Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2nd Circuit Says Trial Court Misinterpreted RLUIPA In Chabad Zoning Case

In Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County, Inc. v. Litchfield Historic District Commission, (2d Cir.,  Sept. 19, 2014), the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that the district court had applied erroneous legal standards in deciding whether a refusal to allow a Jewish group to expand a building in Lichtfield's Historic District violates RLUIPA’s substantial burden and nondiscrimination provisions. RLUIPA's substantial burden provision applies because the statutes involved call for an individual assessment of applications to alter historic properties. The district court should have looked at more than religious comparators in deciding the discrimination claim. The court also held that the district court wrongly dismissed on standing grounds the RLUIPA claim of the rabbi who was to live in the building.  AP reports on the decision. [Thanks to Tom Rutledge for the lead.]