Wednesday, November 21, 2012
RLUIPA Jury Awards $1.1 million
In Academy of Our Lady of Peace v. City of San Diego, a jury has awarded over $1.1 million to a religious school which was unable to expand because the local council in the city of San Diego overturned approvals given by the city staff and the city planning commission. Whenever the local legislative body overturns decisions made by professional staff, you immediately begin to get concerned that politics has interfered in the process. Most of the time, that’s not any difficulty: politics in the city Council’s not unexpected certainly. But when you’re dealing with the federal statutory right, such interference inexorably leads to substantial jury will awards. And that’s just what happened here.