When religious institutions go before secular courts of law, they must be represented by lawyers. Our attorneys are experienced in representing litigants in cases that involve religion.
Although our firm includes experienced litigators, we often counsel clients to seek alternatives to litigation. Indeed, some clients prefer or even insist on other forms of dispute resolution, often in accordance with religious doctrine. Religious tribunals differ from one another and their rulings have varying degrees of enforceability. While some religious laws prohibit secular court claims altogether, others allow them so long as the initial efforts to resolve the dispute have been made in a religious context. People and institutions of faith tend to prefer resolving things amicably, or at least informally, rather than by litigation.
Our attorneys have represented clients in the following representative matters:
- Represented members of a congregation, including its clergy and a number of its directors, who were victimized in a widely publicized multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud scheme.
- Prosecuted clergy abuse proceeding in denominational disciplinary tribunals.
- Negotiated pre-litigation settlements of contested matters involving clergy, congregation and lay leadership.
- In an action for declaratory judgment establishing trustees of Hindu temple and removing swami and defendant trustees, conducted trial resulting in dismissal of case in favor of clients.
- Filed complaint resulting in judicial settlement calling for proxy campaign among foundation members.
- Represented numerous clients in mediations, arbitrations and judicial proceedings.
- Sued the City of New York, its mayor and police commissioner in federal court, resulting in summary judgment in favor of religious institution against the City.
- Advised religious institution leaders concerning police raids targeting institution’s outreach program.
- Advised congregational leaders in hierarchically organized denomination concerning dispute with bishop.