Religious Institutions

News & Analysis as of

No Room at Nut Tree. But Why?

A pregnancy clinic that offers ultrasounds and counseling to expectant mothers signed a lease last October at the Nut Tree Road Medical Arts Center in Vacaville California. Alpha Pregnancy Clinics was looking for more square...more

Illinois District Court Holds That a Plan Maintained by a Religiously Affiliated Organization Is Not a Church Plan

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently had the opportunity to weigh in on the issue of whether a religiously affiliated employer was exempt from federal regulation of its employee...more

Kennesaw, Georgia Back in the News: Suffa Dawat Center Files “Preventative” Lawsuit

In December, we reported that Kennesaw, Georgia’s City Council reversed its initial decision to deny an Islamic place of worship and education center in a retail shopping plaza.  Despite the approval, the applicant, Suffa...more

Religious Institution - January 2015

Experience over the last couple decades teaches that religious institutions face as much or perhaps more liability than secular organizations and, therefore, need to take risk management seriously. From operating their own...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

NLRB Issues Significant Decision on Faculty Unionization

The National Labor Relations Board (Board) recently ruled that it would assert jurisdiction over Pacific Lutheran University's (PLU’s) full-time contingent faculty members. In the context of a union's attempt to organize...more

Glee Camp Not So Happy: Auburn’s Zoning Enforcement Action Alleged to Violate RLUIPA’s Equal Terms Provision

The First Presbyterian Church of Auburn (the “Church”) has hosted a musical theater day camp (“Glee Camp”) in Auburn, New York for approximately three years. In July of 2014, Auburn’s code enforcement officer issued a...more

NRLB Significantly Alters Framework for Analyzing Jurisdiction over Private College and University Faculty

Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its decision in Pacific Lutheran University and Services Employees International Union (Pacific Lutheran). In a ruling that could expand union formation among faculty...more

The NLRB’s Busy Holiday Season

The National Labor Relations Board has been busy this holiday season. In the last few weeks, the Board has pushed ahead with its “quickie election rules” and changed the analysis it uses to determine whether to assert...more

The National Labor Relations Board Strikes Again – How Managerial Are Your Faculty and How Religious Is Your Institution?

In the latest example of dramatic changes to well-developed principles of federal labor law and policy, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) issued its long awaited decision in Pacific Lutheran University,...more

St. Anthony, Minnesota to Pay $200,000 to Settle RLUIPA Suit Brought by Department of Justice

Earlier this year, we reported on the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) against the City of St. Anthony Village, Minnesota (“City”) over the City’s denial of Abu Haraira Islamic Center’s (“Center”)...more

Kennesaw Reverses Course and Approves Mosque

Earlier this month, we reported that Kennesaw, Georgia’s City Council voted 4 to 1 to deny a land use application by Suffa Dawat Center (the “Center”) to establish an Islamic place of worship and education center in a retail...more

Mosque Sues Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania Over Denial

The Bensalem Masjid Inc. (“Masjid”) has sued Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania (“Township”) and the Township’s Zoning Hearing Board (“Board”) for denying approval to construct a mosque. Nine months after the application was...more

Township of Bridgewater, NJ to Pay $7.75 Million to Settle RLUIPA Suit Against Muslim Group

The Township of Bridgewater, New Jersey has agreed to pay nearly $8 million to settle a lawsuit over claims that its denial of Al Falah Center’s proposal to construct a mosque violated the Religious Land Use &...more

"Let There Be Light” Part 2 of 2 Part Series

There are numerous other examples of religious institutions which have made green energy part of their mission. Utility companies across the U.S. are embracing solar energy. Savvy investors like Warren Buffet see the...more

Religious Institutions Update: December 2014

Every year, religious institutions spend millions purchasing insurance of various types from insurance companies. Many will never make claims on the policies remotely equal to their annual investment in premiums. In these...more

High Court Affirms Theater, Church’s Entitlement to State’s “Mandatory” Property Tax Exemption

The Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, recently published decisions in the Maetreum of Cybele v. McCoy and Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Inc. v. Auburn cases. In these decisions, the Court affirmed that the exemptions...more

“Let There Be Light” Part 1 of 2 Part Series

We live in an energy age. From our homes to our cars to the electronic devices we depend on, we have become an increasingly energy dependent society. The effects of our energy demand and consumption have become equally...more

Religious Institutions: October 2014

Timely Topics - Church splits and property disputes are not new, but they have certainly grown in number in recent years. In the seminal case on church property disputes, Watson v. Jones, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 679, 20 L....more

Hobby Lobby Redux

The regulations set forth two possible approaches to defining a “qualifying closely held for-profit entity” In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751 (2014) the Supreme Court held that the requirement to...more

Portions of Property Exempt for Religious Use

A panel of the Commonwealth Court held that portions of a 45-acre tract were entitled to exemption as places of regularly stated religious worship. Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary of Earth Religion v. Medford County Board...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

Indiana Property Tax Exemptions: Church Permitted To File Letter In Lieu Of Application; Trade Association Failed To Prove Split...

Church properly used letter of notification (and not official application) to claim exemption; previously granted exemption rolled forward. The Indiana Board of Tax Review applied a 100% property tax exemption to a church...more

Appellate Court Notes

?AC35507 - State v. Wright - ?AC35289, AC36395 - Southport Congregational Church-United Church of Christ v. Hadley - The doctrine of equitable conversion did not apply when the decedent contracted to sell real...more

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