Dr. Laurence Kant, who is of the Jewish faith, was an Associate Professor of the History of Religion at the Lexington Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, a denomination of the Christian faith. LTS granted Dr. Kant tenure in March 2006. However, LTS terminated Dr. Kant’s contract at the end of the spring 2009 semester, citing financial exigency as the impetus for its decision. Following his termination in 2009, Dr. Kant filed a complaint against LTS, “alleging that LTS had breached his contractual right to tenured employment and breached the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing.” Following a hearing on LTS’ motion to dismiss the case as an “ecclesiastical matter,” the district court sustained LTS’ motion and concluded that Dr. Kant was a “ministerial employee” due to the subject matter of his course load. Concluding that the ministerial exception thus applied in the case, and “that the issues in the case also involved an ecclesiastical matter,” the district court ruled that it lacked the requisite subject matter jurisdiction over the controversy.
The AAUP filed an amicus brief on behalf of Dr. Kant in April 2013. The brief argued that the school was bound by the contract that it had voluntarily entered into.