Civil Rights Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Religious Institutions: June 2015

Religious institutions commonly make payments to or receive payments directly or indirectly from governmental agencies for services rendered; e.g., day cares that benefit from public scholarships, hospitals that participate...more

DOJ Files Lawsuit Against City of Beaumont, Texas for Alleged FHA Violations

On May 26, the DOJ announced a lawsuit against the city of Beaumont, Texas (Beaumont) for allegedly violating the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the DOJ’s complaint, Beaumont’s...more

Kosher Meals for Prisoners: U.S. Department of Justice Wins Claim of Religious Discrimination against the Florida Department of...

A federal court has ruled that the Florida Department of Corrections’ (Department) refusal to provide kosher meals to inmates violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The court’s decision in...more

Ninth Circuit Issues Decision in Civil Rights Case in Review of California SIP

On May 8, 2015, in El Comite Para El Bienestar De Earlimart v. EPA, a Panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review filed by several groups that the court describes as “community...more

City of Marysville, Washington Defeats RLUIPA, RFRA, and Fair Housing Claims

In Holy Ghost Revival Ministries v. City of Marysville (W.D. Washington), the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington considered claims of religious discrimination brought by Holy Ghost Revival Ministries...more

Suit by “Interested,” Neighboring Municipalities to Enforce SEQRA Requirements Does Not “Impose or Implement” a Land Use...

On March 27, 2015, the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants in the consolidated action Bernstein v. Wesley Hills, 08-CV-156; 12-CV-8856 (KMK), (the “Wesley Hills” Action). The...more

Transgender Native American Prisoner Denied Access to Sweat Lodge and Unsatisfied with the Alternative Sues under RLUIPA: More on...

Corrections Corporation of America (Dist. Idaho 2015) because the decision reflects a recent trend in RLUIPA cases: close judicial scrutiny as to whether a compelling government interest is furthered by “the least restrictive...more

St. Louis Homeless Shelter Files RLUIPA Claim and Requests Preliminary Injunction to Continue Operations

Plaintiff, New Life Evangelistic Center, Inc., (“New Life”), an interdenominational Christian Church formed in 1972 by Reverend Larry Rice, recently sued the City of St. Louis, Missouri (the “City”) in the Eastern District of...more

Illinois Appellate Court Interprets Equal Terms “Comparator” Favorably for Local Government

In an important decision for local governments, the Illinois Appellate Court on March 6, 2015 issued its decision in Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary School (“JDBY”) v. City of Evanston. The decision, particularly the...more

“Integral Yoga” Group and Swami Hope to Find Their Inner Balance in Federal Court; Lawsuit Alleges Religious Discrimination by...

The Spirit of Aloha Temple (“Spirit”) and Fredrick R. Honig a/k/a Swami Swaroopananda are suing the County of Maui and the Maui Planning Commission (“Commission”) over the Commission’s denial of their proposal to use an...more

Evangelical Church Sues Colonie, New York, Alleges Religious Discrimination, Over Delays in Land Use Approval Process

An evangelical church, Life Covenant Church a/k/a LifeChurch.tv (“LifeChurch”), is suing Colonie, New York (“Town”), the Town’s Planning Board, certain of its members, and the Town’s attorneys over allegations that the Town’s...more

2d Cir Extends Williamson County Ripeness "Final Decision" Requirement To ADA Claims

Ah, Williamson County. We've ranted about it before, so we won't do so here (again). But takings mavens know that a property owner must meet two tests before she can raise a takings claim against a state or local government...more

Second Circuit Restores Litchfield Synagogue's Lawsuit

A lawsuit filed by a Litchfield Jewish organization has been reinstated, giving the group new hopes it will ultimately win approval to build a 20,000-square-foot synagogue and community center near the historic...more

Norwalk Settles Mosque Lawsuit for $2 Million

A long-running dispute between the city of Norwalk and an Islamic group appears to be settled, with the city agreeing to pay $2 million to the group and help it find an alternate location for a mosque and a meeting...more

Second Circuit Revives Chabad Group’s RLUIPA Suit

On September 19, 2014, the Second Circuit issued its decision in Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County, Inc. v. Borough of Litchfield (2d Cir. 2014), reversing the lower court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the...more

City’s Handling of Application for Subdivision Approvals May Trigger Liability Under Fair Housing Act

The Federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, including discriminatory land use decisions, on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or familial status. The...more

City, Islamic Group Near Settlement in Mosque Suit; Proposed deal would curtail legal fees, end religious land use case

Lawyers representing an Islamic group that wants to build a mosque in Norwalk had run up an estimated $5.5 million legal tab. That number was making attorneys representing the city a bit nervous. And so the two sides...more

New RLUIPA Suit Accuses Two New York Municipalities of Anti-Semitism

The Village of Bloomingburg, NY (Village) and the Town of Mamakating, NY (Town) are facing allegations of religious discrimination in land use regulation. On September 8, 2014, the Bloomingburg Jewish Education Center,...more

Ninth Circuit: Cities Must Have On-Street Disabled Parking

Cities Have an Obligation Under the ADA - The Ninth Circuit recently ruled that cities have an obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide on-street parking that is accessible to people with...more

DOJ Sues Minnesota City Over Denial of Islamic Somali Immigrants’ Mosque Proposal

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has sued the City of St. Anthony Village under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) after the City Council, in 2012, denied the Abu Huraira Islamic Center’s...more

Fair Housing Group Issues Annual Report

On August 13, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) published its annual fair housing report titled “Expanding Opportunity: Systemic Approaches to Fair Housing.” The paper summarizes 2013 fair housing enforcement actions...more

Curb Appeal: Looks Matter When It Comes to the ADA

I’m frequently asked two questions by business owners and managers when it comes to ADA compliance and lawsuits. The first question is, “what type of businesses get sued most often?”...more

Contractor Alert: Help Available for Small Businesses in the HUBZone Program

Recognizing that our country -- our “team,” if you will -- is stronger when all our players are on the field and playing to their full potential, our federal and some state governments have developed programs to help...more

Mt. Holly Gardens files merits brief

Although settlement discussions are continuing, the respondents in Township of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc., filed their merits brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on October 21. (The Township’s...more

The Best Defense You’ve Never Heard Of – The Federal Enclave Doctrine Restricts Wrongful Termination Remedies

The relatively obscure Federal Enclave Doctrine is potentially a powerful arrow in the quiver of defense counsel, where the tortious act complained of occurred on federal land. In the context of employment-related claims, the...more

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