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Zoning Law and the Civil Rights Act

Church sues for damages due to a city's unconstitutional actions.

• New Jersey state appeals court confirmed that a church is entitled to monetary damages resulting from a city's denial of its constitutional right to religious freedom, but it refused to award any damages to a church whose rights were violated by a city's actions. A city arbitrarily denied a church's request for permission to construct a radio tower on its property, and the church sued the city for monetary damages under the federal Civil Rights Act which authorizes persons to collect money damages from those who violate their constitutional rights. The court concluded that the church was entitled "to recover such damages as it may prove." The church produced evidence of damages amounting to nearly $800,000, comprised mostly of the projected revenues it lost by not being able to broadcast programs for some four years during the lawsuit. The state appeals court concluded that the proper ...

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  • March 2, 1992