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Constitutional Law

New York Village Settles One RLUIPA Suit, Faces New One From DOJ

A New York village settled one lawsuit alleging violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) while the U.S. Department of Justice filed a new, larger lawsuit against the village alleging a broad, ongoing practice of discriminating against religious land uses. The federal government’s lawsuit alleges that the village has a 30-year history of such discrimination

Oakland County Violated Constitution by Keeping Tax Sale Proceeds

County governments that sell properties at auction to satisfy unpaid tax debts commit an unconstitutional taking when they keep the surplus proceeds of those sales beyond the amount of taxes owed. Relying in part on law from 800 years ago, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a ruling on July 17, 2020 that property owners’ interests in the surplus proceeds of any such sales remain even after the au

Federal Courts Issue Rulings on 1st Amendment Rights During COVID-19

Most state governments have responded to COVID-19 with executive orders and laws that restrict the public from certain activities, including religious assembly. Such limitations on activities protected by the First Amendment have resulted in a flurry of lawsuits – at least one that reached the Supreme Court – alleging First and Fourteenth Amendment violations that raise a critical question: Ho

Federal Government Sues City of Troy, Michigan for Violation of RLUIPA

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has brought suit against the City of Troy on behalf of a Muslim organization that alleges violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (“RLUIPA”). RLUIPA is a federal law that protects the First Amendment rights of religious assemblies of all faiths to open houses of worship. The lawsuit is part of a nationwide program on the pa

FBMJ Client Prevails in RLUIPA Matter Involving Religious Land Use in Clinton Township

Foley, Baron, Metzger & Juip secured a significant victory for its client when a federal judge found that a local government’s zoning ordinance violated federal law in how it treats houses of worship. The decision, rendered in a 15-page opinion on July 24, 2019, held that Clinton Township violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, or RLUIPA, by requiring houses of wor

SCOTUS Allows Takings Claims to Bypass State Courts

On June 21, 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 35-year old precedent and held that a private landowner who alleges the government has taken their land without just compensation can immediately sue in federal court. Previously such claims had been directed to state courts under state inverse condemnation claims, including here in Michigan. However, under this ruling, land owners would file th

Religious Land Use Case Survives Summary Judgement, Heads to Trial

FBMJ client, River of Life Ministries, defeated a motion brought by defendant Clinton Township to have their claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) dismissed at a hearing in U.S. District Court on May 22. This follows River of Life previously obtaining land use approval and recovering $62,000 in attorney fees in costs in the case, which now likely will head

FBMJ Client Prevails in RLUIPA Matter

FBMJ attorneys have been successful in recovering all attorney fees spent by their client, River of Life Ministries, in securing formerly denied land use approval to operate their church in Macomb County. The fees were incurred as part of their federal lawsuit, Dorman et al v Clinton Township, alleging violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, or RLUIPA.In an 8-page o

Sarah Tupica Berard Joins Foley, Baron, Metzger & Juip, PLLC

Foley, Baron, Metzger & Juip, PLLC (FBMJ) is pleased to announce that Sarah Tupica Berard has joined the firm as an Associate Principal attorney. Clyde M. Metzger, Managing Member, made the announcement.In her new position, Berard will join the Healthcare Law practice group representing physicians, nurses, physician groups, healthcare institutions, hospitals, management service organizations

Practitioners Beware: Loose Lips Should Be Zipped!

A split panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals held that improper disclosure of a diagnosis to the patient’s wife constituted ordinary negligence. (William Brandon v. Denise L. Handelsman, D.O. 2/23/16-Unpublished) While unpublished decisions are only binding on the case in which it was decided and have no precedential value in other cases, the majority opinion is noteworthy as it provides some