Plains, N.Y. (Mar. 21, 2013): S&G Orthodox Jewish
clients win summary judgment on their claim that a "religious
observance" provision in their collective bargaining
agreement with a public school district does not violate
the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The court
Observance Clauses at issue here do not single
out a particular religious sect or denomination
for special treatment; rather, they are reasonable
accommodations of the employees’ religious
beliefs. The Supreme Court “has long recognized
that the government may (and sometimes must) accommodate
religious practices and that it may do so without
violating the Establishment Clause.” Corp.
of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Amos, 483 U.S.
327, 334 (1987) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted); see also Cutter v. Wilkinson,
544 U.S. 709, 713 (2005) (same). The Court has
held that “there is room for play in the
joints between’ the Free Exercise and Establishment
Clauses, allowing the government to accommodate
religion beyond free exercise requirements, without
offense to the Establishment Clause.” Cutter,
544 U.S. at 713 (quoting Locke v. Davey, 540 U.S.
712, 718 (2004)). “There is ample room under
the Establishment Clause for ‘benevolent
neutrality which will permit religious exercise
to exist without sponsorship and without interference.”
Here, the District’s enforcement of the
Religious Observance Clauses does not amount to
an illicit advancement of religion through its
own activities and influence; rather, the clauses
are self-selecting and allow the teachers and
nurses to decide whether to use their leave days
for the purpose of observing a particular religious
holiday. Moreover, the Religious Observance Clauses
do not designate specific religious holidays for
inclusion, thereby improperly granting an added
benefit to members of one faith and creating the
impermissible inference that the District favors
or prefers particular religions over others.
v. East Ramapo Central School Dist., Civ. No.
11-07002 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 21, 2013).
Washington, D.C. (Feb. 3, 2013): The Washington
Examiner reports on Bethel World Outreach Ministries'
victory in federal Court of Appeals:
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a land
dispute between the county and megachurch Bethel
World Outreach Ministries will go to trial. The
church sued the County in 2008, saying that the
County was intentionally blocking the church from
building a site in Gaithersburg.
Kate Jacobson, "Church's
lawsuit against MontCo revived in appeals court,"
Washington Examiner (Feb. 3, 2013)
Norwalk, Conn. (Feb. 4,
2013): Recent news report on the Al Madany lawsuit:
law protects the right of all religious traditions,
mainstream or minority, to a place where congregants
can pray, worship together and teach their children,"
said Roman P. Storzer, the Washington, D.C., attorney
retained by Al Madany, in a press statement accompanying
the lawsuit. "It is up to the faith-based
organization, and not the government, to decide
which religious activities are uses that are to
be associated with its place of worship."
Storzer, an attorney with Storzer & Greene,
PLLC, has represented religious institutions nationwide
in religious freedom matters. His legal victories
include thwarting the Camden County Improvement
Authority's (N.J.) attempt to seize Living Faith
Ministries' church and allowing it to continue
to exist in an area of economic redevelopment,
and a decision by a federal district court supporting
The Church of the Hills in a lawsuit against the
Township of Bedminster, N.J., in an attempt to
expand its church, according to his law firm's
R. Koch, "Norwalk
hires high-profile attorney to battle proposed mosque,"
The Hour (Feb. 4, 2013).
Montgomery Cy., Md. (Feb. 1, 2013): The Daily
Record reports on Fourth Circuit's Bethel World Outreach
decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
revives Bethel World Outreach Ministries’
lawsuit under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act. . . . “When a religious organization
buys property reasonably expecting to build a
church, governmental action impeding the building
of the church may impose a substantial burden,”
Judge Diana G. Motz wrote Thursday for the appellate
panel, which sent the case back for trial.
The church’s attorney, Roman P. Storzer,
said the decision enables Bethel to press ahead
with its nine-year fight to build a facility that
will accommodate its growing membership. “You
can’t have worship at all unless you have
a place of worship,” said Storzer, of Storzer
& Greene PLLC in Washington.
S. Lash, "Appeals
court revives megachurch's lawsuit against Montgomery
County" (Jan. 31, 2013)
Washington, D.C. (January 2013): Latest U.S. Department
of Justice Religious Freedom in Focus discusses
the religious freedom cases of two S&G clients:
Bethel World Outreach Ministries' appeal against Montgomery
County, Maryland, and the UDV and Aurora Foundation's
lawsuit against the Board of Commissioners of Sante Fe
4, the United States argued before the United
States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
that a federal trial court applied the wrong standard
in ruling against a church's claim under the Religious
Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).
The United States had earlier filed
a brief in the appeal, Bethel World Outreach
v. Montgomery County Maryland, which involves
a church's efforts to construct an 800-seat church
in a rural/residential section of the county,
arguing that the trial court should have applied
a "totality of the circumstances" test
to evaluate the RLUIPA claim.
The Fourth Circuit has since ruled
in favor of Bethel World Outreach Ministries and remanded
the case for further proceedings.
27, 2012, the Board of County Commissioners of
Santa Fe County voted to approve an application
by O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal
(UDV) to build a temple on a site where it had
previously worshipped for 14 years. The County's
approval of UDV's application resolves the New
Mexico church's claims against the County under
Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA),
which were included in the lawsuit UDV filed in
the United States District Court for the District
of New Mexico on February 2, 2012. . . . The Civil
Rights Division filed
an amicus brief in UDV's lawsuit on May 25,
2012, in opposition to the County's motion to
dismiss UDV's complaint. The brief argued that
the church had alleged sufficient facts to support
a claim under RLUIPA, and that the church's RLUIPA
claims should be permitted to move forward.
Freedom in Focus Vol. 55 (Jan. 2013)
Richmond, Va. (Jan.
31, 2013): Federal Court of Appeals rules in favor of
Bethel World Outreach Ministries: In a published
decision reversing the lower court's grant of summary
judgment to Montgomery County, Maryland, the Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the church's
claim that passage of a zoning ordinance prohibiting a
place of worship on its property substantially burdens
its religious exercise can go to trial. The court ruled:
the County suggests that Bethel’s burden
is not substantial because the organization already
owns one facility and rents another, Bethel has
presented considerable evidence that its current
facilities inadequately serve its needs. Specifically,
insufficient space forces Bethel to hold four
services every Sunday, and to shorten services,
interfering with Communion and the church’s
"Altar Call" practice. Bethel’s
present facilities are overcrowded, requiring
ushers to turn people away from services and limiting
Bethel’s ability to offer various programs.
Bethel’s pastor testified that the lack
of adequate facilities creates a sense of disunity
because the congregation is divided into so many
If Bethel’s proffered evidence is believed,
a fact finder could certainly conclude that Bethel’s
current facilities do not adequately serve its
religious purposes, and that the planned 800-seat
church would alleviate Bethel’s burden.
. . . Viewing the facts in the light most favorable
to Bethel, we must conclude that the district
court erred in holding as a matter of law that
the County did not impose a substantial burden
on Bethel’s religious exercise.
The church was supported by the United
States Department of Justice and The Becket Fund
for Religious Liberty.
Read the decision here.
Rockland County, N.Y. (January 24, 2013): The
Advocate reports on Congregation Rabbinical
College of Tartikov decision allowing challenge to
Village zoning laws to move forward:
to Storzer, . . . this is an extreme case; "One
that brings to mind the civil rights conflicts
of the 1960s. We need to stop the Village of Pomona,
and municipalities across the country, from using
their zoning power as a tool to control unpopular
religious groups. RLUIPA supersedes local zoning
codes in cases such as this by allowing municipalities
to consider plans for the development of religious
uses that may otherwise be prohibited outright,
like this Yeshiva. By denying the Rabbinical College
the right to even apply for the necessary permits,
while secular colleges or colleges of other religious
traditions would be permitted, and even refusing
to meet with Congregation representatives, the
village has violated the letter and the spirit
of the First Amendment and RLUIPA."
A. Moeller, "Pomona
Yeshiva Case Moves Forward in Court," The
Advocate(Jan. 24, 2013)
White Plains, N.Y. (Jan 4, 2013): Federal court
denies Village of Pomona's motion to dismiss Congregation
Rabbinical College of Tartikov's facial challenges to
zoning code. The Congregation, represented by
S&G together with Savad Churgin of Nanuet, N.Y. and
Stepanovich & Associates of Chesapeake, Va., argued
that its claims brought under the First and Fourteenth
Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Religious Land
Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and the Fair Housing
Act challenging certain land use provisions banning the
religious college's proposed use should proceed to trial.
Among other holdings in its 102-page decision,
the court wrote that the "Plaintiffs have sufficiently
alleged that the multi-family dormitories that they seek
to build are intended to facilitate religious exercise,
thus bringing this accessory use within RLUIPA’s
Read the decision here
M. Hamblett, "Parties
say ruling clarifies issues under religious land use law,"
New York Law Journal (Jan. 11, 2013)
A. Matsuda, "Group's
rabbinical college lawsuit can proceed, but Pomona claims
'win," The Journal News (Jan. 10, 2013)
Washington, D.C. (Dec. 22, 2012): Fishermen of
Men Church applauds victory against the efforts to landmark
its church as a "historic" site.
Clarence Groover Sr., pastor and founder of the
Fisherman of Men Church and his jubilant congregation
are still celebrating a great victory since the
D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board’s
(HPRB) announcement of its decision to deny the
request by the Advisory Neighborhood Commission
1A to grant historic status to the former York
movie theater building erected in 1919 that has
served this present community now as a church
for the last more than 35 years.
Press Release, "Washington
DC, Church Wins Fight Against Historic Landmark Designation
The DC HPRB Voted 5 to 3 in Denying Designation at Hearing
Norwalk, Conn. (Dec. 11, 2012): U.S. Department
of Justice investigating City of Norwalk, Connecticut's
denial of application for place of worship:
Department of Justice is delving into city Zoning
commissioners' rejection of Al-Madany Islamic
Center of Norwalk's plan to build a mosque in
West Norwalk, according to city officials. . .
. "Federal law protects the right of all
religious traditions, mainstream or minority,
to a place where congregants can pray, worship
together and teach their children," said
Roman P. Storzer, the attorney representing Al-Madany
R. Koch, "Norwalk
officials acknowledge Department of Justice is reviewing
mosque denial," The Hour (Dec. 11, 2012)
P. Storzer, of New York-based Storzer & Greene,
the attorney for Al-Madany, said Monday he cannot
discuss specifics of any settlement discussions,
but noted, "[T]he center was flexible in
the earlier proceedings with the Zoning Commission
and they still look forward to be able to achieve
an amicable result with the city here. We aren't
closing off any avenues of resolution."
Storzer said the complaint describes the center's
need for a place of worship and the lack of an
existing mosque in Norwalk. It alleges the commission's
action was based on "misapplication of state
and local laws," "ad hoc factors specifically
and specially designed to prevent the construction
of a mosque within Norwalk," and "unequal
treatment as compared to similarly situated places
of worship in the same area and zoning district."
N. Rivard, "Mosque
neighbors feel ignored by city," Stamford
Advocate (Dec. 14, 2012)
Recent media on Fourth Circuit appellate argument
in King v. Chesterfield County free speech challenge:
Sante Fe, N.M. (Nov. 27, 2012): S&G client
Aurora Foundation, together with the O Centro Espirita
Beneficente Unia Do Vegetal, settle RLUIPA lawsuit with
the Board of County Commissioners of Sante Fe County:
denying UDV a building permit and faced with a
Federal lawsuit alleging multiple violations of
congressional and constitutional mandates related
to religious liberty, the Board of Commissioners
of Santa Fe County, last month, agreed to provide
a construction permit to the UDV to build its
small church. The church had been the target of
a strident campaign funded by a small group of
vocal opponents from the local area, who had pressured
the political bodies to deny the needed permits
because of evident misunderstandings and fear
of UDV’s religious practice.
As a condition of settlement, in addition to granting
all needed permits for the church to begin construction,
the County also agreed, at its own expense, to
install public utility services not currently
available in the area. The Board of County Commissioners
also agreed not to dispute the UDV's prevailing
party status in the federal lawsuit and UDV, as
a consequence, will recover its substantial attorney's
fees and legal costs as provided for under Federal
strong local opposition, small church granted permit to
build its temple under federal law," Religion
News Service (Dec. 10, 2012)
A copy of the settlement agreement is available at B.
agrees to UDV temple construction in Arroyo Hondo,"
The New Mexican (Nov. 13, 2012)
B. Krasnow, "Official:
UDV settlemetn to cost taxpayers $400K," The
New Mexican (Nov. 14, 2012)
(Nov. 29, 2012): S&G client Fisherman of Men
Church victorious in historic landmarking dispute.
Fisherman of Men Church today persuaded the District
| of Columbia Historic
Preservation Review Board to deny the application
of Advisory Neighborhood Commission - 1A to designate
its church building, located at 3641 Georgia Avenue
Northwest in Washington, D.C., as a historic landmark.
Such designation of the church, which has been occupied
and maintained by Fisherman of Men for twenty-five
years, would have prevented it from making any changes
to the exterior of the building, frustrating its
plans to develop the property in a manner that would
allow it to fully serve its congregation and the
The HPRB voted 5-3 to deny the application, contrary
to the recommendations of the Board staff. Bishop
Clarence Groover Sr., pastor of Fisherman of Men,
said, “The decision is really a thrill. Now
we can get the permits to build the canopy, signage
and give the church a presence in the community.”
S&G submitted an opinion
letter informing the HPRB that:
potential designation implicates two federal civil
rights laws, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act of 2000 (“RLUIPA”), 42
U.S.C §§ 2000cc et seq., and the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”),
42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb et seq., each of
which protects the right to free exercise of religion.
As discussed in further detail below, it is this
Firm’s opinion that the designation of Fisherman
of Men Church’s building as a historic landmark
would violate the Church’s civil rights
under RLUIPA and RFRA.
"Religious architecture, through its shapes,
symbols, decorations, ornamentations, and monumentality,
represents a strong intention to communicate a
particularized message about a group's religious
beliefs. 'The history of church building demonstrates
that the urge to express faith through architecture
H. Harris, "Historic
designation for former York Theater building in D.C. denied,"
Washington Post (Nov. 29, 2012)
Norwalk, Conn. (Nov. 30, 2012): The Hour
writes on the Al-Madany lawsuit:
and Al-Madany Islamic Center of Norwalk appear
headed toward resolution of the latter's lawsuit
against the city. Al-Madany Islamic Center sued
the city after the commission on June 6 rejected
the center's plan to build a mosque/multi-purpose
center at 127 Fillow St. That decision might now
be reversed, or at least altered. On a 6-1 vote
Thursday night, Norwalk Zoning commissioners approved
the following motion: "Subject to an agreement
on the terms and conditions of the final settlement
agreement, we consent to a resolution to allow
for zoning approval for the mosque and accessory
"Federal law protects the right
of all religious traditions, mainstream or minority,
to a place where congregants can pray, worship
together and teach their children," said
Roman P. Storzer, the attorney representing Al-Madany
Islamic Center, at the time the lawsuit was filed.
R. Koch, "City
moves to settle mosque lawsuit,The Hour (Nov.
Bethel World Outreach Ministries appeal to be
heard on December 4; United States Department of Justice
to argue in support of Church's RLUIPA claim (Oct. 16,
2012).The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals granted
the United States' motion to participate in oral argument
in Bethel World Outreach Ministries v. Montgomery
County, Md., No. 11-2176. The Department of Justice
previously filed a brief amicus
curiae arguing that the lower court's decision
was "flawed" for multiple reasons.
WilmerHale joins S&G in the representation
of Al Madany Islamic Center of Norwalk (Sept. 22, 2012).
Al Madany sued the City of Norwalk, Connecticut and the
City's Zoning Commission in June 2012, challenging the
City's zoning laws and denial of its application to build
a mosque. More information available here.
S&G client Dayalbagh Radhasoami Satsang Association
of North America files RLUIPA lawsuit against Old Bridge,
N.J. (July 24, 2012): The Association, part
of the Radhasoami faith that was founded in 1861 in Agra,
India, filed suit against the Township of Old Bridge and
its Zoning Board of Adjustment challenging a recent zoning
ordinance defining permissible religious dormitories and
parsonages and the Board's enforcement of zoning laws
against it in connection with the Association's plans
to build a Satsang Center for worshipers. The complaint
filed in federal district court alleges that "the
Targeted Ordinance was enacted specifically to prevent
the Plaintiff's religious use of the Subject Property."
Conn. (June 29, 2012): S&G client Al Madany
Islamic Center of Norwalk files suit against the City
of Norwalk, Connecticut and its Zoning Commission, challenging
its denial of the Center's special use permit:
describes the center's need for a place of worship
and the lack of an existing mosque in Norwalk,
according to a statement. It alleges that the
Zoning Commission's action was based on "misapplication
of state and local laws," "ad hoc factors
specifically and specially designed to prevent
the construction of a mosque within Norwalk"
and "unequal treatment as compared to similarly
situated places of worship in the same area and
The complaint states that a place of worship is
an allowed use with a special permit in the residential
zoning district where the property is located
and alleges that the center complied with all
promulgated standards for such a use.
"Federal law protects the right of all religious
traditions, mainstream or minority, to a place
where congregants can pray, worship together and
teach their children," said Roman P. Storzer,
attorney for the center, in the statement. "It
is up to the faith-based organization, and not
the government, to decide which religious activities
are uses that are to be associated with its place
N. Chapman, "Muslims
Sue Norwalk Over Rejection of Mosque," Norwalk
Daily Voice (June 29, 2012)
R. Koch, "Al
Madany Center of Norwalk files lawsuit appealing Zoning
Commission ruling," The Hour (June 29,
United States Department of Justice's latest "Religious
Freedom in Focus" discusses its brief amicus
curiae filed in O Centro Espirita Beneficente
Uniao do Vegetal v. County of Santa Fe:
States' friend-of-the-court brief states that
all three RLUIPA claims should be permitted to
move forward. The brief first argues that UDV
has alleged a substantial burden on its exercise
of its religion. Surveying the case law, the brief
concludes that a zoning action imposes a substantial
burden if, looking at all of the surrounding circumstances,
it "significantly inhibits, meaningfully
curtails, or denies reasonable opportunities for
activities that are important to a congregation's
religion." In light of the facts regarding
the lack of adequate worship space, facts supporting
the importance of this particular site to the
UDV congregation, and the likely difficulties
they would encounter with the County with any
alternative property, the United States argues
that the substantial burden test has been met.
The brief is available here
Santa Fe, N.M. (May 25, 2012): United
States Department of Justice files its Statement of Interest
opposing the Sante Fe Board of County Commissioner's motion
to dismiss the RLUIPA lawsuit brought by O Centro Espirita
Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal:
of these reasons, including the physical inadequacy
of the current facilities, the importance of this
particular location to the church, and Defendant's
efforts to block Plaintiffs' locating at this
property and the likelihood it would do so at
any other property in Santa Fe County, Plaintiffs
have sufficiently alleged that the Defendant has
substantially limited, interfered with, or denied
reasonable opportunities for them to engage in
their religious worship.
States of America's Statement of Interest in Opposition
to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, filed in O Centro
Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal v. Board of County
Commissioners of Santa Fe County, Civ. no. 12-00105
(May 25, 2012).
Washington, D.C. (May 21, 2012): Third
Church historic preservation controversy discussed on
Slate: M. Yglesias, "Historic
Preservation Rules Are Economic Policy," Slate
(May 21, 2012)
Washington, D.C. (May 9, 2012): D.C.
Historic Preservation Review Board hearing on the Third
Church of Christ, Scientist's redevelopment plans to be
held on May 24:
over the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, though
involving a much younger building, has dragged
on even longer. Members of that congregation have
been trying for two decades to demolish their
“Brutalist” concrete building at 16th
and I streets, erected in the late 1960s, because
they say it is cold, unwelcoming and nearly impossible
But those plans got caught up in a historic landmark
nomination, which blocked demolition, and then
an appeal to a higher zoning official known the
mayor’s agent, then a long court battle.
The situation finally ended with a complicated
legal settlement that will allow the church and
Christian Science Monitor building on the corner
site to be removed in favor of a large office
building incorporating space for a glassy new
Christian Science church.
S&G represented the Third Church in its lawsuit against
E. Wiener, "City
board to review projects at two Christian Science sites,"The
Dupont Current (May 9, 2012).
Richmond, Va. (Apr. 24, 2012): The Becket
Fund for Religious Liberty filed a brief amicus curiae
in Bethel World Outreach Ministries v. Montgomery
County, arguing that "this case is a textbook
example of the kind of government mistreatment of minority
religious groups that RLUIPA was enacted to prevent."
County makes it exceedingly difficult to find
land to build a church, and then uses its regulations
and law-making authority in arbitrary ways against
disfavored categories of churches. These actions
violate RLUIPA Section 2(b)(2) by discriminating
on the basis of religion.
Amicus Brief at 18. The
Becket Fund is a non-profit, public-interest legal
and educational institute dedicated to protecting the
free expression of all faiths.
Read their brief here
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 12, 2012): The
United States Department of Justice filed a brief amicus
curiae in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth
Circuit, supporting Storzer & Greene client Bethel
World Outreach Ministries in its appeal against Montgomery
County, Maryland. The appeal concerns Bethel's challenge
to the enactment of a targeted ordinance (Zoning Text
Amendment 07-07) prohibiting it from building a place
of worship. The brief argues that "[t]he district
court erred in concluding, as a matter of law, that ZTA
07-07 did not constitute a substantial burden on Bethel’s
religious exercise." The Department of Justice wrote:
presented sufficient evidence to raise a triable
issue of whether identifying a suitable, available
piece of property for purchase and obtaining the
necessary permits and approval to construct a
church on a new site would result in considerable
“delay, uncertainty, and expense,”
despite the fact that the burden might not be
“insuperable.” Saints Constantine
& Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Inc. v. City
of New Berlin, 396 F.3d 895, 901 (7th Cir. 2005).
And Bethel certainly presented sufficient evidence
to suggest that ZTA 07-07’s prohibition
of PIFs on land similar to Bethel’s placed
a “significantly great restriction or onus”
on Bethel’s religious exercise. Guru Nanak
Sikh Soc’y of Yuba City v. County of Sutter,
456 F.3d 978, 988 (9th Cir. 2006). Bethel presented
evidence that its current facilities were insufficient
for its religious needs, and that its lack of
suitable facilities substantially inhibited its
religious practices. For example, Bethel presented
evidence that: some church members must be physically
blocked from entering the church for worship services
due to overcrowding; worshippers who used to be
able to sit in the hallway to hear services are
now precluded from doing so because of fire safety
concerns; the church must hold multiple services,
and therefore the entire congregation cannot meet
as a single body; church members cannot receive
communion during church services and instead must
receive communion afterwards; the church cannot
adequately engage in its “Altar Call”
practice, which allows worshippers to dedicate
or recommit their lives to Christ; children are
turned away from the Children’s Ministry,
which means that neither they, nor their parents,
may attend services; there is no space for the
church’s mission programs, counseling, health
education, or services for single mothers and
seniors; and the church has lost members because
of the issues with its facilities.
Amicus Brief at 17-18 (footnote, citations omitted). The
brief can be found here
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 2012):
Volume 51 of the Department of Justice's "Religious
Freedom in Focus" highlights its appeal brief filed
in the case of Storzer & Greene client Bethel World
Outreach Ministries in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals:
brief filed on April 12, the Civil Rights
Division argued that a church in Montgomery County,
Maryland, that had been prevented by the county
from building an 800-seat church on a 119-acre
site, had set forth facts that could show that
the county imposed a "substantial burden"
on the church's religious exercise in violation
of the Religious
Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).
The brief in the case, Bethel World Outreach Ministries
v. Montgomery County, was filed with the U.S Court
of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and contends
that a federal trial court in Maryland erred in
granting summary judgment to the county.
Bethel World Outreach Ministries currently serves
a congregation of 2,000 by holding multiple services
at two locations in Montgomery County. In 2004,
the church purchased a 119-acre parcel of land
in the county in a zone that at the time permitted
churches. The church began the process of planning
construction of a large church. Subsequent zoning
changes had the effect of blocking the development.
. . .
The United States' brief observes that Bethel
Outreach Ministries presented numerous facts to
show that its religious exercise was substantially
inhibited and limited. For example, it presented
facts that its current services were so over-capacity
that ushers had to physically bar congregants
from entering, that religious elements of services
including alter calls and communion had to be
limited, that children were turned away from Sunday
school, that various charitable programs of the
church had to be eliminated because of inadequate
space, and that the church would face considerable
"delay, uncertainty, and expense" in
seeking alternative properties. In light of these
and other similar factors, the United States'
brief argues, the church presented sufficient
evidence of a substantial burden on it religious
exercise to allow the case to go trial.
Freedom in Focus United States Department of
Justice, Civil Rights Division (Vol. 51, April 2012)
the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission,
the Metropolitan Development Commission of Marion County,
and the City of Indianapolis for designating its church
as a historic landmark, the MDC rescinded the historic
designation of the Church's property. The resolution
reads as follows:
|Indianapolis, Ind. (Feb.
1, 2012): On February 1, 2012, after the St. John
United Church of Christ (represented by Storzer
& Greene) filed suit against
NO. 2012-IHPC-001 (For Public Hearing) Amends
the Comprehensive Plan of Marion County, Indiana,
by rescinding the adoption of St. John United
Church of Christ Historic Area Preservation Plan
38 (SJC) – St. John United Church of Christ
Historic Area, and by removing the St. John United
Church of Christ Historic Area Preservation Plan
as a segment of the Comprehensive Plan
"This is an important day for religious freedom,"
said Church attorney Roman Storzer. "A city should
not, and cannot, place the importance of a building over
the course of a church's future worship and other ministries."
The Metropolitan Development Commission's hearing on the
matter can be viewed here
(the discussion on the Church's matter begins at 20:08
on the recording).
The notice of the Metropolitan Development Commission's
February 1, 2012 meeting, which includes the Resolution,
can be found here.
Background on the Church's lawsuit can be found here.
Indianapolis, Ind. (June 21, 2011): Indianapolis
Business Journal reports on S&G client St. John United
Church of Christ’s lawsuit challenging the historic
landmark designation of its church building:
settlement in a federal lawsuit filed last September
against the city by St. John United Church of
Christ gives parties in the case six months to
find a buyer for the nearly 100-year-old church
at the northeast corner of Washington Street and
German Church Road. . . . The church planned to
use the proceeds of the sale to build a $3 million
church at Prospect Street and Carroll Road that
would have the amenities necessary to boost membership
and lift the church out of financial distress.
The shrinking congregation said it lacked the
means to pay for $1.3 million in utility bills,
maintenance and capital projects needed at the
“There is a presumptive settlement under
which the church could sell its property and build
elsewhere and the preservationists could save
the building,” said Roman P. Storzer, an
attorney with Storzer & Greene, a Washington,
D.C.-based firm that represents the church. The
firm specializes in religious land-use cases.
“The church is working in good faith to
find a solution that works for everybody.”
Storzer said either party could revive the case,
filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis,
within a year if the dispute isn’t resolved.
. . .
The clock started ticking on the settlement in
April. If after six months there is no resolution,
the city agreed in the settlement to begin the
process of lifting the historic designation.
Tom Harton, "Tentative
settlement reached in lawsuit over historic church,”
Indianapolis Business Journal (June 21, 2011)
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 24, 2011): Renowned architect
to design S&G client Third Church of Christ, Scientist’s
new church building:
A.M. Stern Architects of New York has been named
by developers ICG Properties and the JBG Cos.
to design a 160,000-square-foot office building
and a new place of worship for the Third Church
of Christ, Scientist to replace the current building,
an example of the Brutalist architecture movement
of the 1960s. . . . With such a high-profile choice,
the developers are hoping to move the conversation
away from what might be lost when the existing
church is torn down and toward what might be gained
when the building is replaced.
J. O’Connell, “Robert
A.M. Stern to design 16th Street church project."Washington
Post (April 24, 2011).
Baltimore, Md. (Feb. 14, 2011): Media coverage of the
Riverdale Baptist Church trial:
locality attempts to block Christian school,”
Virginia Lawyers Weekly (Feb. 14, 2011)
was heard by a 10-person jury from Nov. through
Nov. 18, 2010. The parties agreed to settle the
case on Nov. 18 for $3,250,000. Defendants admitted
to substantially burdening the plaintiffs’
religious exercise through the particular application
of its laws and policies to plaintiff without
a compelling governmental interest and without
using the least restrictive means of furthering
any such interest, and to unconstitutionally targeting
the church by passing legislation aimed only at
the church. As part of the settlement, defendants
also agreed to allow the church to build a school
twice the size of the one originally requested
on the property.
Madison, Wisc. (Mar. 29, 2011): More media coverage
of Eagle Cove Bible Camp’s lawsuit:
judge has rejected the town of Woodboro's motion
to dismiss a lawsuit involving Oneida County,
the town of Woodboro and three brothers who want
to build a Bible Camp on Squash Lake. In a 20-page
decision filed March 24, U.S. District Judge William
Conley ruled the case will go forward in federal
court. Last April, the town filed a motion to
dismiss the case on the grounds the appropriate
venue for the lawsuit is the circuit court, the
judicial body that ordinarily reviews decisions
of county boards of adjustment, not the federal
court. Conley soundly rejected the argument.
" Motion to dismiss Bible Camp lawsuit denied,”
Northwoods River News (Mar. 26, 2011)
H. Schaefer, “Experts
weigh in on Bible camp case,” Northwoods
River News (Mar. 29, 2011)
Madison, Wisc. (Mar. 24, 2011): U.S. District
Court rules against Town in Bible Camp case
judge in a March 24, 2011 ruling has denied the
Town of Woodboro's motion to dismiss the case
. . . . The plaintiffs – brothers Arthur,
Randall and Wesley Jaros, who are principals of
Eagle Cove Camp & Conference Center, Inc.
and long-time county residents and property owners
– are suing the Town of Woodboro and Oneida
County over denials of a permit to build a Bible
camp on 34 acres of land on the western end of
J. Costanza, “U.S.
judge denies Oneida County town's motion to dismiss Bible
camp lawsuit,” News of the North,
(Mar. 25, 2011)
Christianity Today (Feb. 28, 2011):
Reporting on the Burbank, Illinois City Council action
to ban churches from building in commercial areas: “In
the case of Burbank, Mayor Harry Klein told the Chicago
Tribune, ‘It's obvious—every city likes to
see their tax base grow, that's a given.”
municipalities “clearly do not understand
what is protected under RLUIPA,” said Roman
P. Storzer, a leading RLUIPA attorney in Washington,
D.C. “It's up to the church to decide how
to exercise their religion. It's not up to the
city or county.”
Bobby Ross, Jr., “Bricks
and Moratoriums: Zoning Out Churches,” Christianity
Today (Feb. 28, 2011)
Hartford, Conn. (Feb. 18, 2011): Hartford Courant
reports on the Chabad Lubavich of Litchfield County’s
lawsuit against the Borough of Litchfield. The
Borough is challenging the constitutionality of RLUIPA:
federal courts have unanimously upheld the constitutionality
of the RLUIPA law," said Roman Storzer, a
Washington, D.C., lawyer who has represented dozens
of religious groups on land-use disputes similar
to the Chabad case. "The defendants' argument
[made by the Borough of Litchfield] sounds like
a desperate ploy to avoid the applicability of
the law. This kind of argument has never been
Rinker Buck, “U.S.
Justice Department Joins Jewish Group In Lawsuit Against
Litchfield,” Hartford Courant (Feb.
Baltimore, Md. (Nov. 29, 2010): Consent judgment
filed in Riverdale Baptist Church v. Anne Arundel
County case. In an important case protecting
the rights of religious educational institutions to be
free from discriminatory and burdensome land use regulation,
the County admits liability, allows the Church to build
a school for 450 students, and agrees to pay $3,250,000.
A copy of the consent judgment is available here.
Baltimore, Md. (Nov. 18, 2010): Anne Arundel County
agrees to settle Riverdale Baptist Church case for $3.25M:
November 18, 2010, Anne Arundel County agreed
to settle a lawsuit brought by Storzer & Greene
client Riverdale Baptist Church in federal court.
The County agreed to pay the Church $3.25 million
and permit it to build a 400+ student school on
its 57-acre property. The settlement was reached
on the 12th day of an extended jury trial in U.S.
District Court in Baltimore, Maryland.
Release can be read here.
Baltimore, Md. (Nov. 19, 2010): Media articles
on settlement of religious school litigation between Anne
Arundel County, Maryland and S&G client Riverdale
Attorney] Hodgson Thursday admitted in court that
the county - specifically the administration of
then-County Executive Janet S. Owens - targeted
the church with restrictive legislation and therefore
violated a federal law that prevents local municipalities
from blocking specific congregations from building
houses of worship. He said the admission was necessary
in light of "damaging testimony" from
people involved in the Owens administration -
perhaps most notably a former aide to Owens, Carl
settles church school lawsuit for $3.25M, Agrees to pay
Riverdale Baptist, allow construction of 440-student school,”
|Attorneys for Anne Arundel
County and the Riverdale Baptist Church reached
a $3.25 million settlement Thursday in a federal
lawsuit claiming that county zoning laws infringed
on the church's religious rights. The agreement,
reached on the 12th day of lengthy jury trial,
clears the way for the church to build a long-planned
Baptist school on 57 acres it owns near the
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian. It
also requires the county to:
that it violated a federal statute preventing
the creation of local zoning laws that impose
a "substantial burden" on religious
freedoms without compelling cause.
• Pay the plaintiffs $3.25 million in
damages and attorney fees.
• Quickly issue the
building permits required for the school.
Arundel settles religious discrimination lawsuit, County
will pay church $3.25 million and admit to violating federal
laws,” Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun.
Ind. (Sept. 23, 2010): Media coverage of lawsuit against
Indianapolis in church landmarking case:
effect of the landmarking is to seriously damage
the congregation and also virtually ensure the
building will become a ruin. There is simply no
way to preserve it, given the financial resources
of the congregation,” said Robert L. Greene,
an attorney representing the church with Washington,
D.C.-based Storzer & Greene. The firm specializes
in trying religious land-use cases nationwide.
Greg Andrews, "Church
with rich history sues to shed ‘historic’
label,” Indianapolis Business Journal
(Sept. 18, 2010)
Charlie Butts, “Church
challenges forced landmarking,” One News
Now (Sept. 23, 2010)
liberty is being pitted against historic preservation
in a federal lawsuit filed this month against
the city of Indianapolis. . . . Robert L. Greene
contends that Indianapolis officials have violated
the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act, passed in 2000 as a means of affirming
special protection for churches, synagogues, mosques
and other facilities with religious uses. "The
effect of the present designation is that they
can't really function as they should as a church,"
Bill McCleery, Historic
building constraints prompt church to sue city,”
Indianapolis Star (Sept. 27, 2010)
Indianapolis, Indiana (Sept. 10, 2010): S&G files
complaint in federal court on behalf of St. John United
Church of Christ in Cumberland, Indiana, challenging Indianapolis
landmarking of its church building.
This action effectively requires the Church
to maintain an ineffective and inefficient structureone
that it can no longer affordin perpetuity,
stated Church attorney Roman P. Storzer. This,
the Constitution and federal law do not allow.
Read the media release here
and Complaint here.
Ramapo, N.Y. (Aug. 31, 2010): New York Court of
Appeals will hear Rabbinical College tax exemption case:
The Court of Appeals will consider an Appellate
Division ruling in May that Congregation Rabbinical
College of Tartikov remains tax exempt for its
camp amid 130 acres off Routes 203 and 306. The
Appellate Division panel overruled a state Supreme
Court justice who sided with Ramapo's decision
to tax the congregation.
highest court to decide if Ramapo can tax a religious
day camp, Steve Lieberman, Journal News.
Washington, D.C. (Aug. 13, 2010): Mayor of
the District of Columbias Agent for Historic Preservation
defends decision to grant S&G client Third Church
of Christ, Scientists application to demolish church
building in D.C. Court of Appeals challenge brought by
In applying takings principles to the particular
facts here, the Mayors Agent properly took
into account that failure to grant historic-preservation
clearance would interfere with Third Churchs
reasonable expectations concerning its utilization
of the building to enable it to continue its mission
as a downtown congregation, which was vital to
its existence. Moreover, putting aside the particular
situation of Third Church, there is substantial
evidence that the building cannot feasibly be
maintained or repaired and that there are no reasonable
alternative economic uses for the building.
More information is available here
June 24, 2010 (Suffern, N.Y.): S&G media
release on Bikur Cholim Shabbos House settlement.
Read the United States Department of Justices
Freedom in Focus, highlighting Bikur
White Plains, N.Y. (June 17, 2010): S&G client
Bikur Cholim Shabbos House and United States Department
of Justice sign Consent Decrees with Village of Suffern,
New York to permit operation of an existing one-family
residence for free overnight lodging, kosher meals and
religious observance on the Sabbath and other Holy Days
for visitors or patients discharged from Good Samaritan
Hospital in Suffern:
Suffern, N.Y. (June 18, 2010): S&G client Bikur
Cholim Shabbos House settles with Village of Suffern:
A New York City suburb has settled a civil rights
lawsuit and will allow Orthodox Jews to gather
at a house near a hospital so they can visit patients
on the Sabbath without breaking their religious
The village of Suffern had denied a variance from
single-family zoning. Under the settlement, as
many as 14 people can stay overnight at the home,
known as a "Shabbos House."
The Orthodox, who typically don't drive, use electricity,
exchange money or carry objects on the Sabbath,
can drive to the residence on a Friday, before
the Sabbath begins at sundown. They can walk to
Good Samaritan Hospital during the Sabbath and
drive home after it ends. Discharged patients
can also stay there.
Jim Fitzgerald, suburb
settles suit over Jews "Shabbos House,"
Associated Press (June 17, 2010)
NY village will allow Orthodox Jews to gather at house
near hospital on Sabbath, Fox News (June
Khurram Saeed, Suffern
settles Shabbos house lawsuits with operators and feds,
Journal-News (June 18, 2010)
County Village Agrees To Permit Shabbos House
To Resolve U.S. Civil Rights Lawsuit, Vos
Iz Neias (June 17, 2010)
Union praises settlement of Bikur Cholim lawsuit,Orthodox
Union (June 18, 2010)
Release, U.S. Attorneys Office
(June 17, 2010)
room for Shabbos house,"Journal-News (June
Boulder, Colo. (May 17, 2010): Tenth Circuit Court
of Appeals rules for Rocky Mountain Christian Church in
major RLUIPA victory against Boulder County:
Contrary to the Countys claims, the district
court plainly weighed the Countys zoning
interests: the court did not agree that RMCCs
special use application violated the County Land
Use Code, and found that RMCCs statutory
right to free exercise of religion outweighed
the negative impacts of expansion on the community.
S&G, together with co-counsel Sidley Austin LLP,
filed a brief
amicus curiae supporting the Rocky Mountain Christian
Church. The brief was filed on behalf of the American
Jewish Congress, The National Council of Churches, the
Queens Federation of Churches, the General Conference
of Seventh-day Adventists, the Union of Orthodox Jewish
Congregations of America and the National Committee for
Amish Religious Freedom.
Opposing the Church were various anti-RLUIPA groups, including
the International Municipal Lawyers Association, National
League of Cities, and the American Planning Association:
The denial caught the attention of land-use experts
across the country, who were particularly surprised
that such a decision would be handed down in a
case related to Boulder County, which is known
for its rigorous land-use rules.
Countys denied appeal in church expansion garners
national attention, Laura Snyder, Daily Camera
(May 21, 2010).
Woodboro, WI (Apr. 28, 2010): Motions filed in
Bible Camp case:
The war of words in the five-year-old Bible camp
battle continues unabated with a flurry of new
paperwork totaling over 100 pages by the plaintiffs
asking the court to, among other things, dismantle
the defendants defenses and to deny the
Town of Woodboro's motion to dismiss the case.
The plaintiffs brothers Arthur, Randall
and Wesley Jaros, who are principals of Eagle
Cove Camp & Conference Center, Inc.
are suing the Town of Woodboro and Oneida County
over denials of a permit to build a Bible camp
on 34 acres of land on the western end of Squash
camp word war heats up, Joe Costanza, News of the
North (Apr. 28, 2010)
papers filed in Bible camp case, Heather Schaeffer,
Rhinelander Daily News (Apr. 30, 2010).
Madison, WI (Mar. 10, 2010 ): Eagle Cove Camp
& Conference Center files suit against Oneida County
and Town of Woodboro, challenging laws and decisions prohibiting
Bible camp use:
Christian Bible camp ministries are a vital
form of religious exercise, separate and distinct
from organized churches, states the Camp
in its Complaint. . . . Religious exercise
does not only take place in church, said
Roman P. Storzer, attorney for the Camp. Congress
specifically passed RLUIPA to protect any
exercise of religion, whether it happens
in a church, school, home or a Bible Camp. It
is not the governments job to tell believers
how and where they may worship.
(Filed Mar. 10, 2010).
(Mar. 10, 2010).
group sues Oneida County, town over permit denial,
Joe Costanza, News of the North (Mar. 10, 2010)
challenges zoning refusal for Bible camp, Howard Friedman,
Religion Clause] (Mar. 12, 2010)
filed over Bible camp, Heather Schaeffer, Rhinelander
Daily News (Mar. 11, 2010)
Cove Lawsuit, Newswatch 12] (Mar. 11, 2010)
Woodboro, WI (Feb. 11, 2010): Bible camp rejected
by Oneida County
The five-year battle over a proposed Bible camp
in the Town of Woodboro is far from over despite
a written decision by the Oneida County Board
of Adjustment issued Thursday, Feb. 11, that upholds
a July 2009 county planning and zoning department
decision to deny a conditional use permit (CUP).
. . . Heading up the fight for the plaintiffs
will be the New York City and Washington, D.C.-based
law firm, Storzer & Greene, P.L.L.C, . . .
Jaros to file
federal lawsuit against county and town over Bible camp,
News of the North (Feb. 11, 2010).
Bible camp decision in writing, Rhinelander
Daily News (Feb. 12, 2010)
Cove Camp, Newswatch 12 (Feb. 12, 2010).
Richmond, Va. (Jan. 26, 2010): Repeal of unconstitutional
ordinances set for public hearing after lawsuit filed
against Chesterfield County.
Chesterfield County is looking to repeal its
"good character" requirements for certain
business permits after a spiritual counselor filed
a lawsuit accusing the county of violating her
constitutional rights. . . . "It appears
that the county is acknowledging the constitutional
problems with their antiquated ordinances,"
said Moore-King's attorney, Roman P. Storzer.
"We are pleased that this may be remedied
soon by legislative action. It does not redress
all of the legal roadblocks faced by [Moore-King],
but it's a good start."
Wesley P. Hester, Chesterfield
looks to change good character permit laws,
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Jan. 26, 2010).
Woogy-Boogy. We do marvel at Chesterfield's
strict rules for fortune tellers, and wonder why
they're so strict. A background check? Police
permission? Why on Earth? None of the surrounding
localities has policies anywhere near so onerous,
and they do not seem to be suffering from a fortune-telling
BusinessWeek (Jan. 25, 2010).
Wesley P. Hester, Spiritual
advisor suing Chesterfield County, Richmond
Times-Dispatch (Jan. 21, 2010).
Richmond, VA (Dec. 21, 2009): Media coverage of
King v. County of Chesterfield
King claims Chesterfield County unconstitutionally
classifies her as "engaged in the occupation
of occult sciences," and subject to its business
tax and zoning rules. King says the tax is excessive
and violates her First Amendment rights. She points
out that other businesses, including itinerant
merchants and peddlers, adult businesses and nightclubs
pay significantly less in taxes.
Ryan Abbott, Courthouse
News Service, (Dec. 21, 2009)
Al Harris, Richmond
Biz Sense, (Dec. 21, 2009)
Rhinelander, WI (Dec. 1, 2009): S&G argue that RLUIPA
applies to administrative zoning proceedings:
The law firm Storzer and Greene of Washington,
D.C., and New York City also submitted a brief
on behalf of the Jaros family which said that
the BOA "has the authority and responsibility
to consider RLUIPA" and in doing so has the
authority to create an "exemption" from
the county zoning code. Referring to the town's
resistance to the project, based upon their land
use plan, Storzer and Greene warned, "the
Town's position here will subject the Board and
its members to potential liability since religious
freedom rights protected by RLUIPA are at issue.
The Board and its members do so at its own risk.
Such action would expose the Board and its members
to years of litigation, potentially millions of
dollars in damages and attorneys' fees, together
with a substantial likelihood of eventually allowing
the use regardless."
Ruth Sproull, "Bible
Camp appeal before Board of Adjustment; ruling due Jan.
12", News of the North (Dec. 7, 2009)
Jeff Allen, Eagle
Cove Bible Camp Appeal, WJFW Newswatch
12 (Dec. 2, 2009)
Heather Schaefer, No
resolution in Bible camp appeal, Rhinelander
Daily News (Dec. 2, 2009)
Richmond, Va. (Dec. 18, 2009): Complaint filed
against County of Chesterfield claiming that regulation
of fortune-tellers violates the First Amendment.
Nobody should be subject to official disadvantage
based on their spiritual beliefs, said Kings
attorney Roman P. Storzer of Storzer & Greene,
P.L.L.C. The First Amendment protects a
broad range of viewpoints, and Ms. King should
not be treated as a second-class citizen because
of hers. Mr. Storzer is joined in representing
Ms. King by John G. Stepanovich, a Chesapeake
civil rights attorney, and Chandra Lantz, of the
Richmond firm Hirschler Fleischer.
filed Dec. 18, 2009
S&G and Sidley Austin LLP file
brief amicus curiae in the Tenth Circuit Court
of Appeals supporting the Rocky Mountain Christian Church
in its litigation against Boulder County and in support
of the constitutionality of RLUIPA.
In enacting RLUIPA, Congress established a record
that recognizes the concern that giving government
officials unbridled discretion in making such
individualized assessments can, and does, lead
to discrimination and the jurys findings
below further support the legitimacy of that concern.
The brief was filed on behalf of the American Jewish
Congress, The National Council of Churches, the Queens
Federation of Churches, the General Conference of Seventh-day
Adventists, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations
of America and the National Committee for Amish Religious
Freedom. A copy of the brief can be found here.
Black River Falls, Wisc. (Sept. 29, 2009): S&G
successfully defends Amish right to refuse to submit a
signed building permit application: Wisconsin court
grants the motion of S&G client National Committee
for Amish Religious Freedom to dismiss the Town of Albion's
suit against Samuel Stoltzfus:
The court was satisfied by the briefs that were
filed in this matter that he did indeed establish
a sincerely held religious belief that prevented
him from signing a permit application. When that
occurs, the burden shifts to the township to establish
a compelling state interest from enforcing a requirement
that a permit application be submitted and signed.
. . . The court does not believe that the township
has offered a compelling governmental interest
to overcome the objection raised by Mr. Stolzfus
on religious grounds.
This case of constitutional dimension is a case
probably not only important to our community and
our county and and the State of Wisconsin,
it is probably a case that has potential for national
of September 29, 2009 Hearing, Jackson County Circuit
Washington, D.C. (July 2009): United States
Department of Justices Religious Freedom in
Focus highlights the Bikur Cholim Shabbos House
On June 25, a federal court in New York ruled
that the [lawsuit] under the Religious Land Use
and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) should
proceed to trial against a village that barred
a Jewish group from operating a Shabbos
House next to a hospital. . . . The court
rejected the Villages argument that facilitating
visiting the sick on the Sabbath was not religious
exercise for purposes of triggering the
protections of RLUIPA. The court held that religious
exercise under RLUIPA is intended to
be defined broadly, and covers most
activity that is tied to a religious groups
mission. Thus, the court held, Bikur Cholims
facilitation of Sabbath observance for Jews visiting
the hospital or being discharged from the hospital
constitutes religious exercise under the statute.
House Suit May Proceed, Court Rules, U.S. Department
of Justice, Civil Rights Divisions Religious
Freedom Focus (Vol. 39). Storzer & Greene represents
the Shabbos House and is litigating the case against the
Village of Suffern together with the Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorneys
office for the Southern District of New York.
White Plains, N.Y. (June 24, 2009): Judge refuses
to dismiss Shabbos House case. The federal court for
the Southern District of New York held that
It has the power and authority, if appropriate,
to enjoin defendant from enforcing its Zoning
Law and requiring it to revise the Zoning Law
to comply with RLUIPA and relevant constitutional
See the attached opinion.
S&Gs Media Release here.
For more information, see the following:
James Walsh, "Suffern
Shabbos House dispute may need a trial to get answers,
Journal News (July 3, 2009).
A trial appears likely in the four-year dispute
between the village and the operators of a house
used by observant Jews visiting patients at Good
Samaritan Hospital.... Savad and Roman Storzer,
a Manhattan attorney also representing Bikur Cholim,
cited the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act of 2000, or RLUIPA, as their protection
against discrimination. Storzer also represents
five other individuals suing Suffern, citing RLUIPA
in opposing the village. They claimed their practice
of religion was burdened by having to choose between
observing the sabbath and holidays or visiting
the sick at the hospital.
Refuses to Dismiss RLUIPA Challenge to Shabbos House,
Religion Clause (June 30, 2009).
White Plains, N.Y. (May 20, 2009): Rabbinical College
lawsuit against Village of Pomona argument heard in federal
Attorneys representing Pomona village and a developer
of a planned rabbinical college had their first
face-off yesterday afternoon before a U.S. District
Court judge. Congregation Rabbinical College of
Tartikov sued the village in July 2007, arguing
that Pomona's land-use regulation and conduct
prohibited it from building and operating the
college and housing for students on a 130-acre
site off routes 202 and 306. . .
Roman P. Storzer, attorney for the developer,
told the judge that the village's actions have
been discriminatory against Hasidic Jewish students,
who simply wish to enjoy their rights to study
Tartikov developer clash before federal judge,
2 Journal-News (May 21, 2009).
Washington, D.C. (May 18, 2009): Victory for S&G client
Third Church of Christ; Brutalist building may be demolished
Score one for the little guy: Mayor Adrian Fenty's
representative has ruled that members of a downtown
church must be allowed to worship in a building
of their choice, despite efforts by historic preservationists
to landmark the 38-year-old concrete bunker of
a sanctuary that the church wants to get rid of.
Marc Fisher, Decision
Saves a Church, Not a Building," Washington
Post (May 19, 2009).
Press Release, Church
cleared for demolition: Building goes so Church can survive,
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (May 13, 2009).
Modernist church can be demolished, USA Today
(May 18, 2009).
OKs demolition of Christian Science Church,
Washington Business Journal (May 13, 2009).
D.C. church wins fight to raze its ugly building,The
Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life (May 13, 2009).
Hayley Peterson, Demolition
OKd for historic church after maintenance found
too costly, Washington Examiner (May
Bridgewater Township, N.J. (May 9, 2009): Hindu Temple
and Cultural Center Notice
of Decision published, Courier News.
Washington, D.C. (May 12, 2009): District of Columbia
Mayors Agent Approves Church Demolition
Nor can the Church walk away. While some congregations
may freely move their location without losing
their identity, that is not the case here. Throughout
its history, this congregation has manifested
an unwavering intent to remain where it is. Its
location is its mission. To leave the area it
has served since 1918 would be tantamount to its
and Order, District of Columbia Office of Planning,
Historic Preservation Office.
Bridgewater, N.J. (May 3, 2009):
After long legal battle, Hindu temple in Bridgewater
wins expansion approval
After a five-year battle with the Bridgewater
zoning board, the Sri Venkateswara Hindu Temple
has won approval for a major expansion of its
facility, despite resistance from the township
and neighboring residents.
The Sri Venkateswara Temple retained Storzer &
Greene -- a high-profile, Washington law firm
that specializes in religious land-use cases throughout
the United States -- and filed a lawsuit in 2007.
Giambusso, The Star-Ledger (May 3, 2009)
Bridgewater, N.J. (April 29, 2009): Hindu Temple
and Cultural Center to build cultural center, priest housing,
This is an important day for religious
freedom, said Temple attorney Roman P. Storzer.
The efforts of both the Temple and the Township
have led to a result that works for everyone.
Our clients have long awaited this moment to serve
The Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of USA has
the Board of Adjustment go-ahead to expand, ending
a five-year standoff on the project. The Board
of Adjustment unanimously approved a resolution
outlining the conditions of the project at Route
202-206 and Old Farm Road during a meeting Tuesday
Read S&Gs media release here.
Read more information here.
Westchester County, N.Y. (April 13, 2009): Lawsuit
involving shaving of Sikh man settled:
United Sikhs and law firm Storzer & Greene
secured a settlement including $20,000 in compensation
for Pyara Singhs family, training for the
facilities staff, and adoption of hospital
care guidelines specific for the care of Sikh
patients as part of the staff training materials.
We applaud the willingness of Westchester
County Health Care to accommodate the religious
needs of Sikh patients, said First Amendment
attorney Roman P. Storzer. When people are
at their most vulnerable, its important
to know that the First Amendment doesnt
get lost in the process.
Amandeep Kaur, Healthcare
facility settles lawsuit over shaving of elderly Sikh
man, Global Sikh News (Apr. 13,
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 13, 2009): Washington Post column
on Third Church landmarking suit:
The years-long battle over whether the District's
historic preservation police can force a Christian
Science church to keep a ugly, cold, expensive
home that it doesn't want took a turn toward the
church's side the other day, as a federal judge
made clear his sympathy for the church's plight.
. . . He seemed highly skeptical of the city's
that a religious organization's right to freedom
of expression does not protect its building from
demolition. "Arguing that historic landmarking
posed no burden on the church blinks reality,"
the judge said. . . . "A violation of First
Amendment rights is always ripe" material
for a court to consider, Robertson said, a blow
to the District's argument that preservation decisions
should be made purely on architectural and historical
merit--not the preferences or freedoms of a church
or other group that owns such a building.
"Brutalist Church: The City Loses A Round,"
Washington Post (Apr. 13, 2009).
Washington, D.C. (April 7, 2009): Federal
court refuses to dismiss Third Church of Christ, Scientists
lawsuit against District of Columbia.
D.C--only a few blocks from the White House--presents
a ripe case and controversy for federal adjudication under
the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Religious Land
Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and the First Amendment.
The District of Columbia and the Districts Historic
Preservation Review Board had unsuccessfully argued that
landmarking a structure itself causes no legal injury
to a religious property owner.
Storzer, lead counsel for the Church, argued that
the landmarking of its structure at the corner of
16th and Eye Streets in Washington,
The issue before the court is whether landmarking
the structure violates the church's First Amendment
rights. And according to [Mike] Silverstein, Judge
Robertson clearly signaled his willingness to
overturn the Metropolitan Baptist Church case
holding that landmarking of a church does not
pose a "special burden". Robertson also
criticized the HPRB hearing which denied the raze
permit, where Chairman Tersh Boasberg dismissed
First Amendment issues as being beyond the scope
of the Board's purview. "I am very troubled
that the District refused to even entertain assertions
of violations of First Amendment, RLUIPA and RFRA
rights," Robertson said.
David Alpert, Greater
Greater Washington (April 9, 2009).
denies DCs request to dismiss Churchs lawsuit
to raze Brutalist building, The Becket Fund
for Religious Liberty Press Release (Apr. 7, 2009).
Baltimore, Md. (Mar. 12, 2009): Religious land use
discrimination case moves forward
Citizens for Walkersville is a grassroots group
that organized opposition to the Muslim group's
plans, and dominated public testimony during appeals
board hearings in January and February 2008. It
was led by Ed Marino of Walkersville, who served
as president, and Steven R. Berryman of Frederick,
who served as spokesman. The attorney for Citizens
of Walkersville, Robert R. McGill, motioned for
a universal dismissal of the case. Bennett denied
text here, Business Gazette.
Virginia Beach, Va. (March 17, 2009):
Buddhists will continue worship services in Virginia Beach;
settlement with City reached:
The city and a group of Buddhist monks have reached
a tentative settlement that would allow them to
continue holding worship services in their Pungo
home. "We've accomplished our objective,"
said John Stepanovich, the attorney for the Buddhist
Education Center of America Inc. "It was
always about the continued religious service."
S&G represented the Buddhist Education Center of America,
Inc. and several Buddhist monks, together with Virginia
Beach attorney John G. Stepanovich.
Beach, Buddhist monks agree on home worship,
Deirdre Fernandes, The Virginian-Pilot (Mar. 17,
Baltimore, Md. (March 6, 2009): Federal court
denies the majority of the Town of Walkersville's Motion
to Dismiss; Town officials, private organization and individuals
remain defendants in discrimination case:
The Government Defendants have not met their
burden of establishing that they are entitled
to immunity for the alleged constitutional violations.
They have not argued with any particularity that
the alleged constitutional or statutory violations
were not clearly established at the time they
occurred, or that an objectively reasonable person
would not have known that his actions violated
that person's clearly established rights...
Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint pleads ample facts
to support their contention that the Private Defendants
joined with the Government Defendants to block
the sale of the Moxley Farm to the AMC.
S&G's Press Release is available here.
A copy of the court's opinion can be found here.
"Discrimination Suit Can Advance, Henri
E. Cauvin, Washington Post (March 7, 2009).
moves Moxley v. Walkersville case ahead, Ron
Cassie, Frederick News Post (March 7, 2009).
Baltimore, Md. (February 27, 2009): Roman Storzer
defended the lawsuit involving Walkersville's denial of
the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's special exception to
build a mosque on a 200+ acre property against the Walkersville
and private defendants' motions to dismiss in a hearing
in United States District Court in Baltimore. The court
is expected to rule on the motion by Friday, March 6.
A key early motion presented by the defense to
Judge Richard D. Bennett seeks to remove the Walkersville
burgess, town commissions andmembers of the board
of appeals from the suit as individuals -- apart
from their official roles.
Storzer remained encouraged after the first day
both parties were in court. Asked if he thought
Bennett would rule in favor of allowing the burgess,
commissioners, and appeals board members to remain
defendants as individuals, Storzer commented,
"We're very hopeful."
For further reading please visit the link below:
bias suit begins in U.S. District Court,
Ron Cassie, Frederick News Post (March 2, 2009).
White Plains, N.Y. (March 10, 2009): Mr. Storzer,
together with co-counsel Paul Savad and John Stepanovich,
will defend the Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov's
lawsuit against the Village of Pomona, New York. The College's
The history described [in the complaint], including
the targeted laws, actions and conduct, and the
statements made by public officials including
the newly elected Mayor Sanderson, demonstrate
the entrenched hostility to the Plaintiffs' use
of the Subject Property as a Rabbinical College.
The hearing before the Honorable Judge Kenneth M.
Karas in the Southern District of New York was postponed
from February 10.
Yeshiva Dispute Returns To Court Next Week,"
Yeshiva World News (Feb. 1, 2009).
NY - Tartikov Town Dispute Back in Court," Voz
Iz Neias (Feb. 1, 2009).
Baltimore, Md. (February 27, 2009): The Town of Walkersville's
motion to dismiss the complaint filed against it, challenging
its land use policies and enforcement concerning the Ahmadiyya
Muslim Community, will be heard on February 27, 2009 in
federal district court for the District of Maryland.
Washington, D.C. (February 6, 2009): S&G
files Amicus Curiae brief on behalf of the Friends
Committee on National Legislation, the Stated Clerk of
the Presbyterian Church USA, the Presiding Bishop of the
Episcopal Church, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious,
the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom, and
the Rutherford Institute. In a case involving the desecration
of a site holy to Native Americans, the brief argues that
the Ninth Circuit incorrectly defined "substantial
burdens" on religious practice and drastically limited
the scope of statutory protections of religious freedom.
A copy of the brief is available here
Storzer & Greene's press release can be found here
The Petition for a Writ of Certiorari is available here
For further reading, visit the links below:
& Environmental Groups Petition Supreme Court in Appeal
to Protect Religious Freedom & Environmental Integrity
of Sacred Mountain," Klee Benally, Save the Peaks
Coalition (January 6, 2009)
Francisco Peaks," Amy Corbin, Sacred Land Film
Project (August 2007)
New York, NY (November 26, 2008): Federal Court
of Appeals upholds right of congregation to build a religious
school under settlement reached with the Village of Airmont,
The defendants assert that inasmuch as the settlement
and order were contrary to state law, they were
void and should be vacated because they violated
the defendants' due process rights. They contend
that the settlement violates state law because
it allows the plaintiffs to build a residential
school that is not permitted under the Village
of Airmont's zoning code. . . . None of these
cases, nor any other of which we are aware, stands
for the proposition that a court-ordered settlement
agreement that is contrary to zoning or similar
laws violates a party's due-process rights and
is therefore subject to attack under Rule 60(b)(4)
Renowned civil rights attorney John G. Stepanovich
argued the case for the Congregation Mischknois Lavier,
with assistance from S&G. The opinion can be found
In the related case brought by the United States Department
of Justice against the Village, the District Court rejected
the Villages motion to dismiss the United States
complaint, decision here.
See also the United States Department of Justice Civil
Rights Divisions Religious
Freedom in Focus, Vol. 36 (Nov.
Grand Rapids, Michigan (October 30,
2008): S&G Client Great Lakes Society vindicated by
Michigan Court of Appeals in landmark case challenging
a townships determination that a non-mainstream
church was not a church:
Already over half a century ago, the Court of
Appeals of New York handed down an often cited
summary of what constitutes a church in contemporary
society: A church is more than merely an
edifice affording people the opportunity to worship
God. Strictly religious uses and activities are
more than prayer and sacrifice and all churches
recognize that the area of their responsibility
is broader than leading the congregation in prayer.
Churches have always developed social groups for
adults and youth where the fellowship of the congregation
is strengthened with the result that the parent
church is strengthened . . .
Read the opinion here.
Now that the townships wrongful determination has
been corrected, the Great Lakes Societys pursuit
of legal remedy continues.
Wall Street Journal column on S&G landmarking
The congregation, which bitterly opposed landmark
designation in December 2007, filed a federal
lawsuit this August arguing that the designation
violated its First Amendment rights by restraining
its ability to practice religion freely. . . .
[T]his case is more outrageous than the norm,
given the structure in question. Most such controversies
swirl around church properties of a certain age,
as when, in 1981, St. Bartholomew's Church on
Park Avenue in New York sought, in vain, to demolish
its lovely community house in order to build a
modernist tower alongside its renowned Byzantine
church, constructed in 1916. The Third Church's
building, by contrast, is relatively new -- indeed,
too new to be designated historic under federal
Julia Vitullo-Martin, "A
Congregation Fights for the Right to Raze Its Ugly Church,
Wall Street Journal Nov. 20, 2008. More
information about the Third Church and its lawsuit can
be found here
Trial, Journal of the American Association for
Justice, writes about the Congregation Rabbinical
College of Tartikovs attempt to build a religious
This case presents a really clear set of circumstances,"
said Roman Storzer, a Washington, D.C., lawyer
who is co-counsel for the rabbinical college involved.
"It shows a substantial burden being placed
on a particular faith group and is a perfect case
for the equal-terms provision of [RLUIPA]. It
is an emblematic case of why Congress passed the
statute." . . . "This represents a boiling-over
point for Rockland County," said Storzer.
"There has been a large influx of [Hasidic
Jews] into the county, who have a very different
lifestyle, form of worship, and form of education.
The backlash began in the '90s and the discrimination
wrangle with religion over zoning laws, Carmel Sileo,
Walkersville, Md. (August 28, 2008): Walkersville
Commissioner proposes to amend ordinance to permit school
on agricultural land; AMC mosque still prohibited:
Town Commissioner Chad Weddle said Wednesday
he could see how some might view his recent proposal
to amend a planning ordinance as discriminatory,
but his intentions are only to better the community.
. . .
Roman P. Storzer, an attorney for Moxley, said
he applauds local governments that accommodate
schools and other social institutions, though
he wishes the same benefits would have been offered
to the Muslim group.
would allow Banner School in Walkersville -- Change would
still block Muslim community, Sarah Fortney, Frederick
Richmond, Va. (August 29, 2008): The Richmond
Times-Dispatchs editorial on S&G client
Third Church of Christs lawsuit against the District
of Columbia: The District of Columbia and the Commonwealth
of Virginia need to stop brutalizing the sacred sphere.
Washington, D.C. (Aug. 21, 2008): NPRs
story on the Third Church of Christs challenge to
the landmarking of its place of worship by the District
of Columbia can be found here
D.C. (August 7, 2008):
S&G client Third Church of Christ, Scientist
files suit against the District of Columbia for
landmarking its church building. Read our press
Lead counsel Roman Storzer said the church is
suing to remove the landmark status so it can
build a new building in its place. Storzer claimed
that the landmark restrictions are in violation
of federal civil rights law about religious land
use as well as the First Amendments guarantees
for freedom of worship.
In the hierarchy of values that should
be protected, freedom of religion has to come
before architecture, Storzer said.
files suit to allow demolition of historic downtown
building, Michael Warren, D.C. Examiner (Aug.
"It will be the first of its kind in terms
of the ability of a government to prevent a church
from being able to worship as it sees fit through
the imposition of historic preservation laws,"
says Roman Storzer, the church's attorney who
filed the lawsuit.
fights for right to tear down church, Adam Tuss,
WTOP News (Aug. 7, 2008).
sues over landmark status, Sarah Abruzzese, New
York Times (Aug. 7, 2008).
sues do undo landmark status, Sindya Bhanoo, Washington
Post (Aug. 8, 2008).
sues District over landmark, Tom Ramstack, Washington
Times (Aug. 8, 2008).
Brief Filed in Wisconsin For National Committee
for Amish Religious Freedom.
Black River Falls, Wisconsin June 23, 2008:
Storzer & Greene and Black River Falls attorney,
Ken Artis, today filed a brief seeking to have the National
Committee for Amish Religious Freedom intervene in a
case in which the town of Albion, Wisconsin, is seeking
fines ranging from $25.00 to $1,000.00 per day from
an Amish farmer who did not obtain a building permit
for his home, a house which he built according to Amish
According to the brief, the Committee will attempt
to intervene in the case to protect the right
of religious freedom for the Amish under both
the Wisconsin and the United States Constitution.
Greene, the attorney representing the Committee,
said[,] "This is a value of the very highest
farmer may get national legal help in permit case,
Megan VerHelst, Jackson County Chronicle (July
Walkersville, MD. (June 10, 2008): A Muslim
group was unanimously denied the ability to use 224 acres
of farmland intended as a mosque and for their annual
Jalsa Salana event; various remedies are available to
landowner David Moxley.
It is a "sad, sad situation," when
Ahmadiyya members are not allowed to worship freely
in America; many moved from their native countries
to escape the same persecution for their beliefs.
Moxley could also take the case to federal court
to deal with potential civil rights violations,
Storzer said. That option would seek enforcement
of the religious freedom protections in the federal
and Maryland constitutions and the Religious Land
Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
For further reading please visit the links below:
It's official: Walkersville formally denies Muslim group,
Sarah Fortney, Frederick News Post (June 6, 2008)
in Ahmadiyya decision considers appeal, Sarah Fortney,
Frederick News Post
(June 7, 2008)
Officially Denies Muslim Farm Purchase; Attorneys May
Appeal, Megan Healey, NBC25
(June 5, 2008)
New York, NY (May 30, 2008): Storzer & Greene
to defend religious liberty of Amish.
S&G has been retained by the National Committee
for Amish Religious Freedom to defend the rights
of the Amish to follow their religious beliefs
in the construction of homes and farm buildings.
The Town of Albion, located in Jackson County,
Wisconsin, has sued several Amish men for an assortment
of alleged building code violations. The Old Order
Amish have a religious code that emphasizes simplicity,
the imitation of Christ and his disciples and
separation from outside society.
The National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom
has a long history of defending the rights of
the Amish to exercise their religion freely. Since
many Amish believe that their religion requires
them to turn the other cheek when they are subjected
to persecution or legal harassment, the Committee
organizes legal defense. It was instrumental in
the seminal victory for religious rights, Wisconsin
v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), as well as
many other significant cases.
Frederick, Md. (May 29, 2008): Walkersvilles
written decision prohibiting a small group of Muslims
from building a mosque in suburban Maryland is expected
on Muslim retreat center due June 5, Jeremy Hauck,
Gazette (May 29, 2008).
Greenbelt, Md. (May 14, 2008): Bethel World
Outreach Ministries challenges County actions against
This church had a very substantial need for
a facility that can accommodate its various ministries,
and it purchased property in a zoning district
that allowed places of worship and has been prevented
from building its church by various means ever
since, said Roman P. Storzer, the churchs
Kearney, The Daily Record (May 14, 2008).
Bridgewater, N.J. (Mar. 26, 2008): Bridgewater
zoning board of adjustment approves memorandum of understanding
with S&G client Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of
Although it is unfortunate that the Temple was
forced to seek redress in the courts, a just result
will hopefully be reached soon, said Temple
attorney Roman P. Storzer. The Temple looks
forward to being able to provide religious programs
to its members, to co-exist harmoniously with
its neighbors, and to put this four-year saga
For further information, see our press
temple expansion in Bridgewater may be allowed, Ralph
Ortega, The Star-Ledger (March 26, 2008).
New City, NY (Mar. 18, 2008): Roman Storzer
to testify before the Rockland County legislature, joined
by co-counsel Paul Savad and John Stepanovich, criticizing
a Resolution calling upon the United States Congress to
review the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons
Act of 2000.
Zoning laws have been used in the County time
and time again to discriminate against and burden
the religious exercise of an identifiable group
that constitutes a substantial minority of the
population: Hasidic Jews. In that respect, Rockland
County is different in my experience from any
other county in the country. This specific demographic,
with their unique culture, worship and education,
often clashes with the rest of the population
and land use goals. All too often, the response
is that if their way of life is different, they
should go elsewhere. RLUIPA should not be used
as a sword, some say, since it was meant as a
shield. This kind of hyperbole is not helpful.
Either religious exercise is protected or it is
not. . . . .
I urge you to consider the implications for all
of the citizens of Rockland County if this Resolution
passes. If it does, we will make sure that Congress
is also informed about whats really going
on in Rockland, and why RLUIPA is so necessary.
Read Mr. Storzers testimony
Read the Journal News article
Lansing, Michigan, (Mar. 9, 2008): Michigan
church petitions Supreme Court for review:
But what constitutes a "substantial burden"
is up for debate, said Roman Storzer, a Washington
D.C.-based lawyer with his own firm that represents
religious groups across the country. "Churches
and mosques and synagogues occupy a special place
in our society," he said. "When you
have disasters or there is a need, they open their
doors. They provide social services to the needy,
and they are a great benefit to society. In return,
for many, many decades, municipalities have reciprocated
by granting them leeway in regard to zoning issues."
But the climate regarding development has changed.
Today, "people are opposed to development
of any kind near them," Storzer said. The
law [RLUIPA], he said, gives religious communities
an opportunity to challenge zoning decisions and
requires municipalities to "give a real reason
for the denial."
Okemos church case heads to top U.S. court, Kathleen
Lavey, Lansing State Journal.
Washington, D.C.: The Washington Post reports
on a Calvert County church's legal victory:
In a test of wills, church vs. state, the church
wins the first round. . . . "The government
needs a very good reason to shut down a church,"
said Roman P. Storzer, a District lawyer who represents
religious organizations in religious land-use
Rejects Attempt to Close Huntingtown Church Pantry, Center,
Christy Goodman, Washington Post C4 (Mar. 2, 2008).
Response to Walkersville Editorial:
Your Feb. 13 editorial ("Let it be")
recommends that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
and David Moxley give up in their attempt to use
the 224-acre parcel in Walkersville as a mosque
for a few dozen families and their annual Jalsa
Salana event. . . . Are our fundamental freedoms
so cheap that they can be set aside because it
may take a few minutes longer to get home from
work once a year? . . . Who actually believes
that the introduction of an amendment banning
places ofworship from the agricultural zone two
days after the AMC's presentation was mere coincidence?
The Constitution and civil rights laws protect
the AMC and all of us against actions like these,
just as they protect all of us from denials of
other fundamental rights. Should it have been
said that African-Americans being denied the vote
"let it be?" Or that women denied job
opportunities should "let it be?" Or
that disabled individuals denied access to government
buildings should "let it be?"
Roman Storzer, Frederick News Post (Feb. 24, 2008).
Baltimore, Md (Feb. 18, 2008): The Daily Record
reports on religious institutions and zoning laws:
Roman P. Storzer, a Washington, D.C., lawyer
who represents religious groups in RLUIPA litigation,
said he believes Maryland has seen few cases because
it is a relatively densely populated state. City-dwellers
tend to be used to diversity and more tolerant
of minority religions, he said.
I think that exhibits a general tolerance
toward religious institutions in this state, and
in most cases towns and counties realize the importance
of religion and religious institutions in public
life and treat them with respect, said Storzer,
of Storzer & Greene PLLC. There are,
of course, exceptions.
In those cases,
its good that there are constitutional and
statutory protections that prevent discrimination
and burdensome restriction
The other interesting thing is that in the
great majority of these cases, my clients are
Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, exactly the kind
of minority that have been targeted in the past
and the reason Congress passed this legislation,
he said. Thats indicative of the fact
that there truly is discrimination going on.
institutions claim federal law trumps local zoning and
land-use codes, Caryn Tamber, The Daily Record.
Lawrence, N.Y. (Feb. 14, 2008): Another RLUIPA
success story for S&G client:
So, disagreements over new shuls still do arise
and need to be resolved. To that end, last week
the zoning board of the Village of Lawrenceafter
months of analysis, deliberation, and consultation
on the matterconsented to allow a new shul,
Congregation Heichel Dovid, to shortly begin functioning
on a daily basis. The shul had previously been
granted permission to operate on Shabbos and yom
tov as well as on several additional days on the
New Shul Story, Larry Gordon, 5 Towns Jewish
Walkersville, Md. (Feb. 13, 2008): Local paper
editorializes on AMC project:
We have suggested earlier that there may well
be some anti-Muslim sentiment in Walkersville.
That would not make Walkersville any different
than many, if not most, other places
Storzer says a challenge to the decision could
be made on federal and state constitutional issues
or via the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act. Perhaps, but even if the AMC were
able to successfully challenge the zoning board
ruling, we believe, after all that has transpired,
that it would be a flawed decision for them to
move forward with their plans for this religious
it be, Frederick News Post
Washington, D.C. (Feb. 8, 2008): The Washington
Post reports on the AMC conflict:
"This conflict has been defined from day
one by a desire to keep a Muslim group out of
the area," attorney Roman Storzer said in
It is unconstitutional to make land-use decisions
on religious or racial grounds, so the town could
deny the sect's proposal only if it identified
legitimate concerns about traffic, infrastructure
Town Board Rejects Mosque Plan, Philip Rucker.
attorney considering legal options, Gina Gallucci,
Frederick News Post.
votes to ban Muslim development, David Dishneau, Washington
Calls Maryland Town's Decision to Bar Muslim Group From
Gatherings 'Discriminatory', Fox News.
Lawrence, N.Y. (Feb. 8, 2008): The Village
of Lawrence, New York, granted S&G client Congregation
Heichel Dovid a variance for its synagogue over the objections
of organized community opposition. As this Firm informed
The denial of the parking variance, or the limitation
of the parking variance only to Sabbath services
and Holy Day observance, would violate the Congregations
rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments
to the United States Constitution, the New York
Constitution, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), and
New Yorks civil rights statutes. Such action
would expose the Village to years of litigation,
potentially millions of dollars in damages and
attorneys fees, together with a substantial
likelihood of eventually allowing the use.
Walkersville, Md. (Feb. 7, 2008): Walkersville Board
of Appeals rejects Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's application:
On February 7, 2008, the Walkersville Board
of Appeals rejected the application of the Ahmadiyya
Muslim Community ("AMC") to use a 224-acreparcel
of land as a place of worship In agriculturally
zoned land that permits such uses by special exception.
The Board's deliberations suggested that it was
adopting a position that locating on Route 194
was inappropriate for the mosque, even though
the State Highway Administration did not list
any objections to the plan.
"The Board's decision is both irrational
and discriminatory," said attorney Roman
Storzer. "Irrational because the suggestion
that locating on a smaller country road is better
than a major arterial makes no sense from a land
use perspective. Discriminatory because this conflict
has been defined from day one by a desire to keep
a Muslim group out of the area."
Release (Feb. 7, 2008); Walkersville
Board Votes Down Muslim Recreation Center,
(Feb. 7, 2008)
Walkersville, Md (Feb. 7, 2008): S&G informs
Town of implications of religious freedom law if it excludes
David W. Moxley, owner of the Nicodemus Farm,
has retained the services of Storzer and Greene,
a New York and Washington, D.C. firm that specializes
in the statute, known as RLUIPA. Storzer outlined
the statute for the board on Jan. 15, and the
appeals board on Jan. 16 asked for an
in-depth workshop from O'Connor.
One aspect of the statute that Storzer spelled
out, called the "equal terms" provision,
states that governments cannot treat non-religious
more favorably than religious gatherings. "The
entire focus of this hearing has been on the one
weekend a year event," Storzer said. "And
we all know the town has other large events that
are hosted here annually."
session expected on center, Jeremy Hauck,
The Gazette (Jan. 24, 2008).
The valiant efforts of those who want to keep
the Muslims out may not count for much in the
end. Moxley attorney Roman Storzer cited case
after case to support his arguments, including
Marks v City of Chesapeake, where a court
held that a local government "may not adopt
the discriminatory biases of their residential
Which is, in part, why residents carefully sidestepped
the talk of Muslims, talk that figured prominently
in earlier discussions.
Since opponents organized into the for-profit
Citizens of Walkersville and procured the talents
of a local disability rights lawyer, they've toned
down the rhetoric, but too little too late. Their
choice of spokesperson doesn't bode well for their
image, either. Spotlight-loving Steve Berryman,
a Dearbought resident with children in Walkersville
schools, is not shy about taking credit for the
bloviated anti-Muslim creeds, and photos of hishome-security
gun collection that he publishes on the web...
Walkersville's not so different from other small
towns feeling invaded by immigrants and overdevelopment.
When fear of the unknown is added to the mix,
especially one that walks and talks like our country's
sworn enemy, some opposition is inevitable.
But that doesn't make it right.
'M-word', Katherine Heerbrandt, Frederick
News Post (Jan. 23, 2008).
Bridgewater, N.J.: The Star-Ledger reports
Hindu Temple and Cultural Center litigation:
A plan to significantly expand the temple's
complex, located off Route 206 at Old Farm Road,
has been stalled before the township board ofadjustment
for nearly four years. The most controversial
element of the plan, a bid to more than double
the size of the temple's 9,800-square-foot cultural
center, has been rejected by the board three times.
The temple has argued the cultural center is
integral to the practice of Hinduism. In July
2007, the temple [represented by S&G] filed
a federal case claiming violations of the First
and 14th Amendments, as well as the Religious
Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
Under the terms of the proposed agreement, the
temple would be allowed to build a 20,500-square-foot
cultural center, but would have to agree to a
10-year moratorium on expansion.
"Hindu temple close to settling suit", Page
The Star-Ledger (Jan. 29, 2008).
White Plains, N.Y. (Jan. 26, 2008): Congregation opposes
Village of Pomona's motion to dismiss lawsuit:
The congregation's response, filed last week,
says that the village's motion to dismiss is an
effort to direct the court's attention away from
its complaint, ignoring "the true undercurrent
of what is happening in Pomona, where a new administration
was elected on a platform ofkeeping the plaintiffs
out of the 'close knit community.'"
One of the village's arguments in asking the
judge to dismiss the case was that the congregation
rushed into court to file the lawsuit without
tryingto use available avenues under the village's
In the opposition filing, the congregation disagreed
with the argument, saying the village is telling
Tartikov to "apply for administrative relief
that doesn't exist." "This case is about
the plaintiff's right to live in a community free
from discriminatory, burdensome, and unreasonableregulations,
and free to engage in their constitutionally protected
religious speech, worship, and education,"
the document stated.
college asks judge to keep suit against Pomona alive,
Akiko Matsuda, The Journal News
(Jan. 26, 2008).
Professor Patricia E. Salkin's (Director of
the Government Law Center of Albany Law School) take on
the federal court's decision in favor of S&G client
Albanian Associated Fund against the Township of Wayne,
N.J. on its attempt "taking" of the AAF's mosque
The issue the District Court did resolve, however,
was whether RLUIPA even applied to the facts in
this case. The Township attempted to frame their
actions as a condemnation proceeding, arguing
that RLUIPA does not apply based on cases from
other jurisdictions holding that eminent domain
is not a land use. The District Court . . . determined
that [the] RLUIPA challenge in this case "does
not go to the actual taking, but rather to the
implementation of the open space plan which is
a land use regulation." . . .
Now that the Court has determined that RLUIPA
does apply, I predict a settlement will likely
be in cards. The Township will otherwise have
to take a chance that a Court will find the preservation
of environmentally sensitive areas a compelling
governmental interest and that this is the least
restrictive means of dealing with it. Since the
facts are in dispute, unless and until it is sorted
out by the trial court, the opinion indicates
that it is unclear what the true motivations of
the Township might be.
Open Space Plan is a Land Use Regulation Subject to RLUIPA,
Law of the Land
Walkersville, Md (Jan. 17): Organized opposition
to Mosque continues...
The Citizens for Walkersville testimony continued.
Jeff Schouw presented a slide show and video showing
Jalsa Salana participants in other countries.
Roman P. Storzer, an attorney representing Moxley,
asked Schouw why he played the video, which contained
flags, a march and voices screaming in a foreign
language. Schouw said it demonstrated what could
occur in Walkersville if the special exception
testify, most cite reasons Muslim retreat center should
be denied by Jeremy Hauck, Jeremy Hauck, Business
Gazette (Jan. 17, 2008)
-- When Roman Storzer broached the subject of religious
intolerance at a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing
Friday, he was quickly silenced...
steers clear of religious questions, Gina Gallucci,
Frederick News-Post(Jan. 12, 2008)
Walkersville, Md. (Jan. 3, 2008): Retreat centers
application to be heard starting January 8:
Moxleys lawyer, Roman P. Storzer, of Washington,
D.C.-based Storzer and Greene, is ready to take
the town to court if either the Zoning Board of
Appeals or the Board of Commissioners denies the
Muslims the right to build a retreat center on
the farmland, he said.
If the action is taken to prevent
this group from locating there, and litigation
ensues, then the towns administration is
going to have to face a jury of its peers and
be able to answer for their actions, Storzer
said in a telephone interview.
Politician Fights Groups Plans to Build Mosque on
Farmland (Nov. 2, 2007): Discussing Walkersville,
Marylands continued efforts to prevent a Mosque
from locating within its jurisdiction:
||Mayor Ralph Whitmore
said, some residents are "apprehensive of Muslims."
Tensions are still there. We have a lot of people
here who haven't forgotten 9/11."
Whitmore says people who have loved ones fighting
in Iraq and Afghanistan have reservations about
Muslims in the community, and fear remains after
the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "We're
not a very diverse community," the mayor
Roman Storzer, a Washington lawyer who represents
David Moxley, the owner of the farmland, calls
the issue hostile. Moxley is seeking to sell the
farmland to the group. "Tender or not, this
is one of the most blatant examples of hostility
to a particular religious group that I have ever
seen," Storzer said.
dismisses NAACP civil-rights complaint against Spring
Valley medical clinic, Journal-News (Nov. 1, 2007):
||The NAACP filed
the complaint in September 2006, claiming among
other things that the clinic's practice of closing
on Saturdays to accommodate the Jewish Sabbath was
Roman P. Storzer, a lawyer for the clinic from
the firm Storzer & Greene, said his clients
were happy with the decision.
"They are very pleased with the outcome
and they're looking forward to getting back to
what they do best, which is serving the community,"
Storzer said today.
(Nov. 2, 2007):
||The National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People filed the
complaint in August 2006, characterizing as discriminatory
the clinic's practice of closing on Saturdays to
accommodate the Jewish Sabbath. The clinic's operators
"My clients are interested in serving the
community to the best of their capacities and
... it's a determination that they have to make
on the merits of the issue, not based on some
spurious complaint by the NAACP," [Storzer]
Peekskill, New York (Oct. 31, 2007): New York
State Division of Human Rights dismissed the NAACP of
Spring Valleys complaint against S&G client
Ben Gilman Spring Valley Medical & Dental Clinic (alleging
that closing the clinic on the Jewish Sabbath was discriminatory)
and following opportunity for review of related
information and evidence by the named parties, the
Division has determined that there is NO PROBABLE
CAUSE to believe that the respondents have engaged
in or are engaging in the unlawful discriminatory
practice complained of.
The Clinic defended against the charges, stating that
New York civil rights laws do not prohibit closing on
the Sabbath, and the First Amendment protects the Clinics
right to do so.
This complaint should never have been filed,
said Roman P. Storzer, who represented the Clinic
pro bono. The NAACP has done admirable work
in pursuit of civil rights. However, religious
accommodation benefits, rather than takes away
from the laudable goal of diversity in our community.
More information here
Walkersville, Md.: Meeting of Town officials
with "citizens group" opposed to Muslim worship
center prompts request from landowner; Storzer & Greene
prepared to seek redress of any legal violations resulting
from Town's actions,
Release (October 23, 2007):
||This is one of the most
blatant examples of hostility to a Particular religious
group that I have ever seen," said Roman P.
Storzer, attorney for Mr. Moxley. "This is
exactly why Congress passed the Religious Land Use
and Institutionalized Persons Act. Zoning permits
should not be denied and> ordinances should not
be passed to keep a particular religious group out,
just because they may 'change the culture' or are
perceived as different or unfamiliar to the community.
Read about the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's plight in
the International Herald
Tribune and the Washington
upholds right to build church, Roger Severino, Grand
Valley Advance (Aug. 7, 2007) (letter to the editor):
||Thus, the Society won
the right to build its church, as it originally
envisioned, on its land despite the Township's best
(and illegal) efforts to block its construction.
Speaking more broadly, the judge upheld the constitutional
principle that believers, not bureaucrats, get
to decide what their church is supposed to look
Read about the Great Lakes Society's RLUIPA victory here
Judge sides with allergen-free church, Matt
Vande Bunte, Grand Rapids Press (July 26, 2007): Reporting
on S&G client Great Lakes Society's First Amendment,
Equal Protection & RLUIPA victory against Georgetown
||In a recent opinion,
Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman agreed
the township violated the church's religious freedom
under the Constitution and a Religious Land Use
Act signed into law in 2000 by then-President Clinton.
"Judge Bosman has done a great deal to help
us rebuild our reputation," [Pastor John] Cheetham
said. "He acknowledged that we were trying
to build a special building to cater to people with
chemical sensitivity. For us, it's an important
part of Christ's mission ... to recognize the special
needs of people."
Bosman ruled the proposed building qualifies
as a church because people would gather there
to worship. The township's opposition obstructs
the church's religious freedom, he wrote. "There
is no dispute that the members of (the society)
are physically unable to attend worship services
in any conventional church," Bosman wrote.
"The (township's) action effectively prevents
the members ... from worshipping at all.
Read the story here
Lead Counsel Roman Storzer, who argued the case on June
14, is joined by The
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and John Karafa
of the firm McCroskey, Feldman, Cochrane & Brock,
Read The Becket Fund's Press Release here
"A yeshiva? Not in our village,"
Michal Lando, Jerusalem Post, reporting on the
Rabbinical College matter in Rockland County, New York:
Read the story here
||The college chose Pomona
in part because it is close to Monsey, another haredi
outpost, where students and their families will
have access to facilities such as kosher supermarkets
and yeshivas for their children.
Before the Holocaust, each Orthodox community
had its own beit din religious court that handled
issues such as marriage, divorce and financial
disputes. Since then, the number of courts has
dwindled drastically, and so has the number of
rabbis qualified to sit on them. . . .
. . . Once there will be more rabbinical courts
and judges, in the community, I'm sure there will
be more Jewish people, even not religious, who
will start going to rabbinical courts to be judged
according to the Halacha."
The college is gearing up for what it expects
will be a heated fight for the right to develop
the land. It has hired Roman Storzer, an expert
on the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act (RLUIPA), which states that municipal
regulations cannot impose a substantial burden
on religious practices. It also hired John Stepanovich,
who has worked on similar cases in Airmont, New
Albanian Muslims seek OK for site in Wayne, Andrea
Alexander, The Record (July 26, 2007):
||Attorneys for the Paterson-based
Albanian group, however, argued the federal law
applied because the town wanted to take the property
to enforce its land-use policies to preserve open
space. The attorneys for the Albanian group also
are asking Sheridan to find that preserving open
space is not a compelling government interest that
trumps the freedom of religious exercise. . . .
A Justice Department official appeared in court
Wednesday to back the Albanian groups' discrimination
claims. Ryan Lee, a Justice Department attorney,
argued that there was "circumstantial evidence
of discriminatory intent'' in the township's actions.
Read the story here
Department Supports Muslim Group In Its RLUIPA Lawsuit
Howard Friedman, Religious Clause (July 25, 2007):
||The Justice Department
argued, however, that the township's deliberate
prolonging of the application process for a permit
amounted to the kind of discrimination prohibited
Temple expansion fight lands in U.S. court, Kara
Richardson, The Courier News (July 25, 2007):
||BRIDGEWATER -- Members
of the Hindu Temple & Cultural Center are going
to a higher authority -- federal court -- with a
lawsuit seeking expansion of their temple.
Attorneys for the center filed the lawsuit Monday
in U.S. District Court, Newark.
The federal court is a more appropriate venue to
settle civil-rights claims," said Roman P.
Storzer, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney representing
the temple. Storzer plans to fight the Board of
Adjustment, which denied expansion plans, on two
fronts: the First Amendment (freedom of religion)
and the Religious Land Use Protection Act, a federal
statute that allows the right to practice religion
to override some land-use laws.
Read more about the Temple's efforts in Hindu
trying new legal remedy, Nyier Abdou, The Star-Ledger
(May 17, 2007).
S&G argues Albanian Associated Fund case in
Newark (July 25, 2007): Roman Storzer today argued
before federal District Judge Peter Sheridan that the
Township of Wayne's attempted seizure of the AAF's land,
slated for a mosque, is unconstitutional. (S&G had
previously obtained a preliminary injunction preventing
the taking.) Also joining the argument was an attorney
from the United States Department of Justice, which
submitted a brief amicus curiae, arguing that there
was sufficient evidence to support a conclusion that
"the Township commenced eminent domain proceedings
against the Mosque to thwart the Mosque's application
for a CUP and thereby appease residents hostile to the
Mosque." A decision is expected in September.
Bridgewater, N.J. (July 23, 2007):
S&G filed suit today on behalf of the Hindu Temple
and Cultural Society of USA against the Township of Bridgewater,
New Jersey, for its repeated refusal to allow the Temple
to build a cultural center on the Temple's 23 acre property
in order to house its religious programs. Even though
a majority of the Township's zoningboard voted to permit
the cultural center, a supermajority vote was required.
The action was filed in federal district court in order
topreserve its rights under the First Amendment and the
Religious Land Use andInstitutionalized Persons Act of
2000 ("RLUIPA"). More information soon.
S&G client Great Lakes Society victorious
in civil rights lawsuit against Georgetown Township, Michigan
(July 23, 2007): Court rules that Township violated church's
rights under the federal Free Exercise and Equal Protection
Clauses, the Michigan Constitution, RLUIPA, and the church's
right to freedom of association. More information soon.
U.S. backs lawsuit against Wayne,"
Andrea Alexander, The Record (July 24, 2007):The U.S.
Department of Justice said the township's actions against
the Paterson-based Albanian Associated Fund bore the "classic
trademarks'' of discrimination. In court papers, the government
said there was reason to conclude the township tried to
take the property for open space to stop members of the
fund from building a mosque and community center in the
township. . . .
||"The Albanian Fund
simply wants to be left alone," said Roman
Storzer, the attorney representing the group in
federal court. "They bought a property where
a church is a permitted use, and the township has
been doing everything in their power to prevent
them from building a mosque.''
Read the story here
United States Department of Justice files
brief supporting S&G client Albanian Associated Fund
and Imam Arun Polozani in RLUIPA lawsuit (July 19,
2007): The Department of Justice criticizes Township of
Wayne, N.J.s arguments in attempted condemnation
of religious organizations land.
||The environmental nature
of Mosques land was of no specific concern
to the Township until after the Mosque filed its
CUP application. As mentioned above, the Township
did not deem the Mosques land too environmentally
sensitive to be developed in 1987 or 1994. However,
once the Mosque submitted a CUP application, the
Township became a bundle of activity.
Id. There is evidence that shows the Planning Board
departed from its usual practice and decided to
withhold approval of the CUP until all outstanding
matters were resolved, and twenty hearings and three
years were not sufficient to permit it to render
a resolution on the merits. The Township enacted
an Open Space Ordinance and formed an Open Space
Committee that, contrary to the directive of the
Ordinance, operated under a rule of thumb that targeted
the Mosques land for acquisition. The Township
Council subsequently commenced eminent domain proceedings
to take the Mosques land for open space, even
though it has never before condemned property for
this reason. Like the court in Cottonwood, the finder
of fact could conclude that the Townships
claim that it commenced eminent domain proceedings
to preserve the Mosques land for open space
rings hollow and that in reality the
Township was simply trying to keep [the Mosque]
out of the [Township], or at least from the use
of its own land.
Read the United States brief here.
The case against the Township of Wayne continues, with
a hearing scheduled for July 25, 2007.
Rabbinical College files suit against discriminatory
zoning laws in Pomona, N.Y
||We need to stop the Village
of Pomona, and municipalities across the country,
from using their zoning power as a tool to control
unpopular religious groups," Storzer said.
Journal News story here
Newsday story here
Brooklyn Daily Eagle story here.
rules for Baptist school in RLUIPA case (Baltimore, Md.):
On April 6, 2007, federal judge J. Frederick Motz ruled
against Anne Arundel County in its attempt to dismiss
the Riverdale Baptist Church's lawsuit, which describes
various civil rights violations caused by the County's
land use regulations.
||The County's history
of targeting and ill treatment of Riverdale Baptist
Church's attempt to build a school offering a Christian-based
education raises serious and important legal questions,"
said Roman P. Storzer, who argued the case for the
Church. "The Church will get its day in court.
More information about the lawsuit can be found here.
upholds settlement in Airmont, N.Y. case (White Plains,
N.Y.): On March 29, 2007, Judge Stephen C. Robinson
rejected the Village of Airmont's attempt to back out
of its obligations entered into under a 2005 settlement
with Congregation Mischknois Lavier Yakov, allowing it
to build a religious school. The Congregation was assisted
by both Storzer & Greene, P.L.L.C. and by the United
States Department of Justice, which filed its own
action against Airmont for violating RLUIPA. The court
||That the Airmont Defendants
now dislike the consequences of something they previously
agreed to is not a ground upon which this Court
can or would vacate a judgment.
S&G congratulates John G. Stepanovich of
Lentz, Stepanovich & Bergethon, P.L.C., lead counsel
for the Congregation. Read the court's decision here
Faith and zoning, Editorial, The Record (Nov.
||The Albanian group first
filed a development application in late 2002 and
has since gone through numerous Planning Board hearings.
Then suddenly this spring the township announced
it would try to buy the site through eminent domain...
Wayne can argue that the township does not have
bias. It also does not have an Albanian mosque.
the editorial here
Federal Court issues injunction preventing the taking
of religious property (Newark, N.J.): On November
1, 2006, the United States District Court for the District
of New Jersey granted a preliminary injunction protecting
mosque property from eminent domain proceedings. Judge
Peter G. Sheridan ordered the Township of Wayne, N.J.
to cease efforts to seize the AlbanianAssociated Fund's
11-acre site on November 1, 2006.
constitutional rights are at stake here," said
Roman P. Storzer, attorney for AAF, "Protecting
open space is a laudable goal, but it should not
be used as a pretense for appeasing local hostility
to a minority group."
Press release available here.
The Record story available here.
Storzer and Greene Defend Jewish Sabbath Observance
On October 19, Storzer & Greene filed
a response defending the Ben Gilman Medical and
Dental Clinic in Spring Valley, NY from a complaint
filed in the New York Human Rights Commission by the
president of the local NAACP chapter. The complaint
alleges that the Clinic discriminates because it closes
on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, and remains open on
Sundays. Read the Press
United States Department of Justice sides with Bikur
Cholim, sues Village of Suffern
On September 26, 2006,
the federal government filed a lawsuit against the
Village of Suffern for violations of the Religious Land
Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The
||Suffern's denial of the
variance application substantially burdens the religious
exercise of Orthodox Jews who need to visit the
sick in Suffern while observing religious proscriptions
against driving on the Sabbath and other Holy Days.
In its Complaint, the Department of Justice requests the
court to declare that the denial of Storzer & Greene
client Bikur Cholim's variance application violates RLUIPA,
and prevent the Village from substantially burdening Bikur
Cholim's religious exercise.
Mr. Storzer will be appearing in federal court on October
4 to seek a preliminary injunction permitting Bikur
Cholim to continue operating.
Is Sued for Religious Discrimination After Village Rejects
an Orthodox Lodging, New York Times (Sept. 27,
Sues to Allow N.Y. Sabbath House, New York Times
(Sept. 26, 2006).
Also in Forbes,
York Sun, Houston
Angeles Times, The
accused of discriminating against Jewish group 'on basis
of religion, The Journal News (Sept. 27, 2006).
sued over Sabbath house, Times Herald-Record
(Sept. 27, 2006).
sues Rockland village for denying variance to Orthodox
group, Newsday (Sept. 26, 2006).
Federal court rules for Temple in overtime pay case,
On September 22, 2006, federal judge Joseph Bianco dismissed
a lawsuit brought by a religious employee of S&G client
Hindu Temple Society of North America for various alleged
labor violations. The court held:
||If this Article III requirement
is not met, then, no matter how interesting or significant
the legal issue presented, the Court has no jurisdiction
and is not permitted to proceed with the case.
Parameswaran v. Mysorekar, No. 05-CV-3162 (E.D.N.Y. 2006).
Storzer & Greene files amicus curiae Brief in Prison
Fellowship Ministries appeal
On September 22, 2006, Storzer and Greene, together
with of counsel Richard W. Garnett, Lilly Endowment Associate
Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, filed
a brief on behalf of the Catholic League for Civil
and Religious Rights arguing that a federal court erred
in engaging in a theological discussion about the relationship
between evangelical Christianity and Catholicism:
||We agree entirely with
the courts observation that it lacks theological
expertise and, like the court below, we endorse
without reservation James Madisons statement
that religion is, for the honor of America,
perfectly free and unshackled. The government has
no jurisdiction over it. Under the Constitution
of the United States, the institutions of religion
and government are separate, not to constrain religion,
and not because the Framers feared faith, but in
order to protect religion, and to check the ambitions
and powers of government. Nothing in this Brief
is intended to suggest that the courts of the United
States ought not to protect religious freedom by
protecting the freedom of believers and of the Church
from government interference. But this Courts
consideration of the work of InnerChange and Prison
Fellowship Ministries should be undertaken without
the taint of the district courts homebrewed
theological analysis of that work as narrow, prejudiced,
or anti-Catholic, when in fact its is quite the
opposite: open-minded, generous, and ecumenically
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
v. Prison Fellowship Ministries, App. No. 06-2741
(8th Cir.). Read the district court's decision here
Storzer & Greene files brief in Maryland Court
of Appeals protecting religious institutions
As co-counsel with The
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the firm filed
a brief urging reversal of the same-sex marriage decision
in Maryland's highest court. The brief argues that the
decision below will have profound impact on the employment,
housing, public accommodation, and free speech rights
of religious institutions.
"God's Work," Colleen DeBaise,
SmartMoney (Apr. 18, 2006)
||Religious groups are
more likely to run into problems when they look
before they leap, says Roman Storzer, a Washington,
D.C., lawyer who represents religious institutions.
"Churches are not as sophisticated as commercial
entities," he says. "They're used to preaching
to the community, not doing taxes and payroll."
He recently represented a Hindu temple in Flushing,
N.Y., which set up a canteen to serve food to worshippers.
Last summer, a worker at the canteen sued the temple
for overtime wages. While the worker ultimately
withdrew the suit, it's an example of the obstacles
that might come with the territory, he says.
Read the story here.
Amendment Center's story
on Albanian Associated Fund v. Township of Wayne.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hands down resounding
In a much-anticipated case involving the right of
a religious institution to obtain a land use permit
in order to build a place of worship, the
Court of Appeals decided on August 1, 2006 that
a county cannot deny a CUP to a Sikh organization if
that denial would "impose a significantly great
restriction or onus upon" its religious exercise.
The Court found that this particular denial would in
fact do so, based upon its findings that:
||(1) The County's broad
reasons given for its tandem denials could easily
apply to all future applications by Guru Nanak;
and (2) that Guru Nanak readily agreed to every
mitigation measure suggested by the Planning Division,
but the County, without explanation, found such
As Director of Litigation for The
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Mr. Storzer drafted
brief supporting the Sikh Society. Several of the
arguments proposed in the brief were adopted by the
Court of Appeals, including the proposition that RLUIPA
makes explicit certain protections already inherent
in the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment (including
the legal requirement that a denial of a discretionary
land use permit must survive strict scrutiny judicial
review), and that the denial of a land use permit may
be substantially burdensome on religious exercise, even
though the initial requirement of such a permit is not.
Muslim Association sues Township of Wayne, N.J.
for attempted seizure of its land
On July 17, 2006, the Albanian Associated Fund, which
owns property in Wayne Township that it has been attempted
to build on for four years, filed suit in federal district
court in order to prevent the taking of its property.
Storzer & Greene/The Becket Fund for Religious
Liberty (July 17, 2006)
group sues town over effort to build mosque, Newsday
(July 18, 2006)
not asking for special consideration,"
said one of their lawyers, Roman P. Storzer.
"This group is entitled to the same protections
of the law as any church or synagogue."
sued by Muslim group, The West Milford Messenger
(July 27, 2006)
Group Fights for Mosque, The Record (July
is trying to accommodate the hostilities of
the local residents in their efforts to prevent
the mosque from locating here," Storzer
said in an interview."
group sues N.J. town over effort to build mosque,
First Amendment Center (July 19, 2006)
Group Sues Town Over Effort to Build Mosque, WNBC
(July 19, 2006)
Sues Wayne Township (NJ) Over Attempted Land-Grab,
Al-Jazeerah (July 19, 2006)
group sues town over effort to build mosque, WABC-TV
(July 18, 2006)
Don't close Shabbat House!" Ynetnews
(July 11, 2006):
J. Diament, director of the Union's Institute who
was involved in working with Congress to have RLUIPA
enacted stated that "the purpose of the RLUIPA
statute was to ensure that zoning codes could not
be a veiled tool for religious discrimination. The
fact that under the code the Shabbat House could
not be located anywhere in Suffern is the best proof
that the local officials want no such facility to
exist. To do so is to deny the religious needs of
the hospitalized patients and their loved ones.
We trust that the court will rule in favor of the
Orthodox Jewish organizations support Bikur Cholim in
July 5, 2006, a brief amicus curiae was filed in support
of Storzer & Greene client Bikur Cholim on behalf
National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs,
Agudas Harabonim, Agudath Israel, National
Council of Young Israel, the Rabbinical Alliance of
America, the Rabbinical
Council of America, Torah
Umesorah, and the Union
of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. The brief
||The contention made in
this case by the Village of Suffern - i.e., that
the service performed by the existence of the Shabbos
House is merely a "convenience" made available
to hospital visitors and is not within the constitutional
or statutory definition of "exercise of religion"
- is alarming to the Orthodox Jewish community.
Hospital visits and Sabbath observance are not matters
of "convenience"; they are at the heat
of traditional Jewish religious observance.
More information about the case can be found here.
Religious school successfully defends against Title
On June 7, 2006, the federal Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit affirmed
a decision dismissing a sex discrimination lawsuit
brought by a parochial school teacher based on her dismissal
for abortion rights advocacy. Congratulations to the Becket
Fund for a hard-won appeal. (Mr. Storzer had been
co-counsel in the successful representation of the Ursuline
Academy before the District Court.)
Firm defends church against eminent domain
On May 15, 2006,
Storzer & Greene PLLC submitted an appeal brief in
defense of their client Faith Temple Church against the
Town of Brighton, New York's attempted taking of their
property. Also joining in the lawsuit are the following
entities, all of whom submitted amicus briefs in support
of the proposition that municipalities must pass strict
judicial review if taking church property substantially
burdens religious exercise:
States Department of Justice (brief)
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (brief)
Center for Law and Justice
The firm is co-counsel with Nixon Peabody LLP in Faith
1, 2013: Storzer & Greene attorneys co-author
article on RLUIPA's "Nondiscrimination"
provision. Examining 42 U.S.C. 2000cc(b)(2)--which
prohibits "government [from] impos[ing] or
implement[ing] a land use regulation that discriminates
against any assembly or institution on the basis
of religion or religious denomination"--the
authors argue that the law's protections are needed
now more than ever:
there is ample evidence of discrimination—both
overt and surreptitious—violative
of RLUIPA, some commentators continue to
argue that religious groups simply do not
face discrimination during the land use
regulation process and that stakeholders
in such regulation are only concerned with
legitimate land use issues. They are plainly
wrong. While there is no question that local
zoning boards and other regulatory bodies
are often motivated by sincere concerns
about matters such as traffic, environmental
protection, and adherence to building codes,
it is also true that such reasons are often
used as a façade for invidious discrimination.
Also, it is far more frequent that minority
faiths and those that are unfamiliar to
local residents suffer from such intolerance
Parking, Hindu Parking: Applying Established Civil
Rights Principles to RLUIPA's Nondiscrimination
Provision, 16 Richmond J. of L. and the Public
Interest 295 (Winter 2013)
Richmond, VA. (April
16, 2012): On April 16, Roman P. Storzer
joined the Department of Justice's Special Counsel
for Religious Discrimination Eric Treene and human
rights advocate Qasim Rashid to speak at the University
of Richmond's Journal
of Law and the Public Interest symposium on
RLUIPA. Details about the symposium are available
Washington, D.C. (Feb.
Roman Storzer served as a judge in the semi-final
round for the 2012
GW National Religious Freedom Moot Court Competition,
hosted by the George Washington University Law School.
This year's problem involved the intersection of
religious freedom and copyright law.
York, NY. (March. 4, 2011): Robert Greene will serve
as a judge for the American Bar Association Law
Student Division National Appellate Advocacy Competition
at the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of New York, on March 5, 2011. This
year’s problem deals with First Amendment
challenges to government regulation of speech. More
information about the competition is available here
Los Angeles, Cal. (February
11, 2011): Roman Storzer will speak at “Local
Agencies on the Cutting Edge: Emerging Challenges
to Local Land Use Authority,” a symposium
held at the UCLA School of Law sponsored by the
Law School’s Evan Frankel Environmental Law
& Policy Program, the Municipal Law Institute
of the League of California Cities, UC Berkeley
Center for Law, Energy and the Environment, and
UC Davis California Environmental Law and Policy
Center. He will join Deborah Fox of Meyers Nave
on the panel discussion “RLUIPA – A
Trap For the Unwary.” Information about the
symposium, including the program,
is available here
D.C. (Feb. 5, 2011): Roman Storzer joined the
George Washington University Law School’s
5th Annual National Religious Freedom Moot Court
Competition as a semifinal round judge.
This year´s problem deals with the Religious
Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and
is available here.
More information about the competition is available
Defending Religious Liberty
in the 21st Century
Storzer & Greene becomes a Cooperating Organization
with the PBS God In America series.
Storzer & Greene, P.L.L.C. welcomes God
in America viewers to our website at www.storzerandgreene.com,
which contains information about our work in the
modern day defense of religious liberty. The pages
located there describe various kinds of government
actions that inhibit the rights of people to freely
practice their religious faith. Our cases involve
the Amish, Native Americans, Buddhists, various
Christian denominations, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and
others. We believe that religious liberty for all
is a critical part of our American experience.
One of the major threats to religious
liberty today is local governmental attempts to
limit religious communities building or improving
their facilities through zoning and land use laws.
These issues were specifically addressed by the
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons
Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), a federal statute enacted
to clarify the rights of religious groups to build
churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, religious
schools, fellowship halls, social service facilities
and more. Many of the stories you will see on
these pages deal with our work in this sphere.
Both Mr. Storzer and Mr. Greene have been involved
in RLUIPA cases since its enactment. You will
also find a link here to our writing, conference
details, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s
recent report on the 10th Anniversary of RLUIPA.
Also coming soon will be a new website
devoted to religious land use issues, which will
track developments nationwide.
We see our work as the modern day
extension of the efforts of the early American
champions of religious liberty, those seen in
the God In America seers and others such as WIlliam
Penn and Roger Williams. We hope this site helps
round out your knowledge of the ongoing efforts
to continue the work of the Founders.
La. (Oct. 12, 2010): Robert Greene to speak at theInternational
Municipal Lawyers Association's 2010 Annual Conference.
The session is titled "The 'Hard Question'
of the EstablishmentClause Coupled with a RLUIPA
Update." Information about the conference can
be found here
and the program is available here
D.C. (Sept. 21, 2010): Roman Storzer joined
several other panelists to discuss the occasion
of RLUIPA’s 10th anniversary at the American
Constitution Society for Law and Policy’s
“RLUIPA 10 Years Later,” held in the
Rayburn House Office Building at 12:30pm. The organizers
of the event write: President Clinton signed
the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons
Act into law on September 22, 2000. Fast forward
a decade later, we as a society are still debating
the meaning of religious freedom in a pluralistic
democracy. Most recently, we have seen the American
fabric fray around the siting of an Islamic community
center in downtown Manhattan, not far from the where
the World Trade Center stood. The program
Opening Remarks by Assistant Attorney General
Thomas E. Perez, U.S. Department of Justice,
Civil Rights Division
Introduction by David Lachmann, Chief
of Staff, House Subcommittee on the Constitution,
Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
Marci Hamilton, Paul R. Verkuil Chair
in Public Law, Cardozo School of Law
Douglas Laycock, Armistead M. Dobie
Professor of Law and Horace W. Goldsmith
Research Professor of Law, University of
Virginia School of Law
Elizabeth Merritt, Deputy General
Counsel, National Trust for Historic Preservation
Marc Stern, Associate General Counsel,
American Jewish Committee
More information is available
Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas
E. Perez Speaks at the American Constitution Society
for Law and Policy’s RLUIPA Event,”
U.S. Department of Justice (Sept. 21, 2010).
D.C. (Sept. 22, 2010): Read the United States Department
of Justice’s ”Report
on the Tenth Anniversary of the Religious Land Use
and Institutionalized Persons Act”
the courts clarify remaining legal issues,
the Department of Justice’s Civil
Rights Division will continue to fulfill
an important role in enforcing RLUIPA, investigating
potential violations, bringing lawsuits,
participating as amicus in significant cases,
providing technical assistance, and educating
the public and government officials.
The report highlights cases
involving S&G clients (among others) including
U.S. v. Suffern, N.Y. and Albanian
Associated Fund v. Township of Wayne, N.J.
Feb 1, 2010: S&G Case
to be subject of Harvard Pluralism Project documentary.
Filming has started on a documentary examining
the experience of the Buddhist Education Center
of North America in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The
City had sought to restrict the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist
congregation from conducting its religious practice
at its home in southern Virginia Beach. Virginia
Wesleyan College Professor Steven Emmanuel interviewed
Robert Greene about the litigation and S&Gs
experience in advocating for religious liberty on
behalf of many faiths including Baptists, Buddhists,
Hindus, Catholics, Moslems, Native Americans and
Nov. 17, 2009: S&G
quoted in U.S. News & World Report, Moves
to Seize Mosque Spark Outrage
New York, N.Y. (Sept. 21-22,
2009): Robert Greene represents the Philadelphia
Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
at the National Council of the Churches of Christ
Board of Governors Meeting. The
National Council of Churches is the organization
of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical,
historic African American and Living Peace churches
including 45 million people in more than
100,000 local congregations in communities across
the nation. It includes many national Baptist organizations
as well as the Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America, the United Methodist Church,
the Moravian Church, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.,
Quakers and many other faith communions. It has
been a leading force in ecumenical cooperation in
the United States for over half a century.
American Bar Association:
Excerpt from "The
RLUIPA Reader: Religious Land Uses, Zoning, and
inconsistencies continue to abound in this
area of law, a pattern has emerged from
the dozens of cases that have made their
way to the court system. This is the general
rule that in an area of law with fewif
anyestablished practical rules, courts
are aware of the equities in cases brought
before them and tend to steer the results
accordingly. When a church attempts in good
faith to resolve legitimate municipal interests
in its effort to build a place of worship,
its claims are generally favored, especially
when such attempts are unreasonably rebuffed
by the municipality.
Book Briefs Blog, July 14, 2009.
Nashville, Tennessee (April
16 & 17, 2009): S&G Provides RLUIPA Training
to Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson
proactive approach to defending civil rights
is clearly preferable to litigation,
said attorney Roman Storzer. Local
governments need the tools to deal with
potentially controversial religious land
uses in a manner that avoids discrimination
and undue burden.
Read S&Gs media
release here, the United States Department of
of the related case and settlement, the consent
decree, and more
Princeton, N.J. (April 13,
2009): Robert Greene Speaks at Princeton Theological
principal Robert Greene delivered a lecture
on the topic of the Church and State in
the United States this evening to students
at Princeton Theological Seminary. The talk
addressed the religious origins of the free
exercise of religion in the colonial era,
discussing the theories of Roger Williams,
William Penn and other colonial religious
leaders on the religious grounds for opposing
all attempts to compel religious conformity.
It also discussed the current state of the
law of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment
Clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution,
focusing on the various difficulties and
opportunities in raising claims that government
regulation substantially burdens religious
RLUIPA Reader: Religious
Land Uses, Zoning, and the Courts available
perspective of the
community. Attorneys as well as planners and religious
land use applicants will benefit from reading this
book, which offers information and advice on initiating
a RLUIPA lawsuit, as well as defending a RLUIPA
the American Bar Association: This book
provides both a general background of RLUIPA
so that the reader understands the context
in which RLUIPA was passed
by Congress in 2000, as well as a very practical
discussion about RLUIPA litigation from the
perspective of the church (religious land
use applicant) and the
Roman Storzer drafted a chapter of the book titled
The Perspective of the Religious Land Use
Applicant. More information about the book
Roman Storzer will join
other religious freedom experts as a judge in the
2009 National Religious Freedom Moot Court on February
year's problem will deal with issues regarding
the employment decisions of religious groups
in relation to state civil rights laws.
The competition issues will center on the
"ministerial exception" to employment
discrimination laws, and free exercise issues
relating to sexual orientation discrimination
More information available here
RLUIPA Book to be published
in April 2009: RLUIPA Reader: Religious Land
Use, Zoning and the Courts, co-published by
the American Bar Association and the American Planning
Association, is due to be released in mid-April.
Roman Storzer joins other authors in presenting
a chapter on the history, theory, practical application
and problems in current religious land use litigation.
Robert Greene Visits Capitol
Hill on Behalf of Quaker Committee.
On November 13, 2008, Robert Greene visited Senatorial
and Congressional offices today on behalf of the
Committee on National Legislation, the Quaker
public affairs lobby. Mr. Greene is a member of
the General Committee of FCNL, representing the
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society
of Friends. He is also a representative to the National
Religious Campaign Against Torture, an organization
of clergy and religious leaders of all faiths.
Roman Storzer will be
speaking at the Property Rights Foundation of Americas
twelfth annual National Conference on Private Property
Rights. Mr. Storzer will join speakers from
the Institute for Justice, the National Center for
Public Policy Research and the Cato Institute, among
others, and will be addressing historic preservation
regulations impacting religious institutions. The
conference is being held on October 18, 2008 in
Albany, N.Y. More information available here
S&G is pleased to
welcome its newest attorney, Stuart
Robert Greene will join
Prof. Marci Hamilton and several others in addressing
the New Jersey State League of Municipalities on
November 19, 2008. The panel discussion, The
Federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act (RLUIPA) Challenges Faced by
Local Government, is part of the NJLMs
Roman Storzer will participate
as a judge in the 2008 National Religious Freedom
Moot Court held at George Washington University
on February 22-23, 2008.
He will join Judges Sutton (6th Circuit) and O'Scannlain
(9th Circuit), Eric W. Treene, special counsel for
religious discrimination at the Civil Rights Division
of the U.S. Department of Justice, and others at
this competition. This years topic focuses
on current controversies involving the military
chaplaincy and implicating the Religion Clauses
and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. More
information available here
Robert Greene named to
National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
Storzer & Greene partner Robert L. Greene has
been named to serve as the representative of the
Princeton Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society
of Friends (Quakers). NRCAT was founded in 2006
and consists of representatives from the Catholic,
Protestant, Orthodox Christian, Evangelical Christian,
Quaker, Unitarian, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities.
NRCAT member organizations include denominations
and faith groups, national religious organizations,
regional religious organizations, and individual
church congregations. Its goal is to ensure that
the United States does not engage in torture or
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of anyone,
Robert Greene to speak
on exercise of eminent domain over church property
Storzer & Greene partner Robert L. Greene
will be featured as a speaker at the Lorman Education
seminar on Eminent Domain April 17, 2008 at the
Hyatt Regency in North Brunswick New Jersey. The
seminar is intended for attorneys, developers
and all sorts of land use professionals. Mr. Greene
will speak about S&G's role in several important
cases challenging the right of government to use
eminent domain laws to take the property of churches
and religious organizations. For registration
go to www.lorman.com
of litigation, Editorial, Journal News
(Aug. 8, 2007):
|| A [Prof. Marci]
Hamilton-Storzer face-off has occurred many
times before, in the courts and in spirited
law school and American Bar Association debates.
They have had a little point-counterpoint
on this page, with subsequent Community View
columns on the Pomona issue. On the whole,
court cases have tipped overwhelmingly to
Robert Greene to speak to New
Jersey bar on religion and land use June
20, 2007, Robert L.
Greene will speak today at the New Jersey Bar's
Law Center, 1 Constitution Square in New Brunswick,
New Jersey at a New Jersey Institutive of Continuing
Legal Education seminar on Religion and Land Use.
Mr. Greene will be speaking on federal constitutional
protections of church and religious organization
land use and RLUIPA. Other presentations will focus
on state law issues. Among the subjects on the agenda
are several cases that Storzer & Greene have
been involved in.
is a joint project of the New Jersey Bar Association,
Rutgers University and Seton Hall University.
Mr. Greene is a former adjunct faculty member
of Seton Hall's Law School.
On May 18,
2007, Roman Storzer addressed
the American Bar Association's Section of State
and Local Government Law at its annual Spring
Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The session,
titled "Church, State and Dirt: RLUIPA and
Land Use in 2007 also included speakers Marci
Hamilton, Cardozo Law School, and Daniel P. Dalton,
Tomkiw Dalton, Detroit, Michigan.
Storzer believes there were and continue
to be very good reasons behind the adoption
of RLUIPA. He does not believe that RLUIPA
gives religious organizations a blank
check to engage in activities free
of land regulation, noting that courts have
consistently indicated RLUIPA is not a free
pass. Storzer believes RLUIPA needs
to be available where facts demonstrate
a community has attempted improperly to
use its zoning powers to keep a religious
organization with different practices and
lifestyles out of a community.
Jay T. Squires, RLUIPA
Sparks Spirited Debate in San Juan
November RLUIPA Conference
Mr. Storzer will join
other speakers at the Conference of Village Trustees'
RLUIPA conference in Montebello, N.Y. on November
Mr. Storzer speaks at
Land Use Institute conference
On May 12, 2006, Mr. Storzer addressed a conference
sponsored by the Maryland State Bar, MICPEL, the
University of Maryland School of Law and the University
of Baltimore School of Law on the topic of religious
"The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act of 2000: A Constitutional Response to
Unconstitutional Zoning Practices,"
9 Geo. Mason L.Rev. 929, 945 (2001), co-authored
by Roman Storzer and Anthony R. Picarello, Jr.
Wall Street Journal's Startup Journal, Apr. 25,
Storzer was quoted in a
Up Journal article about religious organizations
engaging in commercial transactions.