Posted by: Patricia Salkin | October 17, 2008

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Finds Church Filed RLUIPA Suit Too Soon

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s decision (see the posting on this blog) that the Church failed to exhaust its administrative remedies and obtain a final judgment before filing a lawsuit under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The Church asserted that exhaustion of remedies was not a prerequisite to enforcement of its rights under  RLUIPA.

                                      

The Sixth Circuit, relied on Insomnia, Inc. v. City of Memphis, Tenn stating, “[I]t is clear that all three of the lack-of-finality reasons cited in Insomnia are equally present in this case. . . Finality is prerequisite to litigation.” The Court noted that after the decision below, the Church did apply for reinstatement of its permit, and that after a public hearing, the permit was re-approved. The Court continued, “[T]he post-dismissal relations of the parties serve only to validate the district court’s prudential judgment that the Church’s resort to litigation was premature.”

 

Grace Community Church v. Lenox, 2008 WL 4527348 (C.A. 6th Cir (MI) 10/10/2008).

 

The opinion can be accessed at:

http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/08a0370p-06.pdf

 


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