News & Analysis as of

Religious Institutions

New Substantial Burden Framework in the Sixth Circuit; Court Upholds RLUIPA Verdict in Favor of Michigan Township

In an important decision for municipalities across the Country, the Sixth Circuit upheld a district court decision that found Genoa Charter Township (Township) did not violate federal law in denying a church’s application for...more

Supreme Court Clarifies “Church Plan” Definition for ERISA Exemption Purposes

by Saul Ewing LLP on

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton implicates the benefit plans maintained by nonprofit entities affiliated with a church or religious organization, including many hospitals and...more

Church Wins Free Speech Claim Over Zoning Ordinance and $1,354,595 in Damages

Last year, we reported about a case in which the city of St. Michael, Minnesota utilized RLUIPA’s “safe harbor” provision to avoid liability under the act’s substantial burden and equal terms provisions. While the federal...more

Supreme Court Decision Offers Some Relief to Church-Affiliated Nonprofits Using ERISA Church Plan Exemption

by FordHarrison on

Executive Summary: The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton serves as a reminder to church-affiliated hospitals and other organizations using the ERISA church plan exemption to review the...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

What do tiny homes, marijuana, a sex club, the Satanic Temple, and yoga have in common? They each make an appearance in this installment of the RLUIPA Round-Up!...more

Church Plans Rejoice: The Supreme Court has Spoken

by Locke Lord LLP on

Over 30 lawsuits have been filed over the past several years alleging that defined benefit plans maintained by religiously-affiliated hospital systems are not entitled to church plan status under the Employee Retirement...more

Employee Benefit Plans For Principal-Purpose Organizations Need Not Be Established By A Church To Be Exempt From ERISA

by DeWitt Law, LLC on

In a ruling that could have cost nonprofit religious-affiliated employers millions of dollars in compliance and other costs had it gone the other way, on June 5, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court held, in a unanimous opinion...more

SCOTUS Church Plan Ruling Ends the Battle But Not the War: What Church-Affiliated Church Plan Sponsors Need to Know and Do Now

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that employee benefit plans sponsored by certain church-affiliated organizations do not have to be established by a church to be considered a “church plan,” which is exempt...more

U.S. Supreme Court Finds that Retirement Plans Sponsored by Religious Hospitals Are Exempt from ERISA

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that retirement plans sponsored by church-affiliated organizations, such as hospitals, are exempt from ERISA. ERISA’s “church plan exemption” provides that a retirement plan that is...more

ERISA Exemption Upheld for Religious-Affiliated Hospitals

Hospitals that are “church-affiliated” may be breathing easier this week, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Monday that defined benefit qualified retirement plans (a/k/a pension plans) are not subject to the...more

Supreme Court Unanimously Extends the "Church Plan" ERISA Exemption to Plans Originally Established by Non-Church Affiliates

by Clark Hill PLC on

On June 5, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an 8-0 decision (with new Justice Gorsuch not participating as this case was argued and decided prior to his joining the Court) holding that qualified retirement plans maintained...more

ERISA ‘Church Plan’ Exemption Applies to Religiously Affiliated Hospital Plans

by McGuireWoods LLP on

In a victory for religiously affiliated hospitals sponsoring defined benefit (DB) plans, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 5 that such plans need not have been originally established by churches to be exempt from ERISA....more

The United States Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Hospitals on “Church Plan” ERISA Exemption

The United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of religiously-affiliated hospitals and healthcare organizations in holding that a pension plan need not be established by a church in order to qualify for ERISA’s...more

City of Bayonne, New Jersey Sued Over Denial of Application to Build a Mosque

Last month, Bayonne Muslims, a New Jersey not-for-profit religious congregation, sued the City of Bayonne, New Jersey (the “City”), challenging the City’s denial of certain variances needed to construct a mosque. ...more

ERISA Religious Exemption Expanded: SCOTUS Says Church Affiliation is Enough

In a sigh of relief for faith-based healthcare providers, on Monday, June 5th, the U.S. Supreme Court held, in a decision authored by Justice Elena Kagan, that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s religious exemption...more

Supreme Court Confirms Standards for ERISA’s Church Plan Exception

by Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP on

In a clear win for religiously-affiliated employers, including hospital systems and educational institutions, a unanimous Supreme Court found that a statutory exception to ERISA’s requirements for “church plans” applies to...more

The Supreme Court’s Church Plan Decision

by Seyfarth Shaw LLP on

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Supreme Court has held unanimously that a 1980 amendment to ERISA means that a pension benefit plan need not be established by a church in order to be exempt from ERISA rules, including most...more

High Court Agrees Pension Plans Sponsored by Church-Affiliated Hospitals Are ERISA-Exempt and Upholds Decades of IRS, PBGC and DOL...

by Genova Burns LLC on

In a much-anticipated decision, on June 5 the U.S. Supreme Court held that a pension plan sponsored by a religious affiliated nonprofit hospital qualifies as an ERISA-exempt church plan even though the plan was not initially...more

Religious Institutions Update: June 2017

by Holland & Knight LLP on

Timely Topics - The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, No. 15-577. The lawsuit concerns whether the daycare operated by a Missouri church may qualify...more

New Jersey Township’s Recently Enacted Ordinances Alleged to Violate RLUIPA

Earlier this month, Agudath Israel of America Inc. (“Agudath Israel”) sued the Township of Jackson, New Jersey (“Jackson”), challenging Jackson’s recently-enacted land use ordinances restricting schools from all but three...more

RLUIPA Round Up

The recent confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch has brought renewed attention to the often blurry line between the courts, government and individual religious liberty. Gorsuch wrote a concurring opinion in the...more

Fourth Circuit Tells District Court Not to Abstain in False Ad Holy War

At the heart of this unique Lanham Act case is a dispute between the Episcopal Church (the “Church”) and one of its “disaffiliated” districts, the Diocese of South Carolina (“Diocese”). In 2012, led by its Bishop Mark...more

NLRB Asserts Jurisdiction Over Non-Teaching Employees of a Private Religious University

by FordHarrison on

In an April 6, 2017, decision, Saint Xavier University, 365 NLRB No. 64 (2017), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined that it was appropriate to exercise jurisdiction over a petitioned-for unit of housekeeping...more

The NLRB Rules That It Will Assert Jurisdiction Over Nonteaching Employees of Religious Institutions And Nonprofit Religious...

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

In its 2014 landmark decision in Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held that it will assert jurisdiction over faculty at religious colleges and universities unless the college or...more

Mike Knapek and Steven Dimitt Provide ‘Tips for Handling a RLUIPA Lawsuit’

by Jackson Walker on

Attorneys Mike Knapek and Steven Dimitt represent churches and religious institutions in matters related to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). In a recent article published by the American Bar...more

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