Indianapolis Pastor May Have RLUIPA Claim Against City's Zoning Decisions

Monday, December 03, 2018 6:26 am
December 2018 - Volume 46 Number 12

Toby Digrugilliers v. Consolidated City of Indianapolis , No. 07-1358, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 25357 (Oct. 30, 2007)

Facts: A federal court of appeals left open the door for a pastor’s religious discrimination suit against the City of Indianapolis. The court allowed the pastor’s preliminary injunction claim to proceed, reversing an adverse ruling from a district court judge.

Toby Digrugilliers (Digrugilliers), pastor of the Baptist Church of the West Side, led a small congregation in a leased building located in a part of Indianapolis zoned “C-1.”The City of Indianapolis Zoning Code (Code) forbade religious uses in C-1 districts absent a zoning variance. The Code noted that C-1 districts were commercial districts intended as buffers between residential districts and entirely commercial or industrial districts.

After learning of his activities, the City of Indianapolis (City) told Digrugilliers that he would either have to obtain a variance or move his church. The pastor responded by bringing suit on the church’s behalf instead.