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Religious Institutions

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

Church Entitled to Damages Following Denial of Special Use Permit

The expanding congregation of Christian Assembly Rios de Agua Viva sought a new home for their church in suburban Chicago, Illinois and began a three-and-a-half year search that ultimately led them to a four-acre property...more

SJC Issues Property Tax Ruling Regarding Religious Organization

by Foley Hoag LLP on

In a noteworthy development relevant to property tax exemptions for religious organizations in the Commonwealth, the Supreme Judicial Court issued a ruling on March 22, 2017 in Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette Inc. v. Board...more

ERISA: US Supreme Court Grapples with the Church Plan Exemption — Early Analysis

When does the “church plan exemption” apply? You already know that under the “church plan” exemption, Church plans do not have to comply with ERISA, including the requirements to fund a plan and pay Pension Benefit...more

Preserving Constitutional Issues: Three States, Three Cases, One Hard Lesson

by Carlton Fields on

Late last year, three states illustrated an important point about preserving constitutional law issues for appeal: always be on the lookout for constitutional law issues at the beginning of the case. ...more

Is It the End of the Johnson Amendment as We Know It?

While speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2, 2017, President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to repeal the law that restricts organizations that are tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue...more

Church’s RLUIPA Claim Against an Illinois City is “Likely to Succeed”

The District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the City of Markham from requiring the Original Bible Church of Illinois to obtain conditional use approval to use property...more

Property Tax Exemption Application Deadline Approaches

March 1st is the deadline for filing all property tax exemption applications in the state of Florida. No matter in which of the 67 Florida counties you own property, please be certain that any property tax exemptions you may...more

Tax Court Puts Brakes on Recent Trend Limiting Religious/Non-Profit Exemptions

by Cole Schotz on

In a recent tax court case, Holy Trinity Baptist Church v. City of Trenton (Docket No. 015909-2014, February 2, 2017), the court overturned the findings of the County Board of Taxation and upheld the tax exemption for...more

Who owns God’s Property? Shifting Politics Cost Some Congregations Their Church

by SmithAmundsen LLC on

Re-alignment of a congregation with a new denomination is typically driven by ideals, but as usual, money becomes the bone of contention....more

Signs 4 JC Shown the Light by NH District Court

Thou shall have the right to an electronic sign? Apparently not. Just over a year ago, Hillside Baptist Church and Signs for Jesus (together, Plaintiffs or Church) filed a complaint in the District Court for New Hampshire,...more

Religious Institutions Update: February 2017

by Holland & Knight LLP on

Timely Topics - A draft executive order of President Donald Trump relating to religious freedom proposes several material changes to federal law. First, it would require the executive branches to recognize a broad scope...more

Denial of Site Plan Application to Construct a Mosque Held to Violate RLUIPA

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

On December 31, 2016, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp of the District of New Jersey, authored a 57 page opinion granting partial summary judgment to plaintiffs, The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (“Islamic Society”)...more

Nashville Islamic Center’s Religious Discrimination Claims Dismissed

A federal district court in Tennessee recently dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction a claim by the Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN) lawsuit challenging a Tennessee property tax exemption law on religious freedom...more

Church defeats lawsuit by volunteer after stepladder accident. Duelling OHS experts’ testimony considered

by Dentons on

A volunteer has lost his lawsuit against a church after he fell off a stepladder he was using at the church. The volunteer was a parishioner at the church who agreed to help with painting. He claimed that the church’s...more

Settlement Reached Allowing Construction of Muslim Cemetery in Dudley, MA

Following some last minute hand-wringing, nearly a year of hearings and deliberations by the Zoning Board of Appeals (“ZBA”) and accusations of religious bias, the Town of Dudley agreed to a deal that would allow a proposed...more

DOJ’s RLUIPA Claims Survive Motion to Dismiss

A federal court in Pennsylvania has denied Bensalem Township’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the United States Department of Justice challenging the Township’s denial of a use variance for a mosque. The lawsuit...more

Third Circuit Upholds District Court Decision in Pennsylvania Baptist Church Sign Case

Recently, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals entered an order upholding the district court’s decision in the case of Tearpock-Martini v. Shickshinny Borough, which we reported on last summer. The case involved an...more

Missouri Church Wins Digital Sign Appeal

The Missouri Court of Appeals has ruled that the Kansas City, Missouri, Board of Adjustment abused its discretion in failing to grant a variance to Antioch Community Church (Church) to install digital components into its...more

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider ERISA Church Plan Exemption

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

In a decision that may have profound consequences for the funding and continued operation of defined benefit retirement plans covering employees at religiously affiliated organizations, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to...more

Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Damage Caps As Applied To The Sexual Assault Of A Minor

by Reminger Co., LPA on

Except for certain limited circumstances, Ohio law limits, or caps, the maximum amount a person can recover for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. The Ohio Supreme Court recently upheld this limitation of damages...more

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