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Case Note – Mohamed v. Iglesia Evangelica Oasis de Salvacion

The New Jersey Court of Appeals has issued an opinion in favor of a pedestrian injured at a parking lot operated by a church in Hudson County. The case addresses the question as to whether a church or other charitable organization is liable for injuries suffered when she tripped on a defect in the sidewalk in front of the defendant church. The trial court had dismissed the case relying on the New Jersey Charitable Immunity Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-7. Under that law, a person cannot sue a church or other charities for negligence if the person is a beneficiary, to whatever degree, of the works of the church or organization. However, the Appellate Division reinstated the case after determining that a question of fact may exist that the church used the parking lot for commercial purposes.

Are you aware of the risks which your charitable organization faces? While the case is not over for Iglesia Evangelica Oasis de Salvacion, the case thus far provides insight as to how the legal process works and raises awareness of potential risks to pastors and leaders of charitable organizations. You can read the language of the opinion by clicking here.

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