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Case summaryEdit

STATE OF OREGON Plaintiff, v. CITY OF RAJNEESHPURAM, a putative Oregon municipal corporation; WASCO COUNTY, a political subdivision of the State of Oregon; ROBERT M. BROWN, Sheriff of Wasco County; RAJNEESH FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL, a New Jersey corporation; RAJNEESH INVESTMENT CORPORATION, an Oregon corporation; RAJNEESH NEO-SANNYAS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNE, an Oregon corporation; MA ANAND SHEELA, individually; SWAMI PREM JAYANANDA, MA YOGA VIDYA, SWAMI KRISHNA DEVA, MA PREM ARCHAN, SWAMI DEVA SANDESH, MA PREM PATIPADA, MA DEVA JAYAMALA, MA SAT PRABODHI, MA PREM RIKTA, individually and as representatives of the class of all current residents of the City of Rajneeshpuram; Defendants

Civil No. 84-359 FR

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF OREGON

1984 U.S. Dist.

December 7, 1984, Decided and Filed


CASE SUMMARY

PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Plaintiff State of Oregon filed suit against defendants, a putative city, a county, the county sheriff, a foundation, a corporation, and all current residents of the city. In the suit, the State of Oregon challenged the validity of the city. The city and related defendants (city defendants) filed a motion for judicial notice of certain pleadings filed in state court and a motion to reconsider the earlier denial of a motion to dismiss the action.

OVERVIEW: The court granted the motion for judicial notice of the state court pleadings, which indicated that the county took a position that the city was invalid for land use purposes and that certain land use, planning, and zoning decisions should be declared null and void. In their motion for reconsideration, the city defendants argued that the court overlooked harm to their First Amendment rights if the city were declared invalid. The city defendants argued that, if the city were declared invalid, the state land use laws would no longer permit substantial, urban-type development at the site of the city. The court denied the motion for reconsideration. The court reasoned that, even assuming land use implications if the city were declared invalid, that fact did not negate the possibility of an Establishment Clause violation as alleged by the State of Oregon. Thus, the complaint was not dismissed. But the court acknowledged that, if defendants had First Amendment rights to engage in unincorporated urban-type development, state land use laws must give way to First Amendment rights, rather than the federal interest embodied in the Establishment Clause giving way to state land use laws.

OUTCOME: The court granted the city defendants' motion for judicial notice of the state court pleadings filed by the county but denied the city defendants' motion for reconsideration of the court's earlier order, which denied their motion to dismiss the State of Oregon's complaint.


COUNSEL: [*1] Dave Frohnmayer, Attorney General, William F. Gary, Deputy Attorney General, John A. Reuling, Jr., Special Counsel, Robert W. Muir, Asst. Attorney General, Margaret Rabin, Asst. Attorney General, Justice Building, for Plaintiff.

Ma Prem Sangeet, Rajneesh Legal Services Corporation, Swami Prem Niren, Robert D. Durham, for Defendants.

OPINION BY: FRYE

OpinionEdit

OPINION

FRYE, Judge:

OPINION AND ORDER

The matters before the court are defendants' motion for judicial notice and motion for reconsideration.

Motion for judicial noticeEdit

MOTION FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

The Rajneeshee defendants have moved the court to take judicial notice of certain pleadings filed in Wasco County Circuit Court. These pleadings indicate that Wasco County takes the position that the City of Rajneeshpuram is invalid for land use purposes and that certain land use, planning, and zoning decisions heretofore taken should be declared null and void. HN1The court has discretion as to whether to consider matters outside the pleadings in ruling on a motion to dismissal. See 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1366 at 678 (1969). Matters of public record may be taken into account. Id., § 1357 at 593. Defendants' motion for judicial [*2] notice will be granted.

Motion for reconsiderationEdit

MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

The defendants next move the court to reconsider its earlier denial of the motion to dismiss the State of Oregon's claim. The thrust of defendants' argument is that this court undervalued the potential harm to defendants' first amendment rights if the City of Rajneeshpuram is declared invalid because the court failed to take into account certain land use implications of the invalidation. If the City of Rajneeshpuram is declared invalid as a city, defendants argue that the state land use laws will no longer permit substantial, urban-type development at the site of the City. Defendants argue that the court must consider this fact in balancing the defendants' first amendment rights against the harm to the Establishment Clause resulting from the incorporation of the City of Rajneeshpuram. Defendants argue that after such consideration, the constitutionality of the City of Rajneeshpuram must be upheld even assuming the facts of the State's complaint are true, and hence that the complaint should be dismissed. However, even assuming that there will be land use implications if the City of Rajneeshpuram is declared invalid, this fact [*3] does not negate the possibility of an Establishment Clause violation under the facts as alleged by the State of Oregon. This court does not know the extent to which defendants may have first amendment rights to engage in unincorporated urban-type development despite state land use laws. However, the court agrees with the State of Oregon's argument that if such rights exist, state land use laws must give way to defendants' federal first amendment rights, rather than the federal interest embodied in the Establishment Clause giving way to state land use laws.

OrderEdit

NOW THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. defendants' motion for judicial notice is GRANTED;

2. defendants' motion for reconsideration is DENIED;

3. the order staying discovery is hereby VACATED.



 

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).