Non-profit and Religious Institutions

Wicker Smith has years of litigation experience representing non-profit and religious entities. We have a track record of securing successful outcomes in high-profile cases, running the spectrum from allegations of sexual abuse to negligent counseling. As subject-matter experts, we are regularly consulted in the drafting of appropriate child-care guidelines and manuals, as well as in the screening and training of volunteers and other personnel working with children.

Areas of representation include:

  • Allegations of Sexual Abuse
  • Negligent Security
  • Defamation
  • Negligent Supervision
  • Negligent Counseling
  • Failure to Adequately Screen Volunteers and Employees
  • Inadequate Training of Volunteers/Employees
  • Failure to Mandatory Report to Local and State Agencies

Favorable Outcome in a Negligent Hiring Case


We were able to obtain summary judgment in favor of a national religious organization, on issues of respondeat superior and negligent hiring, in a matter wherein the Plaintiff claims the organization is responsible for the claimed sexual abuse of a teacher/non-organization volunteer.

Summary Judgment on Behalf of a National Religious Organization


We were able to get summary judgment in favor of a national religious organization who was sued by six different plaintiffs who alleged that they had been molested or photographed by the son of a pastor in one of the organization’s local churches. The alleged abuse occurred in the pastor’s home, which was owned by the local church.

Represented a Charter School


We represented a charter school, which was sued after one of its teacher’s engaged in a sexual relationship with a teenage girl who attended the school and pursued the teacher. The teacher had no criminal history and was terminated as soon as the school learned that there was any relationship between him and the student.

Representation of a Prominent Religious Personality

Attorneys: Richards "Dick" Ford

We defended a prominent televangelist and leader of a national church in a matter of claimed sexual abuse. The Plaintiff claimed that his immigration status was used as a threat by the televangelist to procure same-sex sexual activity from the Plaintiff who was employed as a valet. The Plaintiff had collected physical evidence which corroborated his claims. The televangelist vigorously denied the allegations as did his wife and family. The case went to trial for several weeks in Federal Court and resulted in an adverse verdict. Through aggressive motions in trial and our post-trial motions, the case was ultimately settled for a small percentage of the original demand.

Successful Resolution of a Negligent Hiring/Sexual Abuse Claim

Attorneys: Richards "Dick" Ford

We represented a church in a case in which  it was alleged that a youth pastor employed by our client had sexually molested a child who attended Sunday School and youth groups there. Through discovery, we learned that the minor Plaintiff and his father lived for a time with the pastor in question, and that all instances of alleged abuse took place at the pastor’s home, not at the church or at any church-sanctioned events. Despite a $4 million demand from Plaintiff’s counsel, this case was resolved prior to trial for well within the policy limits.

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