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RLUIPA Land Use Claims: Latest Litigation Trends and Key Case Law Developments

Strategies for Local Governments to Avoid or Defend RLUIPA Actions Amid a Changing Litigation Landscape

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will offer practical guidance for counsel advising local governments on ways to avoid Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) claims. The program will discuss recent trends in RLUIPA claims and litigation, including recent Supreme Court cases under and impacting RLUIPA. The program will look at various approaches to defend against RLUIPA suits once a claim has been filed.


The most significant development in RLUIPA discrimination claims in the past few years has been the uptick in cases involving Muslims, with many of those cases including claims of intentional religion-based discrimination under RLUIPA Section 2(b)(2).

In the 2015 case Holt v. Hobbs, the Supreme Court addressed for the first time the application of RLUIPA in a prison context, holding that a state prison system may not impose a beard-length requirement on a Muslim inmate.

Not understated is the impact of the Supreme Court’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling under RFRA on RLUIPA litigation and potential claims by for-profit corporations against zoning decisions that burden their owner’s religious exercise.

Listen as our panel of land use lawyers examines current trends in RLUIPA claims and litigation, including recent Supreme Court cases under and impacting RLUIPA, offers practical guidance on how to avoid RLUIPA claims, and recommends steps to take when a suit has been filed against your municipality.



  1. Overview of RLUIPA provisions
  2. Claims and litigation trends
    1. Principal claims
    2. Outcomes
  3. Recent interpretation and application of RLUIPA
    1. Holt v. Hobbs
    2. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby impact on RLUIPA claims
  4. Strategies for avoiding/addressing RLUIPA claims
  5. Defending against RLUIPA claims


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What types of claims are being raised in RLUIPA litigation and how have the courts responded?
  • What steps can local governments take to avoid RLUIPA challenges?
  • What strategies have been effective for municipalities in defending RLUIPA claims?


John F. X. Peloso, Jr.
John F. X. Peloso, Jr.

Robinson & Cole

Mr. Peloso practices in the firm's Business and Real Estate Litigation Groups. He is a trial...  |  Read More

Chaffee, Karla
Karla L. Chaffee

Robinson & Cole

Ms. Chaffee focuses her practice on land use litigation and transactions. She is a member of the firm’s Land Use...  |  Read More

Evan J. Seeman, Esq.
Evan J. Seeman, Esq.

Robinson & Cole

Mr. Seeman practices land use, environmental and municipal law. He advises clients on meeting requirements for land...  |  Read More

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