Hosanna-Tabor Applied
October 23, 2012

I was recently allowed the opportunity to use the Hosanna-Tabor decision successfully in a recent case in which I defended a client. Relying in part on the United States Supreme Court's decision in Hosanna-Tabor, the Chief Judge of the Denver District Court recently held in Woodward v. St. John Vianney Theological Seminary that a Seminary professor who was part of the Seminary's theology department was a "ministerial employee" and, therefore, barred by the First Amendment from challenging the circumstances surrounding his termination from employment. Importantly, in reaching this conclusion, the judge held that the ministerial exception found in the First Amendment applies not only to federal statutory claims, but also to claims for breach of contract, wrongful termination, fraud, and other state law claims.

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