Thursday, April 09, 2015

11th Circuit: Moorish Property Owner May Replead Constitutional Claims

In Bey v. City of Tampa Code Enforcement, (11th Cir., April 8, 2015), the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed, with leave to amend, a complaint alleging free exercise, RLUIPA and due process violations against a Tampa Code enforcement officer who cited Nura Washington Bey for displaying unpermitted signs, building without a permit, and failing to obtain a special use permit to operate a private recreational facility.  At issue was property Bey owned, known as Al Moroc Humanity Park, which was used each Sunday by Bey and her "fellow Moorish nationals" to practice their Islamic faith.  The court held that while Bey might be able to allege facts to support her First Amendment and RLUIPA claims, she had alleged little in her complaint. Instead she relied primarily on her claim that as a Moorish national she is outside the jurisdiction of the magistrate who presided at the Code enforcement hearing, and that she is entirely exempt from local land use regulations by reason of the First Amendment.