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Archive for the tag “relief”

EEOC Sues Over Firing of Seventh Day Adventist

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

The EEOC announced yesterday that it has filed suit against Greenville Ready Mix Concrete, Inc., a North Carolina based company, for refusing to accommodate the religious observances of a Seventh Day Adventist employee.  Michael Cole, a truck driver for the company, was baptized as a Seventh-Day Adventist in February 2014, after which he asked not to work on Saturdays.  The company nevertheless scheduled him for a Saturday, and fired him when he refused.

You can learn more about this issue here.

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Court Again Denies Minister Right To File Amended Complaint In Building Code Dispute

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In Salman v. City of Phoenix(D AZ, June 6, 2016), an Arizona federal district court denied a motion by an Arizona minister to file a fourth amended complaint in a suit challenging Phoenix’s application of its building code to his use of his house for weekly Bible study meetings and worship.

You can learn more about this issue here.

Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Against College’s Speech Permit Policy

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In Grace Christian Life v. Woodson, (ED NC, June 4, 2016), a North Carolina federal district court issued a preliminary injunction barring North Carolina State University from enforcing its non-commercial speech permit policy that requires students to obtain prior written permission before distributing leaflets or soliciting passersby on campus. The suit was brought by a Christian student organization that proselytizes on campus. (See prior posting.) According to a press release by ADF, the court issued the preliminary injunction two days after a hearing in the case.  The court adopted plaintiff’s allegations as its findings of fact. The preliminary injunction allows the University to still ban disruption of University activities, obstruction of buildings or sidewalks, or interference with educational activities or ceremonies.

You can learn more about this issue here.

EEOC Sues Claiming Inadequate Accommodation of Refusal To Take Flu Shot

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

The EEOC announced last week that it has filed suit in a Massachusetts federal district court against Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts for failing to accommodate an employee who, for religious reasons, refused to get a flu vaccination.  The medical center allows employees with religious objections to instead wear a mask at work.  Stephanie Clarke, a recruiter in Baystate’s human resources department, initially wore the mask, but job applicants could not understand her when they spoke to her. So she removed her mask and requested Baystate to find a different accommodation. Instead Baystate put her on indefinite, unpaid leave, and when she complained it terminated her employment. EEOC argues that an accommodation under Title VII must both respect the employee’s religious beliefs and permit her to do her job effectively. Here she was terminated because she complained about religious discrimination. BNA Daily Labor Report has more on the suit.

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Another Challenge Filed To Mississippi’s Freedom of Conscience Law

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

As reported by AP, on Friday a third lawsuit was filed challenging Mississippi’s House Bill 1523, the Protecting Freedom of Conscience From Government Discrimination Act. Mississippi Center for Justice announced the filing of the federal lawsuit which was brought by a group of clergy, community leaders, activists and a Hattiesburg church.  The complaint (full text) contends:

With the passage and approval of that bill, the Legislature and the Governor breached the separation of church and state, and specifically endorsed certain narrow religious beliefs that condemn same-sex couples who get married, condemn unmarried people who have sexual relations, and condemn transgender people.

Last month the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging the new law (see prior posting) and plaintiffs in a suit that helped bring down the barriers to same-sex marriage in Mississippi have moved to challenge the law by reopening their lawsuit.

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Sewer Connection To Amish Must Be Made In Least Religiously Intrusive Means

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In Yoder v. Sugar Grove Area Sewer Authority, (PA Commw., June 3, 2016), a Pennsylvania appellate court remanded to the trial court a suit by an Old Order Amish family seeking to avoid connecting their property to the public sewer system.  In an earlier decision, the trial court had concluded that the interest in protecting public health through a sewer connection outweighed the Amish family’s free exercise rights, but required that the connection to the sewer system be made in accordance with the family’s religious convictions. The current suit stems from disagreements on how to carry out this prior order and the trial court’s improper belated modification of it. According to the court, the Amish family has religious objections to having electricity power anything associated with the use of their outhouse, and risk excommunication if they use a privy tainted with the use of electric power. In remanding and requiring the trial court to reconsider the method by which a sewer connection would be made to the family’s property, the court said in part:

The trial court’s analysis regarding the threat to public safety pertained to the lack of any sewer connection at all, not a connection by nonelectric means, or, failing that, electricity generated by natural, non-electricity provider means. Importantly, the trial court also did not address Owners’ alleged clear right to the least intrusive means of a mandatory connection.

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Christian Camp Says Nearby Dairy Farm Approval Violates RLUIPA

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

A lawsuit was filed last month in an Indiana state trial court by a Christian youth camp which objects to a zoning board’s approval of a large dairy farm nearby. The complaint (full text) in House of Prayer Ministries, Inc. v. Rush County Board of Zoning Appeals, (filed 5/16/2016), alleges that the 1400 cows and three large waste lagoons on the farm will expose campers to noxious odors and harmful air emissions that will “interfere with Harvest Christian Camp’s thirty-year mission and ability to provide a safe, healthy, and Christian rural setting for thousands of children and teens to be educated, enriched spiritually, and enhanced by the outdoors….”  This, the complaint alleges, amounts to a substantial burden that violates the camp’s rights under RLUIPA, the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First and 14th Amendments and the state constitution’s equal privileges and immunities clause. RLUIPA Defense blog reports on the case.

You can learn more about this issue here.

Don’t Like An Award From Compulsory Arbitration? You Must Appeal

Can a party to a case where a judgment has been entered in compulsory arbitration have that judgment modified without appealing? This is the underlying question in the recent matter heard by the Pennsylvania Superior Court, captioned as Blucas v. Agiovlasitis, 2018 Pa.Super. 25.

In Blucas, tenants brought suit against their former landlord for the return of their security deposit. The landlord, of course, claimed the leasehold had damages for which he incurred expenses and he needed compensation/reimbursement from the tenants.

The case was tracked into compulsory arbitration pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S.A. Section 7361. After a hearing before a panel of arbitrators, a judgment was entered awarding the tenants $10,000 and the landlord $1,450, for a net award to the tenants of $8,550.

Pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1307 and established case law, the entry of an award following compulsory arbitration has the force and effect of a final judgment. The court contrasted an award flowing from compulsory arbitration with one following statutory or common law arbitration. Unlike an award from compulsory arbitration, a party must petition the trial court to confirm an award from statutory or common law arbitration 30 days or more following the date of the award. For an award from compulsory arbitration neither party must file a præcipe to enter judgment on the award.

In July 2016, an award and notice of the same was entered on the docket in this matter, and was final (unless appealed). A judgment on the award was entered in November 2016. Within less than two weeks following the entry of the judgment in Blucas, the landlord remitted a check to the tenants for the full amount of the judgment ($8,550). Pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1307, a party must file an appeal within 30 days from when the award and notice are entered on the docket in order to further litigate the matter. No appeal was ever filed. Instead of appealing, the tenants, in April 2017, filed a motion for costs and prejudgment interest (motion) requesting a recalculation of the award.

The court reviewed the various case, statutory, and procedural laws applicable to the instant matter, and unequivocally concluded that the sole remedy for an adverse or unsatisfactory compulsory arbitration award is an appeal within 30 days from the award and notice. The only exception to the above the court could discern is Pa.R.C.P. 1307(d), which provides for a means to “mold” a previously entered award for obvious errors, in either arithmetic or language, that do not go to the substance and/or merits of the award.

The tenants’ motion did not address basic errors in arithmetic and language but, rather, asked the trial court to award them additional damages in prejudgment interest and costs. Inexplicably, and without citing support, the trial court granted the tenants’ motion, which led to the landlord’s appeal to Pennsylvania Superior Court, resulting in the decision, cited above, that is the subject of this article.

Superior Court noted that the motion did not comply with the law and procedure cited above.  The motion clearly is not an example of “molding.” More importantly, it was not filed within 30 days of the award.  The trial court was unclear as to precisely how it calculated the award and what the figures in the award exactly represented (e.g., interest and costs? security deposit? pet deposit? etc.). As a result, there is no way for Superior Court to even attempt to “mold” the award regarding prejudgment interest, even if it could. Consequently, as the tenants did not file an appeal of the compulsory arbitration award, the trial court was without authority to attempt to revisit the award with regard to prejudgment interest.

As always, it is absolutely critical for practitioners to be totally cognizant of the applicable deadlines and time periods mandated by law or procedure and act accordingly to ensure compliance with the same and opportunity to litigate a matter as fully as possible.

Originally published in The Legal Intelligencer on March 19, 2018 and can be found here.

New Jersey Court Invalidates Capital Grants To 2 Religious Colleges

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey v. Hendricks(NJ App., May 26. 2016), a New Jersey state appellate court held that grants to two religious colleges for capital improvements violate the provision in the New Jersey Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 3, that bars taxation “for building or repairing any church or churches, place or places of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry….” The Department of Higher Education had awarded two grants totaling over $10 million to a Jewish school, Beth Medrash Govoha, and three grants totaling $645,323 to Princeton Theological Seminary. The court said that a 1978 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling interpreting Art. I, Sec. 8 compelled it to conclude that these grants of public funds were invalid. NJ.com reports on the decision.

You can learn more about this issue here.

 

Appeals Court Upholds Saturday Murder Trial Despite Defendant’s Religious Objection

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here

In State v. Victor2016 La. App. LEXIS 1030 (LA App., May 26, 2016), a Louisiana state appeals court held that defendant’s free exercise rights were not violated when the court refused to adjourn his second degree murder trial on Saturday, which defendant claimed was his Sabbath.  Defendant was on trial for the murder of his 8-year old stepson who died after a severe beating that was allegedly administered as discipline for stealing ice cream. In upholding on compelling interest grounds the trial court’s refusal to adjourn for Saturday, the appeals court said in part:

the record reflects that the trial judge carefully considered defendant’s concerns as well as his delay in raising this issue, including his failure to object when the prospective jury was advised numerous times of the possibility that they would be required to work on Saturday, his lack of a specific religious affiliation or particular church membership, the unavailability of the State’s key expert witness the following week, and “the justice system as a whole,” in denying defendant’s request not to hold trial on Saturday.

You can learn more about this issue here.

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