Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Elijah Group v. City of Leon Valley, Texas. This case has a significant impact on religious land use matters within the Fifth Circuit adn throughout the nation. Elijah Group, Inc. (“Church”) sued the City of Leon Valley (“City”) alleging that the City’s prohibition of the Church from performing religious services on certain properties violated Texas state law, the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc(b)(1), and both the Texas and U.S. Constitutions. At issue was whether the district court properly dismissed the Church’s claims under the Equal Terms Clause of the RLUIPA. The court held that the City’s imposition of its land use regulation violated the Equal Terms Clause where the ordinance treated the Church on terms that were less than equal to the terms on which it treated similarly situated nonreligious institutions. Accordingly, the district court’s order granting the City’s motion for summary judgment was reversed and the case was remanded for further proceedings. The importance of this case cannot be understated for pending religious land use matters within the Fifth Circuit. This is a terrific case for religious institutions nationwide.
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
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