A Church wants to apologize and the insurance company for the church panics. What else would you expect a church to do?

The basic reason why we have lawsuits is attorneys won’t let you do what is right? We are trained that way.

This is a great article Church abuse cases and lawyers an uneasy mix, published in USA Today. The basic issue is the church had an employee sexually molest members of the church. The church wanted to apologize. The attorney for the church’s insurance company wrote the church a letter stating they church should not do that. Actually, it was a pretty sternly written warning.

Do not make any statements, orally, in writing or in any manner, to acknowledge, admit to or apologize for anything that may be evidence of or interpreted as (a suggestion that) the actions of Vienna Presbyterian Church … caused or contributed to any damages arising from the intentional acts/abuse/misconduct
The next day the church sent a letter to its members and that Sunday the minister spoke of the issues during the service.

However, it was this quote in the article from an “expert” in church abuse cases that sent me cringing/laughing/yelling at the paper.

“The church is in the business of forgiveness, of being forthright and open and truthful, but that often creates liability in a world that’s adversarial, in the judicial world,” McCalmon says.

I have one thing to say to Mr. McCalmon. Prove it! Most states have a statute that says if you apologize for your actions it can’t be used in court to prove you are liable. Colorado’s statute C.R.S. § 13-25-135. Evidence of admissions – civil proceedings – unanticipated outcomes – medical care is limited to medical care, but it is a great statute that allows physicians to say they were sorry about the outcome without having to worry about the legal ramifications.

13-25-135. Evidence of admissions – civil proceedings – unanticipated outcomes – medical care

(1) In any civil action brought by an alleged victim of an unanticipated outcome of medical care, or in any arbitration proceeding related to such civil action, any and all statements, affirmations, gestures, or conduct expressing apology, fault, sympathy, commiseration, condolence, compassion, or a general sense of benevolence which are made by a health care provider or an employee of a health care provider to the alleged victim, a relative of the alleged victim, or a representative of the alleged victim and which relate to the discomfort, pain, suffering, injury, or death of the alleged victim as the result of the unanticipated outcome of medical care shall be inadmissible as evidence of an admission of liability or as evidence of an admission against interest.

(2) For purposes of this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) “Health care provider” means any person licensed or certified by the state of Colorado to deliver health care and any clinic, health dispensary, or health facility licensed by the state of Colorado. The term includes any professional corporation or other professional entity comprised of such health care providers as permitted by the laws of this state.
(b) “Relative” means a victim’s spouse, parent, grandparent, stepfather, stepmother, child, grandchild, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, or spouse’s parents. The term includes said relationships that are created as a result of adoption. In addition, “relative” includes any person who has a family-type relationship with a victim.
(c) “Representative” means a legal guardian, attorney, person designated to make decisions on behalf of a patient under a medical power of attorney, or any person recognized in law or custom as a patient’s agent.
(d) “Unanticipated outcome” means the outcome of a medical treatment or procedure that differs from an expected result.

What does it prove?

It only proves people are sorry, not that they are liable and not that they owe someone any money. The apology in this case was because the church let people down and did not do its job as a church.
You should read the article it is well written and information. Post a comment on how you would have acted?

Follow the church?
Follow the insurance company’s lawyer?

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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