Marianist Province of the United States; St. John Vianney High School, Inc. Plaintiffs-Appellants
City of Kirkwood; Board of Adjustment of the City of Kirkwood Defendants-Appellees
Submitted: September 26, 2019
from United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Missouri - St. Louis.
GRUENDER, BENTON, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
Gruender, Circuit Judge.
Province of the United States and St. John Vianney High
School, Inc. (collectively, "Vianney") appeal the
district court's summary judgment rulings on their
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
("RLUIPA") claims, 42 U.S.C. §§
2000cc(b)(1) and 2000cc(a)(1), Missouri Religious Freedom
Restoration Act ("Missouri RFRA") claim, Mo. Rev.
Stat. § 1.302.1, and inverse condemnation claim under
Missouri's Constitution, Mo. Const. art. I, § 26. We
affirm the district court's grant of summary judgment
regarding Vianney's RLUIPA claims and inverse
condemnation claim but vacate and remand the grant of summary
judgment regarding the Missouri RFRA claim with instructions
to dismiss that claim without prejudice.
is an all-male Marianist high school that has operated in the
City of Kirkwood, Missouri since 1960. Vianney is a leasehold
owner of the school property pursuant to a long-term lease
with Marianist Province. The school's mission statement
provides that it is "dedicated to forming young men for
spiritual, academic and personal excellence in the Catholic,
Marianist tradition." Vianney states that its students
and faculty use all of its approximately thirty-seven-acre
property as a forum to evangelize by drawing people to the
campus and sharing their faith. Student athletes and coaches
pray before every athletic event and practice.
school campus includes classroom buildings, a track, an
outdoor football and soccer stadium, and a sports field used
primarily for baseball. Vianney's track, football, and
soccer facility is equipped with lights and a sound system
that were installed before 2012. The baseball field is
bordered by residential homes and has been used to play
baseball and other sports without lights for decades.
Vianney's efforts, from 2012 to 2016, to install lights
and an updated sound system on this baseball field form the
basis of this dispute.
2012, Kirkwood's zoning code did not contain any lighting
regulations. In November 2012, Kirkwood adopted a revised
zoning code that included new regulations limiting the
maximum level of light a property owner can cast onto nearby
residential properties to 0.1 foot-candles. The stated
purpose of the 2012 regulations was to "strike a balance
of safety and aesthetics by providing lighting regulations
that protect drivers and pedestrians from glare and reduce .
. . the trespass of artificial lighting onto neighboring
properties." Kirkwood also has sound regulations that
prohibit "loud, unnecessary noises" that
"unreasonably or unnecessarily disturb . . . the
comfort, repose, health, peace, or safety of others in the
began the process of installing lights on its baseball field
in late 2014. In 2015, contractors told the school that no
lighting configuration could both comply with the lighting
regulations and be bright enough to play baseball safely at
night. Vianney therefore applied for a variance from the
regulations. Kirkwood's city planner told Vianney it did
not need a variance, mistakenly thinking the baseball field
already had lights. In October 2015, Vianney submitted a site
plan for its improvements to the baseball field, which
Kirkwood approved. Vianney then installed the lights at a
cost in excess of $235, 000. In January 2016, Vianney also
installed an updated sound system on its baseball field.
the lights were installed and tested, neighbors complained.
Vianney submitted another site plan in 2016, which the city
approved subject to several conditions on the use of the
lights and sound system. Vianney took issue with the
conditions, claiming they deprived it of all meaningful use
of its baseball field at night.
Vianney and the local public high school, Kirkwood High
School ("KHS"), have football stadiums that are
used for other sports, such as soccer, and were equipped with
lights and sound systems before 2012. Both parties
acknowledge that the city "grandfathered in" the
lights on both schools' football fields after the
lighting regulations were adopted, allowing unrestricted use
of the lights and sound systems on those fields. Both high
schools also have baseball fields that were not equipped with
lights before 2012, and KHS has not installed lights on its
January 2017, Vianney filed a petition against Kirkwood in
state court, alleging two claims under RLUIPA, a claim under
the Missouri RFRA statute, and inverse condemnation under
Missouri's Constitution. Kirkwood removed the case to
federal court based on Vianney's RLUIPA claims.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Both Vianney and Kirkwood
moved for summary judgment. In September 2018, the district
court granted summary judgment to Kirkwood, which Vianney now
review a grant of summary judgment de novo. Ball
v. City of Lincoln, 870 F.3d 722, 726 (8th Cir. 2017).
"Summary judgment is proper if the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact . . . ." Torgerson v. City of
Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc)
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56). "Where the record taken as a
whole could not ...