United States Seventh Circuit

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World Outreach Conference Center v. City of Chicago, 08-4167

In a consolidated case involving the rights of religious organizations to avoid having to comply with local land-use regulations, dismissal of the suits is affirmed in part and reversed in part where: 1) the district court erred in dismissing World Outreach's substantial-burden claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, as the burden imposed on a small religious organization catering to the poor was substantial and there was no possible justification for it; 2) a deliberate, irrational discrimination, even if it is against one person rather than a group, is actionable under the equal protection clause, and as this claim is supported by the allegations of Outreach's complaint, it should not have been dismissed; 3) Outreach's claim for damages for violation of the Chicago Zoning Ordinance is barred by the state's tort immunity act and therefore was properly dismissed; 4) dismissal of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church's claim is affirmed as the burden imposed on Trinity, a substantial religious organization, by the landmark designation that disables it from demolishing the apartment house is modest as the building has not been rendered uninhabitable by the designation.

Appellate Information

  • Argued 10/30/2009
  • Decided 12/30/2009
  • Published 12/30/2009


  • POSNER, Circuit Judge., Before CUDAHY, POSNER, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.


  • United States Seventh Circuit


  • For Appellant:
  • John W. Mauck (argued), Mauck & Baker, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiffs-Appellants., Mark B. Stern, Lowell Sturgill, Jr. (argued), Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Intervening Appellant., Paul A. Lewis (argued), Miller, Hall & Triggs, Peoria, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

  • For Appellees:
  • J. Mark Powell (argued), City of Chicago Law Department, Chicago, IL, for Defendant-Appellee., Randall Ray (argued), City of Peoria, Peoria, IL, for Defendant-Appellee.
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