RLUIPA

Our land use lawyers represent clients in matters involving the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), a federal law requiring local governments when implementing and enforcing their land use regulations to do so without burdening the religious exercise of religious institutions and to treat them the same as non-religious institutions. Oftentimes, when a local government denies a religious institution's application to build a house of worship or to expand a building to accommodate its religious practice, the religious institution will sue under RLUIPA claiming discrimination by the local government. These cases may be emotionally-charged with high stakes, and can dramatically impact the interests of all stakeholders – developers, governmental entities and landowners, including religious institutions.

Our land use lawyers frequently speak and write about RLUIPA. Since 2012, they have published a blog, RLUIPA Defense which is a resource for municipalities to avoid or defend against RLUIPA claims, and which also is frequently updated to contain the latest RLUIPA news and legal developments.

Our lawyers have experience representing local governments, advocacy groups, and religious institutions in RLUIPA litigation. Our representative matters include those listed below under "Experience."

    • Experience
      • Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov, Inc. v. Village of Pomona, New York, U.S. District Dist. Court, Southern District of New York. Defending the Village of Pomona, New York in defending RLUIPA claims brought by a religious organization which is attempting to by-pass the required land use application procedure and process.

      • St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich, Inc. v. City of Norwich, U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut. Filed RLUIPA litigation and administrative appeals in connection with City's denial of soup kitchen's applications to operate out of a former religious school adjacent to the church building.

      • Rocky Mountain Christian Church v. Board of County Commissioners, Boulder County, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Represented Boulder County, Colorado in defending RLUIPA and related claims brought by church looking to expand on rural site.

      • San Jose Christian College v. City of Morgan Hill, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Represented American Planning Association as amicus curiae to support City of Morgan Hill's defense of RLUIPA lawsuit brought by religious institution seeking to establish religious college.

      • City of San Leandro v. International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, United States Supreme Court. Represented California Chapter of American Planning Association as amicus curiae in supporting City of San Leandro, California's petition for a writ of certiorari before United States Supreme Court.

      • Promise Land Church of God v.City of West Haven, Connecticut Superior Court, Judicial District of New Haven. Represented religious institution after denial of site plan and special permit approvals for relocation/expansion. Filed administrative appeals and RLUIPA claims, and negotiated favorable settlement with the City for issuance of permits and approvals.

    • News
      • February 28, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Examine Litigation Trends in RLUIPA Land Use Claims

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      • January 9, 2017

        Evan Seeman and John Peloso Publish Note for Practical Law

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      • October 4, 2016

        Land Use Litigation Lawyers Present at Touro Law Center

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      • August 9, 2016

        Evan Seeman Participates in Webinar on Planning for Religious Uses

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      • June 2, 2016

        Evan Seeman Writes about Religious Exercise in Planning Magazine

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      • May 19, 2016

        Hartford Land Use Lawyers Publish Article on Religious Land Use Applications in Connecticut Planning

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      • March 8, 2016

        Land Use Lawyers Negotiate Settlement Allowing Soup Kitchen to Remain Open

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      • February 4, 2016

        Robinson+Cole RLUIPA Defense Lawyers Featured in News

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      • October 29, 2015

        Dwight H. Merriam Honored with Professional Excellence Award by Connecticut Law Tribune

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        • View article
      • October 27, 2015

        Evan Seeman Presents at APA RLUIPA Webinar

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      • July 6, 2015

        Land Use Lawyers Present IMLA Webinar on Avoiding and Defending RLUIPA Suits

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      • March 6, 2015

        Land Use Lawyers Present at Touro Law's Bagels with the Boards CLE

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      • February 13, 2015

        Evan Seeman Presents on Religious Land Use Litigation at ABA Midyear Meeting

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      • January 22, 2015

        Evan Seeman Writes Article on RLUIPA Defense Tactics

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      • December 4, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Speak on Religious Land Use Litigation

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      • July 30, 2013

        Hartford Lawyers Co-author Article on Religious Land Use

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      • May 22, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Lawyers Provide Pro Bono Support to Norwich Soup Kitchen

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        • View article
      • October 26, 2012

        Evan Seeman Speaks to Connecticut Association of Zoning Enforcement Officials About Religious Land Use

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      • March 30, 2012

        Trial and Land Use Lawyers Present Webinar on Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act

      • March 16, 2011

        Dwight Merriam Speaks on Recent Developments under RLUIPA

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    • Publications + Presentations
    • "RLUIPA Land Use Claims—Latest Litigation Trends and Key Case Law Developments," co-presented by Evan J. Seeman, John F. X. Peloso Jr. and Karla L. Chaffee, webinar (2/22/2017)
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      "Avoiding and Defending Against RLUIPA Claims," published in Practical Law, co-authored by Evan J. Seeman and John F. X. Peloso Jr. (12/22/2016)
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      • View article

      "Update on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)," co-presented by Hiram B. Carey III, Karla L. Chaffee and John F. X. Peloso Jr. (9/23/2016)
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      "Planning for Religious Uses in an Age of Religious Diversity and Lawsuits," co-presented by Evan J. Seeman and land use lawyers Daniel P. Dalton and Noel W. Sterett, a webinar hosted by the Planning Webcast Series and sponsored by the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association (8/5/2016)
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      "Defining Religious Exercise," published in Planning, authored by Evan J. Seeman, in the Legal Lessons column (May 2016)
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      • View article

      "FHA, RLUIPA & Telecommunications Act Compliance," presented by Evan J. Seeman, at the American Planning Association's (APA) National Planning Conference in Phoenix, Arizona (4/3/2016)
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      "How to Avoid and Defend RLUIPA Suits," co-presented by Evan J. Seeman, Karla L. Chaffee and Michael S. Giaimo (6/8/2015)

      "Finding Salvation in Religious Law's Safe Harbor," published in Connecticut Law Tribune, authored by Evan J. Seeman (3/23/2015)
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      • View article

      "RLUIPA Defense: Avoiding and Defending RLUIPA Claims," co-presented by Evan J. Seeman, Hiram B. Carey III and Karla L. Chaffee, spoke at the Touro Law Center's Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Institute's inaugural Bagels with the Boards CLE (2/27/2015)
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      "Religious Land Use Litigation Since 2000," presented by Evan J. Seeman, served as panelist at ABA Midyear Meeting (2/5/2015)
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      "RLUIPA Defense Tactics; How to Avoid & Defend Against RLUIPA Claims," published in Zoning and Planning Law Report, authored by Evan J. Seeman (December 2014)
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      "RLUIPA," presented by Dwight H. Merriam, co-moderated with Professor Daniel R. Mandelker of Washington University School of Law webinar on Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA); sponsored by International Municipal Lawyers Association (12/8/2014)

      "A $6.5 Million Lesson in RLUIPA Defense," published in Planning & Law, authored by Evan J. Seeman (Summer/Fall 2014)
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