Detroit – August 10, 2021 – Daniel Dalton, co-founder of Detroit-headquartered law firm Dalton & Tomich PLC, and a national authority in religious property law, announced the publication of his book Religious Property Disputes and the Law: House of God, Laws of Man, by the American Bar Association. Designed as a desk reference for pastors, lay church leaders and the attorneys who serve them, the book is available for purchase on the ABA website.
A noted litigator with a masterful understanding of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), Dalton handles the business side of religious property for all faiths to protect the religious organization’s right to use its property within the parameters of its spiritual mission. Since 2002, when he successfully represented a very small church against the City of Southfield, Michigan, Dalton has worked with hundreds of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and almost all types of religious assembly use throughout the country to secure site plan approval or litigate claims in Federal Courts.
Religious Property Disputes and the Law: House of God, Laws of Man, covers three focus areas. The first is trust clauses and dissolution of church affiliations, an area where Dalton and his firm have handled dozens of cases for Protestant churches, notably the United Methodist Church, but also the Orthodox Church of America, the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian USA denomination, the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and Christian Reform Church (CRC), and others who have sought to peacefully and legally separate from their mainline church affiliation to form independent, non-denominational churches while retaining their property and other assets. The second focus of the book is intra-church property disputes, exploring the issues and resolution strategies of religious property disputes of churches not affiliated with a denomination. The third focus area is religious property disputes under RLUIPA. Of the 35 RLUIPA cases files nationally in 2020, Dalton and his team handled more than 35% of them, prevailing in 99% of the cases.
Dalton started his career representing local governments in land use and zoning disputes for nearly a decade. From there, he focused his attention on developers and commercial real estate, particularly land use and zoning, an area where he continues to practice and excel today.
Among his many legal honors, Dalton was named a ‘Go To Lawyer’ for real estate in 2021 by the trade journal Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He is a multiple-year award winner of DBusiness Top Lawyers and Michigan Super Lawyers, recognized by both in the category of zoning and land use; he was also named to the 2010 class of Leaders in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Dalton is regularly sought out by the media for stories on his high profile cases or topical religious land use issues and has been quoted in The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, Christianity Today, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Tennessean, among others.
In addition to Religious Property Disputes and the Law: House of God, Laws of Man, Dalton, who previously served as chair of the ABA’s Religious Land Use Section, is also the author of the award-winning Litigating Religious Land Use Cases, published by the American Bar Association in 2014, with a second edition in 2016. He wrote the 2020 e-book about protocols for the United Methodist Church separation entitled, What the Proposed UMC Separation Means for Your Church, and in 2017 he published the e-book, Navigating the United Methodist Church Trust Clause. Both e-books are available on the firm’s website.
Dalton holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit Mercy Law School and a Bachelor of Science degree from the Western Michigan University.
About the American Bar Association
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About Dalton + Tomich
Serving as a partner to religious organizations, Detroit-based Dalton + Tomich is a national leader in religious property law land use, notably with cases related to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and denominational splits. The firm also represents private property owners in site plan approvals, zoning appeals and land use disputes involving zoning, easements, boundary line disputes and access to water. Additionally, the firm works with privately held businesses, lending institutions and businesses in Michigan and Illinois. Learn more about our services for businesses and religious organizations at https://www.daltontomich.com/.
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