Thursday, March 04, 2010

Church Lacks Standing To Sue Over Investigation of Its Loud Music

In Faith Baptist Church v. Waterford Township, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18226 (ED MI, March 2, 2010), a Michigan federal district court held that a church lacks standing to complain about police investigations of complaints about the volume of music coming from the church during rehearsals, services and concerts. (See prior posting). The court said:

Plaintiffs have not articulated any concrete or particularized injury. FBC continues to hold services with the music of its choosing. There is no allegation that the nature of FBC's religious services changed in any way in response to the investigation of the noise complaints. There is no specific allegation that any right to free association has been impinged or that any church members were deterred from worshiping.... There is no allegation that FBC was ordered to stop their music or that anyone was ticketed, charged, or fined. In fact, Waterford's disturbing the peace ordinance, which they challenge as vague and overbroad, was not enforced against them. Further, the evidence suggests that Waterford does not have a present intention to enforce the ordinance against them....

Although the complaint alleges that the actions of the prosecutor and police have caused a "chilling effect" -- such bare allegations are insufficient to confer standing.