The only thing better than a win is a quick win. Case in point, just over a week after we filed suit on behalf of Mount Zion Ministries Church (also operating as Redeemer Church), we were able to obtain an order protecting the church’s right to use its property for religious assembly. The church acquired property in the Town of Whitestown, N.Y. on January 8, 2020. Under Whitestown’s Zoning Code, nonreligious assembly uses (e.g. clubs, lodges, and municipal buildings) are permitted at the property but religious assembly uses are not. Because this unequal treatment constitutes a facial violation of the “equal terms” provision of the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. §2000cc(b)(1), we filed suit seeking immediate injunctive and declaratory relief from the unequal terms. Our experience litigating these cases and negotiating with municipalities across the country helped us secure our client’s rights without months, if not years, of costly litigation.
When it comes to litigating religious land use cases, the value in both time and money of having an experienced attorney on your side can’t be overstated. While not every case presents an opportunity for a quick and efficient win (because many municipalities decide to fight tooth and nail), an inexperienced attorney is more likely to miss opportunities and cost their client tons of time and money. Our goal at Dalton & Tomich is not just to help our clients accomplish their objectives but to help them accomplish them sooner rather than later. We are so thankful that the church can now focus on working together with Town officials to better serve the Whitestown community. We also appreciate the responsiveness of the Town board and Town attorney.
This case is another reminder of how important it is for religious institutions (churches, synagogues, mosques, religious schools, etc.) to be aware of the significant protections they are afforded under federal law. Far too many religious institutions are losing opportunities to better serve their communities because they are not familiar with RLUIPA.
Have you recently purchased a building or land and discovered you can’t use it because it isn’t zoned for religious assembly? Learn how to navigate the process and win the right to use your property .Download Now
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
Dalton & Tomich, PLC defended a complicated case at a church we insure. Not only is the firm professional, they understand how church business runs and work well within church leadership.Read More
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
Dalton & Tomich, PLC serves as General Counsel for the 144 churches within the Church of God in Michigan. The firm provides the legal expertise we need in dealing with the issues that arise during the course of fulfilling our ministry.Read More
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