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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Church's Claims Against City Partially Dismissed in RLUIPA Case

An Illinois district court recently dismissed some of a religious institution's claims against a city in a RLUIPA case called Church of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ v. City of Markham, Illinois (N.D. Ill. 2015).

The church filed a lawsuit against the City and certain City officials after the City notified the church that it had to comply with City ordinances, including applying for a conditional use permit, or cease operations. The church applied for zoning relief, but was denied relief by the City. The church argued that the City's denial of its permit was a "substantial burden" on its religious exercise, discriminated against the church, violated the equal terms clause of RLUIPA, among other claims. The church also named the mayor and several of the aldermen as defendants.

The district court first dismissed all claims against the individual city defendants, holding that RLUIPA does not authorize relief against public employees.  The court also dismissed the RLUIPA nondiscrimination claims for failure to state a claim. The court further dismissed the church's Open Meetings Act claims as barred by the 60 day statute of limitations.  However, the court allowed the church's substantial burden claim to move forward, as well as the church's RFRA and free exercise claims. The church's "arbitrary and capricious" claim also moves forward.   

You can read a more detailed analysis on RLUIPA Defense at Illinois Federal Court Dismisses Some, But Not All, RLUIPA Claims.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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