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RLUIPA Land Use Trial Outcomes

Written by Daniel P. Dalton on December 12, 2017 Category: RLUIPA, RLUIPA Case Observations and Insights, RLUIPA Cases, Substantial Burden, Unreasonable Limitations

Have you ever wondered how many RLUIPA land use cases have occurred since Congress unanimously passed the law (the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act) in 2000?  Are you curious about the outcomes?

Recently, we were asked to provide a Court with a list of RLUIPA land use cases and outcomes. Below is a cumulative list of every RLUIPA land use lawsuit that has gone to a trial of which we are aware.

RLUIPA land use cases tried by Dalton & Tomich PLC:

  • Academy of Our Lady of Peace v. City of San Diego, Calif., 09-cv-00962 (S.D. Cal. 2012) (Jury trial for damages held in October 2012. The jury ruled in favor of Plaintiff and court also granted Plaintiff injunctive relief.
  • Church of Our Savior v. City of Jacksonville Beach, Fla., 13-cv-1346 (M.D. Fla. 2014) (Bench trial held in September 2014. Plaintiff only sought injunctive relief, therefore, a bench trial. The court ruled in favor of Plaintiff in November 2014.
  • Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County, Inc. v. Borough of Litchfield, Conn., 09-cv-1419 (D. Conn. 2017) (Bench trial held in July 2017. Originally a jury trial, but changed to a bench trial a week prior to trial

As an aside, the following RLUIPA land use cases were litigated by Dalton & Tomich PLC and settled the day of, or prior to, trial

  • Lighthouse Community Church v. City of Southfield, Mich., 05-cv-40220 (E.D. Mich. 2007) (Jury trial for damages, injunctive relief from the Court.
  • House Where Jesus Shines v. City of Bellmead, TX, 6:08-cv-117 (W.D. Tx. 2010) (Jury trial for damages, injunctive relief from the Court.

The following RLUIPA land use cases have gone to trial.

  • Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov, Inc. et. al. v. Village of Pomona, et al., 07-cv-6304 (S.D.N.Y.) (Bench trial held in August 2017, decision in favor of the Plaintiff, December 7, 20170
  • Redwood Christian Academy v. County of Alameda, Calif., 01-cv-04282 (N.D. Cal.) (Jury trial held in February-March 2007, a verdict in favor of County.)
  • Westchester Day School v. Village of Mamaroneck, NY, 02-cv-6291 (S.D.N.Y.) (Bench trial held in November 2005, Court issued Opinion and Order, which ruled in Plaintiff’s favor, in March 2006.
  • Rocky Mountain Christian School v Boulder County, Colo., 06-cv-00554 (D. Colo.) (Jury trial held in November 2008. The jury ruled in Plaintiff’s favor.)
  • Grace United Methodist Church v. City of Cheyenne, Wyo., 02-cv-00035 (D. Wyo.) (Jury trial held in June 2003. The jury ruled in Defendants’ favor.)
  • Reaching Hearts International, Inc. v. Prince George’s County, Md., 05-1688 (D. Md.) (Jury trial held in April 2008. The jury ruled in Plaintiff’s favor.)
  • Chabad of Nova, Inc. v. City of Cooper City, Fla., 07-cv-60738 (S.D. Fla.) (Jury trial held in August 2008. The jury ruled in Plaintiff’s favor.
  • Fortress Bible Church v. Feiner, 03-cv-04235 (S.D.N.Y.) (Bench trial held between October 2006 and March 2007. Court’s Order and Opinion, finding in the Plaintiff’s favor, issued in August 2010.)
  • Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary School v. City of Evanston, Ill., (Bench trial held in Illinois (Cook County) state court in April and May of 2013. Court’s Opinion and Order unavailable online.)

In sum, twelve RLUIPA land use cases have gone to verdict since 2000.  We have successfully tried three of the twelve.  If you are currently litigating a RLUIPA land use case and have not taken the issue to trial and would like some help, please contact Daniel Dalton to assist you.

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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.