Archives: Comparator

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City’s Refusal to Permit Private Religious School in Business District Does Not Violate RLUIPA

A federal court has issued another decision in the longstanding RLUIPA battle between the City of Upper Arlington, Ohio (“City”) and Tree of Life Christian Schools (“TLC”).  For a second time, a federal court in the Southern District of Ohio has ruled that the City did not violate RLUIPA’s equal terms provision by prohibiting religious … Continue Reading

Signs 4 JC Shown the Light by NH District Court

Thou shall have the right to an electronic sign?  Apparently not.  Just over a year ago, Hillside Baptist Church and Signs for Jesus (together, Plaintiffs or Church) filed a complaint in the District Court for New Hampshire, seeking a declaration that the Town of Pembroke’s (the Town) sign ordinance is unconstitutional both facially and as … Continue Reading

Did the Sixth Circuit Unintentionally Adopt an RLUIPA Equal Terms Test?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently issued its decision in Tree of Life Christian Schools v. City of Upper Arlington, in which it reversed the lower court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the City as to Tree of Life’s RLUIPA equal terms claim.  RLUIPA’s equal terms provision states: “No … Continue Reading

Congregation unlikely to succeed on RLUIPA claims

The Northern District of Illinois recently had an opportunity to apply the Seventh Circuit’s “accepted zoning criteria” RLUIPA Equal Terms test to a plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction in Truth Foundation Ministries, NFP v. Village of Romeoville, Case No. 15 C 7839.  The court concluded that Truth Foundation Ministries (“TFM”) did not have a … Continue Reading

Suit by “Interested,” Neighboring Municipalities to Enforce SEQRA Requirements Does Not “Impose or Implement” a Land Use Regulation or Constitute a “Government Practice” and does not Violate RLUIPA

On March 27, 2015, the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants in the consolidated action Bernstein v. Wesley Hills, 08-CV-156; 12-CV-8856 (KMK), (the “Wesley Hills” Action). The court’s 76-page decision begins with a recitation of the long procedural history of the case and the separate 2004 action filed … Continue Reading

Illinois Appellate Court Interprets Equal Terms “Comparator” Favorably for Local Government

In an important decision for local governments, the Illinois Appellate Court on March 6, 2015 issued its decision in Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary School (“JDBY”) v. City of Evanston. The decision, particularly the Appellate Court’s assessment of comparators and its willingness to look past some boorish comments by a local official, may prove damaging … Continue Reading

Kennesaw Reverses Course and Approves Mosque

Earlier this month, we reported that Kennesaw, Georgia’s City Council voted 4 to 1 to deny a land use application by Suffa Dawat Center (the “Center”) to establish an Islamic place of worship and education center in a retail shopping plaza. On Monday, Councilmembers Leonard Church, Tim Killingsworth, Jim Sebastian and Debra Williams—all who had … Continue Reading

Whats a Similarly Situated Comparator under RLUIPAs Equal Terms Provision? Florida Federal Court Explains in Finding Against City of Jacksonville.

Few courts have identified what it means to be a “similarly situated” comparator under RLUIPA’s equal terms provision.  Recently, in Church of Our Savior v. City of Jacksonville, (M.D. FL 2014), a federal court in Florida identified some factors used to determine the issue.  The Court’s decision may serve as an important guide for future … Continue Reading

City Wins When Federal Court Applies Narrow Apples to Apples Analysis to Identify “Comparators”

The District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, in Tree of Life Christian Schools v. The City of Upper Arlington, No. 2:11-cv-009 (Southern District of Ohio, 2014), has granted summary judgment in favor of the City of Upper Arlington (“City”) in its defense of RLUIPA and related claims brought by Tree of Life Christian … Continue Reading

RLUIPA Equal Terms Provision Its All About the Benjamins

RLUIPA’s Equal Terms provision provides in part: “No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that treats a religious assembly or institution on less than equal terms with a nonreligious assembly or institution.”  42 U.S.C. § 2000cc(b)(1).  RLUIPA, however, does not expound any further upon the terms of this provision, … Continue Reading
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