RLUIPA

News & Analysis as of

Borough of Litchfield, CT Petition for Cert. from Second Circuit Decision; Asks SCOTUS to Clarify Whether a Law of Neutral and...

Last fall, the Second Circuit decided Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County, Inc. v. Borough of Litchfield, 786 F.3d 183 (2d Cir. 2014), reversing the lower court’s order of summary judgment in favor of the Borough of...more

Ninth Circuit to Consider Effect of Hobby Lobby in Land Use Context

We previously reported on the lawsuit filed by Harbor Missionary Church against San Buenaventura, California involving the City’s denial of a conditional use permit to allow the Church to continue to operate a soup kitchen in...more

Mediation at an Impasse: Attorneys’ Fees near $700K in Jacksonville Beach Case

Late last year, a federal court in Florida issued a decision in favor of Church of Our Savior, which wished to build a place of worship on Beach Boulevard (“Property”) in Jacksonville Beach, Florida....more

Holt v. Hobbs Aftermath: Supreme Court Remands Native American Prisoners’ RLUIPA Claims

Less than a week after its decision in Holt v. Hobbs, the Supreme Court in Knight v. Thompson, No. 13-955 (2015), vacated and remanded the Eleventh Circuit’s rejection of Native American prisoners’ claims challenging prison...more

Supreme Court Decides Holt v. Hobbs

On January 20, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Holt v. Hobbs, No. 13-6827, holding that the Arkansas Department of Correction’s grooming policy violates Section 3 of the Religious Land Use and...more

Supreme Court Holds Prison Grooming Policy Violates RLUIPA: Did Local Government Take a Haircut in the Process?

Remember the scene in Home Alone where Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) shaves for the first time, applies aftershave, and then screams in pain from the sting of the alcohol touching his skin? Local governments may...more

Wiccan Prisoner Seeking 14 Feet of Rope, Combustible Oils, and Candles Loses First Amendment, RLUIPA, and Equal Protection...

Ronald Reiske, a Wiccan prisoner incarcerated in a Connecticut prison, thought it reasonable that the correctional facility provide him with the necessary materials and equipment to practice his Wiccan religion – including 14...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

“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

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

Zombies Outshine Satan? More Controversial Holiday Displays, Including Baby, Fanged, Undead Jesus and Dogs in Costumes. Happy...

Last week we reported on several controversies regarding public displays of traditional and not-so-traditional religious iconography.  Well, it seems that the issue isn’t dead yet. Since our last holiday post, several new...more

Fed. Dist. Court in FL Dismisses RLUIPA Equal Terms Claim Following Notice of Violation

A pro se plaintiff filed a claim against a city code enforcement department and its officers alleging various constitutional violations as well as a violation of RLUIPA for code enforcement activity. Plaintiff owned real...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

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

‘Tis The Season For Nativity Scenes & Satanic Displays: Happy Holidays from RLUIPA Defense

Ah the holiday season—a time for family, friends and overeating. While most individuals grapple with balancing a love for holiday treats and some modicum of self-control, the Nation is faced with a perennial balancing act:...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

Poetic Justice – 2014 Wrap Up (Part 1 of 2)

This is the time of year to anxiously look forward to all that is anticipated to come in 2015. But it is also the time to look back at all that has happened in 2014. Rather than simply give you links to all of my stimulating...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

What’s a “Similarly Situated” Comparator under RLUIPA’s Equal Terms Provision? Florida Federal Court Explains in Finding Against...

Few courts have identified what it means to be a “similarly situated” comparator under RLUIPA’s equal terms provision. Recently, in Church of Our Savior v. City of Jacksonville, (M.D. FL 2014), a federal court in Florida...more

A Gun in Every Home, But Not a Mosque on Every Corner: RLUIPA Lawsuit on the Way?

On December 1, the Kennesaw, Georgia 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 shopping plaza....more

Federal Court Enters Injunctive Order Against Bayview, Texas in RLUIPA Suit Filed by Church

We previously reported on the case Cornerstone Church by the Bay v. Town of Bayview, Texas, in which the Church and the Laguna Madre Christian Academy are suing the Town (population approx. 400) under the Religious Land Use &...more

Sale of Property for Secular Use Does Not Constitute “Religious Exercise”

The Northern District of California recently dismissed RLUIPA claims filed by the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the Methodist Church (the “Conference”) against the City of San Francisco. The case revolves around the...more

Virginia Federal Court Clarifies RLUIPA Standing Requirements & Dismisses Substantial Burden Claim

In an important decision, the court in Aldon, LLC v. City of Newport News, Virginia (E.D. Va. Nov. 20, 2014), clarified the standing requirements under RLUIPA. Few courts have addressed RLUIPA’s standing requirements. The...more

New RLUIPA Suit: Mount Zion Church of God in Christ v. City of Garden City, Kansas

Garden City, Kansas is being sued under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), the U.S. Constitution, and state law over allegations that it has discriminated against a local church, Mount Zion...more

Can the Flying Spaghetti Monster Reshape RLUIPA?

Stephen Cavanaugh, an inmate incarcerated by the Nebraska Department of Corrections, filed a civil rights lawsuit alleging that prison staff repeatedly discriminated against him by not allowing him to meet for worship...more

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