News & Analysis as of

Religious Institutions

Federal Court Rejects Church’s Religious Land Use Claims Based on Government’s Legitimate Zoning Concerns

A federal court in Nevada has ruled that the denial of a church’s special use permit application to develop property with a house of worship did not violate RLUIPA’s substantial burden provision, the Equal Protection Clause,...more

Update: Soup, Salvation and Overtime – Sixth Circuit Reverses $400,000 FLSA Verdict

Apparently if you are doing the Lord’s work and seek only treasures in heaven, the Fair Labor Standards Act will not guarantee that you receive an earthly reward as well. In a significant ruling that impacts religious...more

Christian School’s Claims Dismissed as Unripe Under Midrash Sephardi

A district court in the Southern District of Florida has dismissed as unripe claims brought by Centro de Ensenanza Palabra de Fe, Inc. (“Centro”), a tax-exempt religious organization that operates a daycare center and...more

Rabbi Lacks Standing for some RLUIPA Claims, Says Federal Court

A federal court in Maryland has found that a rabbi was without standing to bring claims under RLUIPA’s nondiscrimination and equal terms provisions, since those claims can be brought only by an “assembly” or “institution.” ...more

Maryland Federal Court – Church’s Alleged Substantial Burden was Self-Imposed

A federal court in Maryland recently rejected a church’s RLUIPA and related constitutional claims, finding that the religious group’s claimed harm was self-created. The case demonstrates the importance of due diligence...more

Religious Land Use Controversy Brewing in Laurel, Maryland: Can a Church Worship in a Coffee Shop?

Redemption Community Church (the “Church”) has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Laurel, Maryland (the “City”), after the City issued a cease and desist order prohibiting the Church from offering religious services...more

Religious School Does Not Have to Restrict Hiring By Faith to Claim Ministerial Exemption

In its 2012 Hosanna-Tabor decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a “ministerial exemption” to employment claims brought under Title VII and the ADA. The exception allows religious employers to make what otherwise would...more

Presbytery’s Decision After Schism Between Congregation Members Enforced

Key Takeaway: While Massachusetts courts have jurisdiction over internal church disputes involving church property, they must defer to the decision-making process of a hierarchical religious organization when a dispute is...more

Seventh Circuit Preaches on the Ministerial Exception

For the first time since a 2012 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals elaborated on and applied the Supreme Court’s four-factor analysis to determine whether a position is...more

Church’s RLUIPA Claims Unripe And Moot, Says Federal Court

A federal district court in Illinois has dismissed religious discrimination and related claims alleged by the Church of Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ (“Church”) against the City of Markham, Illinois (“City”), in connection...more

Second Department Vacates Trial Court Order Requiring Removal of Trespassing Structure: Will Money Damages Compensate the...

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

On January 24, 2018 the Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed in part, and reversed in part, a trial court order granting Defendant, Bay Ridge Methodist’s counterclaim that certain cladding and a drip edge (a system...more

Mahwah, NJ Agrees to Settle Eruv Dispute

In December, we reported that the Mahwah Township Council (“Council”) voted to withdraw two ordinances at the center of RLUIPA litigation involving the expansion of an eruv proposed by Bergen Rockland Eruv Association...more

Allenhurst, NJ Sued Under RLUIPA One Day and Settles the Next

The Borough of Allenhurst, New Jersey has settled a lawsuit against an Orthodox Jewish group just one day after the group filed suit in federal court alleging violations of RLUIPA’s unreasonable limits and exclusions and...more

City of Bayonne, NJ to Pay $400,000 to Settle Claims Over Mosque Denial

The City of Bayonne, New Jersey has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed this past summer by Bayonne Muslims, asserting that the city discriminated against the Muslim group after denying variances needed to convert an abandoned...more

Court Answers More Questions on Church Plan Exemption

by Hodgson Russ LLP on

As we reported last year, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, ruled that an employee benefit program for employees of a church-affiliated organization can qualify as a “church” plan, if (a) the plan is maintained by...more

Occupational requirements: a helpful reminder

by Dentons on

In the case of Ms Z De Groen v. Gan Menachem Hendon Ltd, an employment tribunal made a finding of religious and sex discrimination against a faith-based nursery after it dismissed a teacher for the way she was living her...more

CAFO Stinks, but Not a Substantial Burden

Do 1,400 cattle and 17.4 million gallons of cow waste in open-air lagoons, upwind and a half a mile from a religious youth summer camp, impose a substantial burden? As unpleasant as a concentrated animal feed operation...more

Religious Institutions Update: January 2018 - Lex Est Sanctio Sancta

by Holland & Knight LLP on

Timely Topics - By Shannon B. Hartsfield - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Jan. 18, 2018, the creation of a new division within its Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR is described...more

Tenth Circuit Answers Questions Left Open Following Supreme Court’s Advocate Health Network v. Stapleton Decision, Significantly...

by Seyfarth Shaw LLP on

Seyfarth Synopsis: In Medina v. Catholic Health Initiatives, — F.3d —, 2017 WL 6459961 (10th Cir. Dec. 19, 2017), the Tenth Circuit held that a retirement plan sponsored by Catholic Health Initiatives (“CHI”), a...more

Second Department Upholds Loss of Religious Use Real Property Tax Exemption

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

On January 18, 2018, the Appellate Division, Second Department, upheld a decision denying an application for a religious real property tax exemption on the grounds that the property owner’s use of the main structure as a...more

Church Alleges Religious Discrimination Over Baltimore County’s Conditions on Approval of Development Plan

Maryland and the Board of Appeals of Baltimore County (together, “Baltimore County”), challenging Baltimore County’s conditional approval of the Church’s development plan, which sought to expand an existing house of worship. ...more

Commentary: Tartikov v. Pomona and RLUIPA

by Pessin Katz Law, P.A. on

Over the years, I’ve represented a number of churches and synagogues in their pursuit of zoning and development approvals to build places of worship. In my consultations with these clients, inevitably someone says something...more

Mahwah Eruv Update

In an update to our previous post about an eruv dispute in New Jersey, the Mahwah Township Council has voted to withdraw two ordinances at the center of a religious discrimination lawsuit involving the construction of an...more

Memo from NLRB General Counsel Reveals New Priorities, with Encouraging Signs for Universities

by Cozen O'Connor on

Less than one month after his confirmation as the National Labor Relations Board’s new general counsel, Peter Robb issued a memo that signals a significant shift in the aggressively pro-labor positions taken by his...more

House and Senate Bills Contain Tax Increases for Tax-Exempt Organizations

by Hodgson Russ LLP on

To offset proposed business tax cuts, the Senate and House tax reform bills seek to raise revenue from tax-exempt organizations. The House passed its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on November 16, and the Senate passed...more

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