John Peloso

John Peloso

John Peloso, a partner in the firm’s Real Estate Litigation Group, is a trial lawyer who represents companies, municipalities, and individuals in a wide range of matters. At the administrative, trial, and appellate levels, John counsels clients and litigates real property disputes, including real estate, land use, environmental, and tax matters, including RLUIPA and eminent domain matters.

In the area of real estate litigation, John represents institutional, municipal, and individual clients in disputes involving title, zoning, wetlands, land use, RLUIPA, eminent domain, and other real property rights. He also represents clients in all aspects of commercial lease and other real estate transactional disputes. In the area of real property tax litigation, he represents institutional and individual clients in proceedings at the regulatory, administrative, and trial levels. In this regard, he has dealt with specialized issues involving among other things, the valuation of high-tech software, wireless communications equipment, contingency fee tax audits, special use properties, and the impact of environmental conditions on the valuation of real property.

Prior to joining Robinson+Cole, John was a member of the litigation department at White & Case LLP in New York City, where he concentrated his practice in complex commercial, property and securities litigation.

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USPS Sued for Seizing Sacramental Marijuana

Oklevueha Native American Church (Church) was established in 1997 in Utah by Plaintiff James Mooney and his wife Linda, who are each of Native American decent.  According to the complaint in Oklevueha Native American Church v. United States of America, Case 3:16-cv-00077 (D. OR, Jan. 15, 2015), the Church has thousands of members and branches … Continue Reading

Yeshiva Sues New Jersey Township for Religious Discrimination

Yeshiva Gedola Na’os Yaakov, Inc. (the “Yeshiva”) has filed a federal lawsuit against the Township of Ocean, New Jersey and the Township’s Zoning Board of Adjustment following the denial of an application to develop a yeshiva with boarding facilities for 96 male students between the ages 18 and 22 in a residential zone, to allow … Continue Reading

Is a Parsonage a Primary Use? NJ District Court Ponders the Question

Christian Community Chapel Wesleyan Church, Inc. (the “Chapel”) was founded in 2000 and grew quickly to 125 members.  Expecting continued growth, the Chapel purchased a 33,000 square foot building with seats for 600 worshipers.  Unfortunately for the Chapel, its membership fluctuated greatly over the next ten years, at one point dropping to 35 members.  Its … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Non-Land Use Case Could Impact Land Use

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a request to review a church’s claim that the state of Missouri violated the federal constitution by prohibiting religious groups from obtaining state funding because of their religious nature.  The case involves Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, which runs a preschool and daycare in Missouri that is open … Continue Reading

Zombie Case Just Won’t Die

It’s maybe one of our favorite blog posts titles of all time: “Zombies Outshine Satan? More Controversial Holiday Displays, Including Baby, Fanged, Undead Jesus and Dogs in Costumes.”  The case of Baby, Fanged, Undead Jesus continues after Sycamore Township, Ohio fined Jasen Dixon, curator of the undead scene, for constructing an illegal structure in his … Continue Reading

Illinois Nuns Sue Over Brewery/Nursing Home Denial

Fraternite Notre Dame, Inc. is suing the County of McHenry, Illinois, over the County’s denial of a petition to amend a conditional use permit.  Notre Dame’s mission includes various charitable activities, such as a daily soup kitchen, a weekly food pantry, and an after-school program.  In 2005, Notre Dame obtained conditional use approval to develop … Continue Reading

Synagogue Neighbor’s Weekday Service Protest Dismissed by New York Court

In 2005, the Village of Lawrence (Village) granted permission to Bais Medrash of Harborview Synagogue (Medrash) to construct a synagogue on three contiguous lots.  As part of its approval, Medrash entered a Declaration of Restrictive Covenants, prohibiting weekday services and vehicle traffic on Fridays and Saturdays with the exception of certain Jewish holidays that fell … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rules No Substantial Burden Where Church Could Relocate or Submit Modified Application

The Ninth Circuit, in Mesquite Grove Chapel v. Debonis, recently issued an important decision ruling that plaintiff Chapel did not suffer a substantial burden on its religious exercise under the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) following the Pima County Chief Zoning Inspector’s determination that the proposed use did not meet the zoning … Continue Reading

When the Tent’s A-Rockin’… Rock Below 60 Decibels

Vintage Church of Metairie, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, was never a source of neighborhood angst—that is, until the tent came. After merging with another local church in 2010, Vintage’s membership steadily rose.  By 2015, the Church had plans ready to expand its building on Rayne Street.  Before construction began on its existing facility, the Church moved … Continue Reading

Nativity Scenes & Starbucks Coffee Cups Spark Holiday Controversy Across Nation

It wouldn’t be the holidays without controversial nativity scenes igniting lawsuits across the country.  Generally, these lawsuits are brought under the Establishment Clause, alleging that the government illegally endorses one religion over another by permitting religious displays on public property.  Even controversial religious displays on private property can lead to zoning enforcement action.  Last year, … Continue Reading

New Hampshire Church and Signs for Jesus Sue for Electronic Biblical Board

Hillside Baptist Church (the Church) and Signs for Jesus (S.4.J.C.) (together, Plaintiffs) recently filed a complaint in the District Court for New Hampshire, seeking a declaration that the Town of Pembroke’s (the Township) sign ordinance is unconstitutional both facially and as applied to the Plaintiffs.  According to the Plaintiffs, the Township’s Ordinance “restricts how the … Continue Reading

RLUIPA Round-Up (Thanksgiving Edition)

Many view Thanksgiving week as a time for reflection and gratitude.  Whether looking forward to the next turkey or reminiscing about the last, take some time for our semi-regular summary of news items involving local government, religion, and land use—the round-up: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in Trapp v. Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, … Continue Reading

West Virginia Church Sues Development Authority

Summit Church, founded in 1991 in Elkins, West Virginia, is suing the Randolph County Development Authority for thwarting the Church’s plans to purchase property for its religious use.  The Church already owns property in Elkins, but it claims that it is not large enough to accommodate the Church’s needs and that it must hold religious … Continue Reading

Bike Lanes, Jedi, Medicine Men, Cowboys and More: This Week’s RLUIPA Round-Up

What is Religious Exercise? remains a prevalent question in religious land use news this week.  Below, find our semi-regular summary of news items involving local government, religion, and land use. A District of Columbia church, the United House of Prayer, recently claimed that plans to designate a protected bike lane in front of its place … Continue Reading

Life is Beautiful! Stevie Wonder Concert Not a Burden on Religious Exercise

A federal court in Nevada recently dismissed a church’s claim that a music festival in “Sin City” Las Vegas featuring the likes of Stevie Wonder, Duran Duran, and Twenty One Pilots burdened its religious exercise.  According to the church, the three-day art, music, culinary and learning festival known as “Life is Beautiful” results in large … Continue Reading

Tear Down This Wall! Botched Demolition and Apartment Conditions Lead to RLUIPA Dispute

On September 24, Rock Church of Easton (Rock Church) filed an “Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and /or Preliminary Injunction” against the City of Easton, Pennsylvania (the City or Easton) and its Bureau of Codes and Inspections.  Rock Church seeks a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the City from enforcing “local code … Continue Reading

Jesus is Just Alright, Holds the Ninth Circuit*

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed a lower court’s decision ruling that a twelve foot statute of Jesus near Montana’s Big Mountain does not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The statue, known as “Big Mountain Jesus,” is located on national forest land that the government leases to a private commercial ski resort. Freedom From Religion … Continue Reading

Federal Court Denies Religious School’s Request for Temporary Restraining Order

A few weeks ago, we reported on a new RLUIPA suit arising in Genoa Charter Township, Michigan, where Livingston Christian Schools is suing the Township over the denial of a special land use permit to operate a religious school. As the story goes, the School entered into a lease with Brighton Church of the Nazarene … Continue Reading

East End Eruv Association one step closer to achieving its goal

Last month, we reported on the New York State Supreme Court decision that held the Town of Southampton, New York erroneously applied its sign ordinance to East End Eruv Association’s (“EEEA”) proposed eruv, which EEEA seeks to erect on utility poles through Southampton and nearby municipalities.   An eruv is “a largely invisible unbroken demarcation of … Continue Reading

Illinois Federal Court Dismisses Some, But Not All, RLUIPA Claims

A federal court in Illinois, in Church of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ v. City of Markham, Illinois (N.D. Ill. 2015), dismissed some of the Church’s religious land use claims while allowing others to proceed. The case is important for a couple of reasons. First, it serves as a welcome reminder for local governments that … Continue Reading

Webcast — Housing and Takings: A Look at the U.S. Supreme Court’s Inclusive Communities Project and Horne Decisions

The Planning and Law Division of the American Planning Association is pleased to host the upcoming webcast Housing and Takings: A Look at the U.S. Supreme Court’s Inclusive Communities Project and Horne Decisions on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. ET. Registration is $20 for PLD members, $40 for nonmembers, and $45 for the webinar and … Continue Reading

East End Eruv Association posts win in state court; fight in E.D.N.Y. continues

For the past 5-plus years, East End Eruv Association (“EEEA”) has been involved in federal litigation seeking approval to construct an eruv in accordance with its religious beliefs (East End Eruv Association v. Westhampton Village, Village of Quogue, Town of Southampton, et al., complaint available here) (referenced here as the “main case”). According to EEEA, … Continue Reading
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