsuits against churches -- "otherwise," they say, "we're looking at a real crimp in the practice of religion in this state."

But should churches be exempt from the rules that govern other groups?

Click on the title of this post for the article.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since when was the Oregon legislature all that concerned about crimping the practice of religion in their state? They are certainly complicit in their support of the "adult" entertainment industry be that porn, gambling or other... Hmmm.