Hiring and Firing Clergy Of Congregational Houses of Worship – May 2019


In the Friday, May 31, 2019 issue of the New York Law Journal, NMB partners Barry Black and Jonathan Nelson examine the differences of between hierarchical and congregational governing structures of religious institutions, and the understanding of the roles that trustees and congregations have authority over of hiring and firing affairs. Barry and Jonathan also outline practical considerations for congregations to be mindful of when making decisions about clergy.

How Courts Paved the Way For the Eruv – March 2019


Partner  Barry Black authored an article for the New York Law Journal featured in their March 1st edition. 

The article touched on the centuries-old practice of Orthodox Jews preventing them from pushing or carrying objects outside their homes on the Sabbath and on Yom Kippur, yet those prohibitions are lifted within an eruv, a ritual demarcation of an area.

Barry discusses recent and historical decisions on the practice and offers insight into how both sides of the community should approach the practice. 

Religious Institutions and Trustees: An Unorthodox Relationship – November 2018


Barry Black and Jonathan Nelson discuss in their recent Religion Law column featured in the New York Law Journal some examples highlighting the rather unorthodox relationship between religious organizations and their trustees. The two Nelson Madden Black partners dive into a variety of cases which have laid precedence to the opaque guidelines for religious organizations, trustees and even members of congregations. 

Religious Accommodations: How Far Must Employers Go? – August 2018


Religious accommodation disputes can lead to a variety of claims against employers. In their most recent Religion Law column for the New York Law Journal, Barry Black and Jonathan Nelson of the religion law firm Nelson Madden Black review and explain the law related to these kinds of religious accommodation claims and discuss the efforts that both employers and employees are expected to make in an effort to resolve them.

The bottom line, according to Mr. Black and Mr. Nelson, is that, in many instances, there is almost nothing more important to an employee than his or her religious beliefs. The law recognizes that, and requires that employers do so as well – within limits.

When #MeToo Leads To Litigation Against a Church – May 2018


Under the ministerial exception, a minister’s discrimination lawsuit against his or her congregation cannot be sustained as violative of the First Amendment.  Does this principle apply to sexual harassment claims?  What if the harassment claim in no way involves the hiring or firing of the minister?  The courts are split on this question. How will NY’s courts decide the question?  Read the New York Law Journal’s most recent Religion Law Column by partners Barry Black and John Madden. 

Congregations Transferring Real Estate: When Is Court Approval Needed? – March 2018


Partners Barry Black and Jonathan Robert Nelson co-authored the New York Law Journal’s inaugural Religion Law column.  The article focuses on the approval necessary prior to a religious institution’s transfer of real estate as set forth in New York’s Religious Corporations Law.

This was the first article in a new quarterly series for the New York Law Journal on Religion Law. Partner Barry Black has been designated by the NYLJ as its Religion Law Columnist.

When Can State Courts Decide Religious Disputes? – November 2017


Barry Black and Jonathan Robert Nelson delivered their insights into the power of state courts to resolve religious issues through an “expert analysis” article in the New York Law Journal

Exceptions and Exclusions Benefit Religious Institutions and Clergy – September 2017


Barry Black and John B. Madden authored an “expert analysis” article for the New York Law Journal discussing several anomalies in which the law treats religious institutions and clergy uniquely, including certain tax exemptions, employment status of clergy and Title VII provisions.