The attorneys of Dalton & Tomich begin a federal jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego Tuesday in a suit that pits their client, an all-girls Catholic high school, against the City of San Diego.
The Academy of Our Lady of Peace is suing the City of San Diego in relation to the City Council’s March 2009 decision to deny two permits the Academy needed in order to complete a project to modernize its historic 80-year-old campus. OLP is the only all-girls, Catholic school in the entire county. Without the permits, the Academy is unable to modernize its campus in order to offer more classes necessary to gain admittance to colleges and universities. The decision of the City Council has also substantially burdened the Academy’s 350-year-old religious mission of educating young women in the Catholic faith.
OLP retained Dalton & Tomich last year and has charged the City with violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), as well as the Equal Protection Clause under both the U.S. and California constitutions. The school also sought review of the City Council decision under the state writ procedure.
Through depositions and additional discovery, attorneys for Dalton & Tomich learned that while all City staff and Planning Commissioners approved of OLP’s Modernization Plan, one City Councilmember led the charge to deny the permits to appease constituent complaints instead of following the law. In denying the permits, the City Council took the nearly unprecedented step of reversing the unanimous approval of the Planning Commission. The City has argued that the project permits were denied in order to comply with state environmental laws. After extensive discovery, the case culminates in a two-week jury trial beginning Tuesday.
The attorneys of Dalton & Tomich, PLC specialize in handling complex land use litigation around the nation, and in particular RLUIPA claims. If you believe your constitutional rights have been infringed with regard to land use or permitting matters, please contact Dalton & Tomich, PLC. The firm has handled similar legal matters in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, and California.
Please return over the coming days for updates on the trial and its outcome.
The attorneys of Dalton & Tomich, PLC have the experience and the knowledge to work with you to develop a legal solution that helps accomplish your goals. Our collaborative approach has helped leaders like you grow businesses and banks, develop and expand churches, and build nonprofit organizations nationwide.
In my role as Administrative Bishop for the Church of God, quite often we are faced with issues that involve local governments and municipalities. Many of these issues that arise in dealing with entities are land use related. I have found Dalton & Tomich’s experience and expertise in this area to be a valuable resource and asset in every situation.
Never one time during a year-long litigation process did Dalton & Tomich demonstrate anything other than Christ-like professionalism. They managed the legal details, while we continued to do church. How they managed themselves, managed our case, and represented our church set the table for me and our church to be where we are today.
Dalton & Tomich’s expertise and experience helped us through a very difficult legal journey, ultimately achieving a favorable outcome. Their personal interest in helping us went “above and beyond” just the call of duty.