In the summer of 2017, the law firm of Dalton & Tomich, PLC was retained, and successfully litigated, a decade old case through trial in the United States District Court in New Haven, Connecticut on behalf of Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County. The Chabad sued the Litchfield Historic District alleging violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act through its denial of the Certificate of Appropriateness sought by the Chabad to renovate a building it owned in the center of town adjacent to several other houses of worship. The Chabad sought permission to expand the building by adding in a Shul, a Rabbi study, a kosher kitchen and classrooms, all of which are part of Chabads in other communities and part of churches in Litchfield.
The building, which sat vacant for the prior 15 years, could not be renovated and used without the issuance of the Certificate of Appropriateness. In denying the Certificate, the Borough of Litchfield concluded that the Chabad’s plans to expand the existing building were not in keeping with the district’s character. However, the facts demonstrated that the size of the building was actually less than all the churches in Litchfield, and the additions were less than the other additions that had been approved by the historic district.
After a trial on the merits, the United States District Court issued a nearly 80-page ruling finding in favor of the Chabad and ordered permits to be issued. This allowed the Chabad to renovate the building. The Court also awarded the Chabad nearly a million dollars in attorney fees and costs.
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Dalton & Tomich, PLC is the national leader in successfully helping churches, other religious institutions and their insurers defend their rights in land use and zoning matters under RLUIPA, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. We have helped clients win cases against municipalities and other local government bodies from coast to coast, with experience serving both as general counsel and special litigation counsel.
In 2015, Hope Rising Community Church experienced extreme opposition, the kind that would force it to close its doors and leave behind the families and youth it was so passionate about reaching. As the lead pastor I felt helpless, inferior and as if I had no […]Read More
Dalton & Tomich’s assistance in our RLUIPA matter has paved the way for our church to continue serving the community and for new churches in the area to thrive in the future. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your stand for religious […]Read More
The Urban Church will be forever grateful to Dalton & Tomich plc for navigating it through a difficult land use issue. Let them give you honest and caring advice because that’s exactly what they’ll do.Read More
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Dalton & Tomich, PLC helped us immensely in the areas of litigation and negotiation! Their professionalism and understanding of church policy helped our church be victorious in a modern day religious land use battle. RLUIPA Religious Land Use Case: Lighthouse Community Church of GodRead More
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I met Dan Dalton during a dark time for our church. He was recommended as the leading RLUIPA attorney in the nation. He demonstrated wisdom, expertise, a gentle nature, a calming inter-relational skill, genuineness, and a humble demeanor, while at the same time, being sharp, […]Read More
Mr. Dalton’s expertise and experience helped us through a very difficult legal journey, ultimately achieving a favorable outcome. His personal interest in helping our church went “above and beyond” just the call of duty. His understanding of both legal and spiritual matters seems to uniquely […]Read More