Friday, July 26, 2019

Challenge To Attempted Search of Church Is Dismissed

In Aguilera v. City of Colorado Springs, (D CO, July 23, 2019), a Colorado federal district court dismissed a suit brought by plaintiff who leases two rooms to the Green Faith Ministry. The suit grew out of an attempt by city authorities to conduct an occupancy check of the building leased by the Ministry, apparently suspecting that it was a retail marijuana outlet. Authorities took photos of license plates, but never gained access to the building. The court held that plaintiff lacks standing to bring most of her claims:
Plaintiff complains that Defendants ... deterred others from entering the building... She alleges that Defendant Vargason attempted a warrantless entry of the Green Faith Ministry building.... She contends that the City of Colorado Springs is entangled financially with many Christian organizations and targeted Green Faith Ministry.... Plaintiff fails to allege how this conduct, directed to other individuals and to the Green Faith Ministry entity, harmed her.
The court went on to find a few actions that did impact plaintiff, including one of the defendants telling her "to Praise the Lord." The court concluded that this did not violate the Establishment Clause or plaintiff's free exercise rights.