Civil Rights Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Landmark Discrimination Case: Fair Housing Act Thwarts NIMBYs - Avenue 6E Investments, LLC v. City of Yuma (March 25, 2016)

Why It Matters: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision in favor of the City of Yuma, Arizona, and concluded instead that there was sufficient evidence to present to a jury that the City had rejected the...more

Beyond the Bathroom: North Carolina’s H.B. 2 Also Flushes Local Employee Protections

The recent enactment of North Carolina’s H.B. 2, known as the “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act” (the “Act”) has received widespread attention for its controversial restrictions on the use of certain...more

Rezoning Denial May Give Rise to Liability for Discriminatory Zoning Practices

The federal Fair Housing Act is one of the most important pieces of Congressional legislation in the last half-century or more. It was enacted in the 1960s after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at a time of...more

EPA Investigates Alabama State Environmental Agency for Alleged Violation of Civil Rights Act

In an unprecedented action, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is investigating the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), one of its state counterparts, for alleged civil rights violations under Title...more

Update on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Inclusive Communities Decision

As previously reported on this blog, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2507 (2015) adopted a burden-shifting approach to...more

Points & Authorities - Winter 2016

Attention California Employers: New Employment Laws Affecting Your Business Take Effect on January 1, 2016 - In past years the Governor of California has enacted new laws related to employment that place additional...more

Alaska Presses D.C. Court of Appeals to Reject Trust Acquisitions in Alaska

The question of whether Alaska Natives may place land in the same federal trust status as Indian tribes in the lower 48 states was widely thought to have been resolved but is now before the Court of Appeals for the District...more

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Disparate-Impact Claims Under Fair Housing Act

In a recent holding, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that discrimination claims under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) may be premised on "disparate impact," meaning that a plaintiff may challenge a practice even if it was not...more

Supreme Court Decision May Make It Easier for Borrowers to Sue for Discrimination

A recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States may make it easier for borrowers to claim discrimination when denied a loan. In late June 2015, the Court addressed whether lawsuits brought under the Fair Housing...more

Religious Institutions: September 2015

Respondeat superior (literally, "let the master answer" in Latin) is a doctrine that applies when an employer or principal has the ability and authority to direct and control the pertinent acts of the employee. Put otherwise,...more

Five Surprising Facts About the Inclusive Communities Case

In the Supreme Court’s recent, landmark decision in Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 576 U.S. ___, 2015 WL 2473449 (Jun. 25, 2015), the Court held that, while disparate...more

RLUIPA Round-UP

We’ve been monitoring news items involving local government, religion, and land use that may be of interest to our readers. Below is what has caught our attention. Livingston Daily reports that Genoa Charter Township...more

Gov. Brown Assembles Fracking Review Panel

According to several news organizations, Governor Brown has announced plans to form a new panel to review the recent well stimulation study conducted by the California Council on Science and Technology (“CCST”)....more

Supreme Court Affirms FHA Disparate Impact Claims

Late last month, the Supreme Court handed down a significant decision affecting rights and obligations under the Fair Housing Act. The Court’s 5-4 decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

Religion Clause Blog reports that Indiana’s First Church of Cannabis is using the state’s recently enacted religious freedom law to protect its founder and two members from prosecution for possession of marijuana. The Church...more

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

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

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