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http://nycourts.law.com/CourtDocumentViewer.asp?view=Document&docID=47224 Judge Wood PLAINTIFF, A former senior associate priest at defendant Grace Church, was fired by defendant and claimed damages for breach of her employment contract and for the allegedly tortious conduct surrounding her firing. The parties’ employment agreement permitted defendant to fire plaintiff with or without cause, but it entitled her to benefits if her firing was without cause. Plaintiff contended she was fired without cause, and yet did not receive the benefits to which she was entitled. The court dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, concluding that although the suit asserts common-law claims rather than federal statutory claims, the same constitutional principle applies to both and bars court review of church decisions regarding the employment of ministers. The court determined that the Free Exercise Clause bars the court from resolving the dispute because it cannot scrutinize the reasons for defendant’s decision to fire the priest.

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