Central UTA | Cases | First Liberty

FIRST LIBERTY LEGAL ACTION

First Liberty Institute partnered with Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP to file a federal lawsuit on behalf of an Orthodox Jewish day school, Central UTA of Monsey, alleging that government officials in the Village of Airmont, New York and the Suffern Central School District are engaged in a deliberate effort to dissuade Orthodox Jewish residents from staying in or moving to the Village of Airmont.

“Our clients just want to be treated fairly,” Hiram Sasser, General Counsel of First Liberty Institute said. “As Airmont officials should know by now, federal law prevents government officials from using discriminatory zoning schemes to drive people of faith away from, or underground in, the community.”

CASE HISTORY

The Village of Airmont was incorporated in 1991. The same year of its incorporation, the United States filed suit against the Village alleging that the town had been incorporated for the purpose of excluding Orthodox Jewish citizens through zoning restrictions on their places of worship. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District agreed. Then in 2008, the United States and different private plaintiffs sued the Village again. The dispute between the United States and the Village ended in a Consent Decree in which the Village promised the federal government that it would not use zoning laws to disrupt the religious exercise of the Orthodox Jewish community. That Consent Decree expired in 2011 and since then, the Village has returned to its old habits.

Central UTA owns 21 acres of property within the Village of Airmont that for nearly 20 years served as both a children’s school and day camp. The Village repeatedly granted approvals for the private, non-Orthodox groups to operate. However, since Central UTA purchased the property in 2016 and advised the Village of its plans to build new buildings, Village officials have repeatedly used discriminatory zoning tactics to prevent Central UTA from operating.

In a similar effort, the local school district, Suffern Central, denied Central UTA children transportation and special education services even though it provided these same services to the previous school.

Read more about our efforts in Airmont.

MOVING FORWARD

In January 2020, a federal judge released his opinion allowing our lawsuit on behalf of Central UTA of Monsey, against the Village of Airmont, NY and the Suffern Central School District to move forward.

“Our clients are thrilled that they will get their day in court,” said Keisha Russell, Counsel for First Liberty Institute.  “We are pleased that the judge dismissed the effort by both the Village of Airmont and the Suffern School District to avoid accountability for their discriminatory actions.”

News Release
For Immediate Release: 1.24.20
Contact: Lacey McNiel, media@firstliberty.org
Direct: 972-941-4453

Federal Judge Allows Lawsuit Against Village of Airmont, NY, Local School District to Move Forward
First Liberty Institute lawsuit alleges Village unlawfully denied local Jewish school use of its own property for religious purposes

Airmont, NY—United States District Court Judge Vincent Briccetti has released his opinion allowing a lawsuit filed by First Liberty Institute and Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP on behalf of an Orthodox Jewish school, Central UTA of Monsey, against the Village of Airmont, NY and the Suffern Central School District to move forward.

“Our clients are thrilled that they will get their day in court,” said Keisha Russell, Counsel for First Liberty Institute.  “We are pleased that the judge dismissed the effort by both the Village of Airmont and the Suffern School District to avoid accountability for their discriminatory actions.”

In denying motions to dismiss the lawsuit, Judge Briccetti concluded that Central UTA’s claims that both the Suffern Central School District and the Village of Airmont violated federal law can move forward to trial.  The judge is also allowing claims of conspiracy to move forward.

The lawsuit, filed in November 2018, alleges that government officials in the Village of Airmont, New York and the Suffern Central School District engaged in a deliberate effort to dissuade Orthodox Jewish residents from staying in or moving to the Village of Airmont.  Central UTA owns 21 acres of property within the Village of Airmont that for nearly 20 years served as both a children’s school and day camp.  The Village granted multiple approvals for the private, non-Orthodox school to operate. However, since Central UTA purchased the property in 2016 and advised the Village of its plans to build new buildings, Village officials have repeatedly used discriminatory zoning tactics to prevent Central UTA from operating.

In a similar effort, the local school district, Suffern Central, denied Central UTA children transportation and special education services even though it provided these same services to the previous school.

The judge’s opinion can be viewed here.

A separate lawsuit against the Village of Airmont for religious discrimination against Orthodox Jewish residents is still pending.

# # # 

About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at media@firstliberty.org or by calling 972-941-4453.

To download a copy of the news release, click here.


News Release – 11.29.18

Social Facebook Social Instagram Social Twitter Social Youtube Social Linkedin Social Soundcloud

Terms of UsePrivacy PolicySitemap • © 2020 Liberty Institute® is a trademark of First Liberty Institute