Youkhanna v. City of Sterling Heights

AFLC_STOP-Mosque-RevisedOn March 13, 2017, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Sterling Heights, Michigan, and its Mayor, Michael C. Taylor, alleging violations of federal and state law.  The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of seven residents of the City who oppose the construction of a Mosque in their largely Chaldean Christian neighborhood.

In February 2017, the City decided not to defend against the specious claims made by the American Islamic Community Center (AICC) in its lawsuit filed against the City in August 2016, but instead to enter into a Consent Judgment that granted AICC permission to build the Mosque even though doing so violated the City’s zoning ordinance.  The decision to enter into the Consent Judgment was made during a City Council meeting held on February 21, 2017.  During this meeting, the City Mayor engaged in conduct that AFLC alleges in its lawsuit violated the U.S. Constitution and the Michigan Open Meetings Act.

On March 10, 2017, the district court judge presiding over AICC’s federal lawsuit signed the Consent Judgment and closed the case.  By doing so, the judge effectively authorized the City to violate its zoning ordinance by allowing the construction of the Mosque.  AFLC’s lawsuit alleges that this was improper and is asking in its lawsuit that the court declare the Consent Judgment invalid and unenforceable.

CASE UPDATE: On March 17, 2017, AFLC filed a motion for preliminary injunction.  You can read our memorandum of law here and our reply to the City’s opposition here.

CASE UPDATE: On April 19, 2017, AFLC filed a response to the U.S. Government’s “Statement of Interest.”

CASE UPDATE: On April 19, 2017, AFLC filed a response to AICC’s “Brief of Amicus Curiae.”

CASE UPDATE: The hearing on our motion for a preliminary injunction is set for June 1, 2017 at 2 pm at the federal courthouse in Detroit, Michigan (NOTE: Court moved the hearing to June 20, 2017 at 3 pm).

CASE UPDATE: On June 14, 2017, we filed our response to the City’s supplemental brief.

CASE UPDATE: On June 28, 2017, the district court denied our motion for preliminary injunction.  We immediately appealed that order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

CASE UPDATE: On August 16, 2017, we filed our opening brief in the Sixth Circuit.

CASE UPDATE: On September 28, 2017, we filed our reply brief in the Sixth Circuit.

CASE UPDATE (March 2018): The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.  Read our motion here, our opposition here, and our reply here.

CASE UPDATE (September 18, 2018): We filed our opening brief in the Sixth Circuit.

CASE UPDATE (November 5, 2018): We filed our reply brief in the Sixth Circuit.

CASE UPDATE (August 14, 2019): a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court’s adverse ruling.

CASE UPDATE (August 23, 2019): We filed a petition for rehearing en banc, requesting that the entire Sixth Circuit take up this important case and reverse the precedent-setting errors of the three-judge panel.