U.S. Tenth Circuit - The FindLaw 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act Challenge to Zoning Decision, and Civil Rights Matter

Rocky Mtn. Christian Church v. Bd. of Cty. Cmm'rs. of Boulder, Colo., No. 09-1188, concerned an action by a church claiming that the City of Boulder's denial of a special use application violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act's (RLUIPA) substantial burden, equal terms, and unreasonable limitations provisions.  The court of appeals affirmed the district court's permanent injunction in favor of plaintiff, holding that 1) plaintiff presented ample evidence of similarities between its proposed project and another at trial; 2) the jury could reasonably choose to weigh evidence of the County's land use regulation effectively excluding churches more heavily than the County's record of approving special use applications; and 3) the injunction was consistent with the jury's verdict on both the RLUIPA claims and damages.

Lewis v. Tripp, No. 09-6105, involved an action by a chiropractor claiming that an administrative search of his office was carried out in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.  The court of appeals reversed the denial of summary judgment for defendant, on the ground that defendant was entitled to qualified immunity because there was no evidence in the record to suggest that defendant was personally involved in the Fourth Amendment violation plaintiff alleged.

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