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Case Name Hollywood Synagogue v. City of Hollywood & U.S. v. City of Hollywood FA-FL-0001
Docket / Court 04-61212 ( S.D. Fla. )
Additional Docket(s) 05-60687  [ 05-60687 ]
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Case Summary
On September 15, 2004, a Hollywood synagogue filed a lawsuit under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C. §1983, and the Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("Florida RFRA"), against the City of Hollywood, FL. in the U.S. District Court, ... read more >
On September 15, 2004, a Hollywood synagogue filed a lawsuit under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C. §1983, and the Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("Florida RFRA"), against the City of Hollywood, FL. in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, Ft. Lauderdale division. The plaintiff, represented by private and public interest counsel, sought declaratory, injunctive, punitive, and compensatory relief, claiming that the City unequally and selectively applied zoning ordinances. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that defendant's treatment of plaintiff's special exception applications and defendant's action to prevent organized religious services from taking place on the plaintiff's property constituted discrimination on the basis of religion.

Plaintiff claimed that defendants treated its applications for special exemptions to local land use regulations differently because of its status as a religious institution. This alleged discrimination included, inter alia, adding unprecedented conditions to the granting of special exemptions, and seeking a permanent injunction in state court against defendants to prevent the use of the synagogue as a place of worship.

On April 26, 2005, the United States filed a complaint against Defendant City of Hollywood, requesting declaratory and injunctive relief based up on the City's alleged violation of RLUIPA.

On June 16, 2005, the Court (Judge Joan A. Lenard) consolidated both of the aforementioned cases, finding that they involved common questions of law and fact.

On May 10, 2006, the Court granted in part and denied in part defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint, dismissing plaintiffs' claims under Florida RFRA, along with some of the federal claims. The Court found that the City's alleged policy of harassment, selective enforcement, and retaliation was sufficient to constitute the moving force behind the plaintiff's injuries. Hollywood Community Synagogue, Inc. v. City of Hollywood, 430 F.Supp.2d 1296.

On June 26, 2006, the Court granted in part plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment, holding that the land ordinance was unconstitutional prior restraint on places of worship and that the City was liable under §1983. Hollywood Community Synagogue, Inc. v. City of Hollywood, 436 F.Supp.2d 1325.

On June 27, 2006, the Court granted in part and denied in part defendants' motions for summary judgment. The Court denied the motion in regards to all of the plaintiffs' claims, except for their Substantive Due Process claims as they relate to equitable estoppel.

On July 6, 2006, additional individuals filed a motion to intervene claiming the future Consent Decree would violate their due process and enjoyment of property rights. The motion was denied on July 7, 2006 because the court found it was untimely and the parties lacked a significant legal interest in the matter. 2006 WL 8431503.

On July 7, 2006, the court approved and entered a consent decree. The consent order barred the City from violating RLUIPA, decreed that future new procedures regarding religious land-use applications must be provided to the Department of Justice, and determined that each application will be reviewed de novo by the Developmental Review Board Hearing. The decree also ordered public and online signage declaring that the city does not discriminate against religious exercise in violation of RLUIPA. The City would also provide training to its employees on the requirements of RLUIPA. To remedy past actions in this case, the City agreed to allow the plaintiff to operate as a house of worship in perpetuity and make additional zoning concessions [PLEASE BE MORE SPECIFIC, SEE 380]. Additionally, the defendants were required to pay the plaintiffs $2,000,000 for all fees and costs. The duration of this order was 5 years after the date of its entry, or 3 years after the City's new special exception procedures take effect, whichever is later. The case was dismissed with prejudice and all pending motions were denied as moot.

On August 4, 2006, the parties' whose motion to intervene was denied appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal.

On January 18, 2008, the Eleventh Circuit found the District Court was correct in finding the appellant's motion for intervention was untimely. As such their appeal was dismissed with prejudice. 254 Fed.Appx. 769.

On May 29, 2009, St. Gregorios Orthodox Church of India, Inc. filed a post judgment emergency motion to intervene. This motion was denied because of they were instructed to open a new claim against the defendants.

The injunction has now run its course and there has been no further litigation. The case is presumed closed.

Timothy Shoffner - 05/31/2012
Rachel June-Graber - 02/15/2016
Taylor Brook - 03/08/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief granted
Religion discrimination
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Defendant(s) City of Hollywood, Forida
Plaintiff Description The United States Department of Justice Housing and Civil Enforcement Section on behalf of the Hollywood Community Synagogue, and the Hollywood Community Synagogue.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2007 - 2012
Filed 09/15/2004
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
0:05-cv-60687-JAL (S.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
0:04-cv-61212-JAL (S.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0001-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/07/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
FA-FL-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2005
Omnibus Order [ECF# 272] (430 F.Supp.2d 1296) (S.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0001-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/10/2006
Order Granting Plaintiff Hollywood Community Synagogue's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (436 F.Supp.2d 1325) (S.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0001-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/26/2006
Source: Google Scholar
Omnibus Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant City of Hollywood's Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 372] (S.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/27/2006
Plaintiff's Notice [of filing the stipulation for entry of consent decree] [ECF# 380]
FA-FL-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/06/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Order [ECF# 385]
FA-FL-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/07/2006
USCA Mandate [Ct. of App. ECF# 399] (254 Fed.Appx. 769)
FA-FL-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/15/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Barkett, Rosemary (Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
Cox, Emmett Ripley (S.D. Ala., Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
Erba, Andrew F. Court not on record show/hide docs
Klein, Theodore (S.D. Fla.) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-0002 | FA-FL-0001-0003
Lenard, Joan A. (S.D. Fla.) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-0002 | FA-FL-0001-0003 | FA-FL-0001-0006 | FA-FL-0001-9000 | FA-FL-0001-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-0001 | FA-FL-0001-0004
Gonzales, Alberto (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Gordon, Jason (Florida) show/hide docs
Hagler, Tamar (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-0004 | FA-FL-0001-9000
Jimenez, Marcos Daniel (Florida) show/hide docs
Keveney, Sean R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-0001 | FA-FL-0001-0004 | FA-FL-0001-0006 | FA-FL-0001-9000 | FA-FL-0001-9001
Lindsey, Marilynn Koonce (Florida) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-0004 | FA-FL-0001-9000 | FA-FL-0001-9001
Maurer, Michael S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-0001 | FA-FL-0001-0004 | FA-FL-0001-9000 | FA-FL-0001-9001
Piccolo, Nannette (Florida) show/hide docs
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-0001 | FA-FL-0001-0004 | FA-FL-0001-9000 | FA-FL-0001-9000
Zemel, Franklin L. (Florida) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-0006 | FA-FL-0001-0007 | FA-FL-0001-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Boyd, William T. (Florida) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-0006 | FA-FL-0001-9001
Garcia, Joseph Ashley (Florida) show/hide docs
Hess, Chad Brandon (Florida) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-0006 | FA-FL-0001-9000 | FA-FL-0001-9001 | FA-FL-0001-9001
Krevans, Scott Darryl (Florida) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-9000 | FA-FL-0001-9001
Lyons, Tracy Ann (Florida) show/hide docs
McCausland, Thomas Jeffrey (Florida) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-0004 | FA-FL-0001-0006 | FA-FL-0001-9000 | FA-FL-0001-9001
Mustelier, Carlos E Jr (Florida) show/hide docs
Oldershaw, Robert Matthew (Florida) show/hide docs
FA-FL-0001-9000 | FA-FL-0001-9001 | FA-FL-0001-9001
Yarbrough, Alexis Marie (Florida) show/hide docs

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