Friday, September 23, 2022

RLUIPA Suit Charges City Attempt To Prevent Growth Of Orthodox Jewish Population

Suit was filed earlier this month in an Ohio federal district court by a University Heights, Ohio homeowner who was told by the city that he needed to obtain a special use permit in order to hold Jewish prayer services with ten friends in his home. The complaint (full text) in Grand v. City of University Heights, Ohio, (ND OH, filed 9/8/2021), says in part:

3. Since Grand moved into his home in 2019, he experienced discrimination based on his religion. After Grand’s invitation for friends to join him in Orthodox Jewish prayer in January of 2021, the City, led by its mayor, waged a zealous campaign of capricious enforcement of its local ordinances specifically targeting Grand and several other Orthodox Jewish prayer groups. This campaign is directly responsive to a hostile segment of the mayor’s constituency that seeks to prevent the growth of the City’s Orthodox Jewish population by limiting the locations where Orthodox Jews can pray.

4. Additionally, the City has targeted Grand individually for intentional, arbitrary, and discriminatory application of its ordinances that have caused him substantial injuries.

5. This action challenges certain provisions of the [city ordnances under] ... the United States Constitution, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, et seq. (“RLUIPA”), the Ohio Constitution, and Ohio common law.

News5 Cleveland reports on the lawsuit.