Religious Institutions

News & Analysis as of

When is Mixed-Use Religious Exercise?

A Connecticut federal court has issued an important decision in a case involving the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) that could affect how municipalities and courts examine whether certain...more

Yeshiva Sues New Jersey Township for Religious Discrimination

Yeshiva Gedola Na’os Yaakov, Inc. (the “Yeshiva”) has filed a federal lawsuit against the Township of Ocean, New Jersey and the Township’s Zoning Board of Adjustment following the denial of an application to develop a yeshiva...more

Can a Massachusetts Religious School Refuse to Employ a Worker in a Same-Sex Marriage?

In Barrett v. Fontbonne Academy, the Massachusetts Superior Court curtailed various statutory and constitutional defenses available to an employer affiliated with a religious institution that faces discrimination claims under...more

Religious Institutions Update: January 2016

Timely Topics - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued on Dec. 17, 2015, a memorandum instructing its examiners not to conduct employment tax audits of churches without getting in touch with a high-ranking Treasury...more

USPS Sued for Seizing Sacramental Marijuana

Oklevueha Native American Church (Church) was established in 1997 in Utah by Plaintiff James Mooney and his wife Linda, who are each of Native American decent. According to the complaint in Oklevueha Native American Church...more

Is a Parsonage a Primary Use? NJ District Court Ponders the Question

Christian Community Chapel Wesleyan Church, Inc. (the “Chapel”) was founded in 2000 and grew quickly to 125 members. Expecting continued growth, the Chapel purchased a 33,000 square foot building with seats for 600...more

SCOTUS Non-Land Use Case Could Impact Land Use

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a request to review a church’s claim that the state of Missouri violated the federal constitution by prohibiting religious groups from obtaining state funding because of their...more

Illinois Nuns Sue Over Brewery/Nursing Home Denial

Fraternite Notre Dame, Inc. is suing the County of McHenry, Illinois, over the County’s denial of a petition to amend a conditional use permit. Notre Dame’s mission includes various charitable activities, such as a daily...more

Synagogue Neighbor’s Weekday Service Protest Dismissed by New York Court

In 2005, the Village of Lawrence (Village) granted permission to Bais Medrash of Harborview Synagogue (Medrash) to construct a synagogue on three contiguous lots. As part of its approval, Medrash entered a Declaration of...more

On A Collision Course? How Religious Entities Should Address The Legal Expansions Of Gay Marriage And Gender Identity Protections

By now you are no doubt aware that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage across the country. The decision has caused religious institutions and schools to ask about their...more

Ninth Circuit Rules No Substantial Burden Where Church Could Relocate or Submit Modified Application

The Ninth Circuit, in Mesquite Grove Chapel v. Debonis, recently issued an important decision ruling that plaintiff Chapel did not suffer a substantial burden on its religious exercise under the Religious Land Use &...more

When the Tent’s A-Rockin’… Rock Below 60 Decibels

Vintage Church of Metairie, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana was never a source of neighborhood angst—that is, until the tent came. After merging with another local church in 2010, Vintage’s membership steadily rose. By 2015, the...more

Recent Amendments to the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013

On July 1, 2014, the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013 (the Revitalization Act) came into effect and brought about major changes for all New York nonprofit corporations, including education corporations and...more

New Hampshire Church and Signs for Jesus Sue for Electronic Biblical Board

Hillside Baptist Church (the Church) and Signs for Jesus (S.4.J.C.) (together, Plaintiffs) recently filed a complaint in the District Court for New Hampshire, seeking a declaration that the Town of Pembroke’s (the Township)...more

Religious Institutions Update: December 2015

Captive insurance companies can be a win-win for organizations with excellent claim records that would rather accrue their insurance premiums than pay them to a third-party insurer. Put simply, captive insurers are insurance...more

West Virginia Church Sues Development Authority

Summit Church, founded in 1991 in Elkins, West Virginia, is suing the Randolph County Development Authority for thwarting the Church’s plans to purchase property for its religious use. The Church already owns property in...more

RLUIPA Round-Up (Thanksgiving Edition)

Many view Thanksgiving week as a time for reflection and gratitude.  Whether looking forward to the next turkey or reminiscing about the last, take some time for our semi-regular summary of news items involving local...more

Texas Court Rules Religious Institutions not Exempt From all Employment-Related Claims

The United States and Texas Constitutions each provide for the free exercise of religion and the separation of church and state. These constitutional prescriptions frequently bar the application of civil laws, including...more

Magistrate Judge Recommends Issuance of Preliminary Injunction to Hope Rising Church

Plaintiff Hope Rising Community Church is one step closer to obtaining a preliminary injunction against Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, as U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert C. Mitchell issued a Report and Recommendation to allow the...more

Update: Nomadic Church and Delanco Township Consent Order

On November 3, we reported that My Father’s House Ministry, Inc. (Church) sued Delanco Township, New Jersey after denial of the Church’s application for a use variance . (See our November 3 post). Based on the parties...more

Nomadic Church Sues New Jersey Township Over Denial of Use Variance

A predominantly African American Church of about 25 members known as My Father’s House Ministry, Inc. (Church) is suing Delanco Township, New Jersey over allegations that the Township violated both the Religious Land Use &...more

Round Two: DOJ Sues Pittsfield Charter Township

Earlier this year, we reported on the dismissal of Michigan Islamic Academy’s (“MIA”) RLUIPA suit against Pittsfield Charter Township. According to the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, MIA did not have a...more

A Lesson in Judicial Ripeness: Homeless Shelter’s Suit Dismissed

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by New Life Evangelistic Center, Inc. against the City of St. Louis because New Life’s claims are not yet “ripe” for review. In order for a court to have jurisdiction to hear...more

Bike Lanes, Jedi, Medicine Men, Cowboys and More: This Week’s RLUIPA Round-Up

What is Religious Exercise? remains a prevalent question in religious land use news this week.  Below, find our semi-regular summary of news items involving local government, religion, and land use....more

Religious Institutions: October 2015

Timely Topics - A non-compete clause, covenant not to compete or restrictive covenant is a contract provision under which one party agrees not to enter into or start a similar profession, trade or business in competition...more

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