News & Analysis as of

Religious Institutions RLUIPA

City’s Refusal to Permit Private Religious School in Business District Does Not Violate RLUIPA

A federal court has issued another decision in the longstanding RLUIPA battle between the City of Upper Arlington, Ohio (“City”) and Tree of Life Christian Schools (“TLC”). For a second time, a federal court in the Southern...more

Facial challenge to Chicago parking standard fails

“When is a church like a library?,” the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently asked. Immanuel Baptist Church (the “Church”) hoped to continue operations in a Chicago neighborhood when, in 2016, the...more

Kenyan Church Claims Baltimore County’s Land Use Regulations Impose Substantial Burden

Last week, Jesus Christ is the Answer Ministries, Inc. (the “Church”), a nondenominational Christian church in Baltimore County, Maryland, and the Church’s pastor, Reverend Lucy Ware, filed suit against Baltimore County,...more

No Homeless in the Historic District?

A church has filed suit against the City of Davenport, Iowa (the “City”), after the City issued it a Cease and Desist Order (the “Order”) prohibiting the service of meals to the homeless, alleging violations of RLUIPA’s...more

RLUIPA Suit Against Colonie, NY Dismissed As Unripe

A federal court in New York has dismissed religious discrimination and related claims alleged by an evangelical Christian church (the “Church”) against the Town of Colonie, New York, its agencies and officials (the “Town”),...more

Yonkers Wins Below: Appeal Pending

The Islamic Community Center for Mid Westchester (“ICCMW”) has appealed the decision of the Southern District of New York that held ICCMW’s claims were not yet ripe for review and ICCMW did not have the right to supplement...more

Department of Justice and Bensalem Township, PA Settle Lawsuit Over Mosque Denial

The United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has reached an agreement with Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania (“Township”), resolving allegations that the Township violated each of RLUIPA’s provisions when it denied a use...more

Eruv Dispute Prompts Claims of Religious Discrimination Against New Jersey Township

Last month, Bergen Rockland Eruv Association, Inc. (BREA) sued the Township of Mahwah, New Jersey regarding a dispute over the expansion of an eruv. According to the complaint, “[a]n eruv, under Jewish law, is a largely...more

Case Report: Public Finance Implications of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer

In Public Finance, questions on separation of church and state usually arise in the context of a conduit financing by a state or local governmental entity which benefits a religious organization. The religious organization...more

Requiring Repair, Rather than Demolition, For Church’s Violations of Municipality’s Property Maintenance Code May Impose A...

An Illinois appellate court reversed a lower court’s dismissal of RLUIPA claims asserted by the First United Methodist Church of West Dundee (the “Church”) against the Village of West Dundee, Illinois (the “Village”), finding...more

New Substantial Burden Framework in the Sixth Circuit; Court Upholds RLUIPA Verdict in Favor of Michigan Township

In an important decision for municipalities across the Country, the Sixth Circuit upheld a district court decision that found Genoa Charter Township (Township) did not violate federal law in denying a church’s application for...more

Church Wins Free Speech Claim Over Zoning Ordinance and $1,354,595 in Damages

Last year, we reported about a case in which the city of St. Michael, Minnesota utilized RLUIPA’s “safe harbor” provision to avoid liability under the act’s substantial burden and equal terms provisions. While the federal...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

What do tiny homes, marijuana, a sex club, the Satanic Temple, and yoga have in common? They each make an appearance in this installment of the RLUIPA Round-Up!...more

City of Bayonne, New Jersey Sued Over Denial of Application to Build a Mosque

Last month, Bayonne Muslims, a New Jersey not-for-profit religious congregation, sued the City of Bayonne, New Jersey (the “City”), challenging the City’s denial of certain variances needed to construct a mosque. ...more

Religious Institutions Update: June 2017

by Holland & Knight LLP on

Timely Topics - The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, No. 15-577. The lawsuit concerns whether the daycare operated by a Missouri church may qualify...more

New Jersey Township’s Recently Enacted Ordinances Alleged to Violate RLUIPA

Earlier this month, Agudath Israel of America Inc. (“Agudath Israel”) sued the Township of Jackson, New Jersey (“Jackson”), challenging Jackson’s recently-enacted land use ordinances restricting schools from all but three...more

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

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

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

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

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

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