Although plaintiff has the right to worship how he chooses, Cornerstone's decision to ban him from its property is not a violation of his constitutional rights.The court also rejected plaintiff's conspiracy and retaliation claims.
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Court Says Suit Over Church Member's Trespassing Ban Should Be Dismissed
In Towns v. Cornerstone Baptist Church, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77575 (ED NY, June 13, 2016), a New York federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing with prejudice the third amended complaint in a lawsuit by a long-time member of Cornerstone Baptist Church against the church, its pastor, the New York Police Department and others. Plaintiff claimed that his rights were violated when, because of a dispute about church governance and programming, he was banned by the church from entering its property. In a letter the church threatened him with arrest for trespassing if he attempted to enter church property. Among other things, the judge concluded that this was a non-justiciable religious controversy and that there was no joint action between the church and police officials, saying in part: