The Borough of Allenhurst, New Jersey has settled a lawsuit against an Orthodox Jewish group just one day after the group filed suit in federal court alleging violations of RLUIPA’s unreasonable limits and exclusions and equal terms provisions.  As part of the swift settlement, the Borough will permit an addition to a residential home to be used as a synagogue, and will avoid having to pay attorneys’ fees, which are available to prevailing plaintiffs in RLUIPA cases. View Full Post
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that Ventura County, California’s conditional use permit (CUP) scheme for “temporary outdoor” events is an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech.  Temporary outdoor events are defined in the County’s zoning code to include “[o]utdoor recreational events such as harvest festivals, amusement ride, historic re-enactments, animal events, art shows, concerts, craft fairs, weddings, and religious revival meetings.”  In this case, the plaintiff, Epona, LLC, owner of 40-acres in Ventura County, sought approval to host outdoor events, including weddings.  View Full Post
Prisoner’s “My-iBible” RLUIPA Claim Thrown Out as Moot What do a prisoner in administrative segregation, an MP3 player, an audio version of the Bible, and earbud headphones have to do with defending local governments in RLUIPA claims?  Read on. The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently ruled that a prisoner’s RLUIPA claim had been rendered moot and could not proceed, as prison officials had granted the relief sought by the prisoner.  View Full Post
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 schools in its ORC Office and Research District (“ORC District”). View Full Post
The City of Brier, Washington (City) has prevailed over claims that it violated the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and other federal law in a dispute over a variance application to construct a personal Serbian Orthodox chapel. The case was brought by Vladan Milosavlejevic and his company (the Plaintiff), who sought to build a personal Serbian Orthodox chapel on company-owned property.  View Full Post
Last month, Bergen Rockland Eruv Association, Inc. (BREA) sued the Township of Mahwah, New Jersey regarding a dispute over the expansion of an eruv.  According to the complaint, “[a]n eruv, under Jewish law, is a largely invisible unbroken demarcation of an area … created by, among other things, using existing telephone or utility poles and wires,” which “allow Jews with sincerely held religious beliefs to carry or push objects from place to place within the area on the Sabbath and Yom Kippur.”  We previously reported here about another eruv dispute arising in Southampton, New York. View Full Post