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Mosque suit settlement talks make progress, will continue

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An artists rendition of the mosque proposed for 127 Fillow St. in West Norwalk.

NORWALK, Conn. – Settlement talks in the Al Madany mosque lawsuit against the city of Norwalk and the Zoning Commission are progressing and will continue, according to a document filed Friday, Feb. 28 in U.S. District Court.

According to the document, “The parties have made progress. They are encouraged to continue their efforts. Judge (Donna F.) Martinez will schedule another in-person settlement conference.”

The document was filed following a 45-minute telephone conference held Friday between representatives of the mosque and the city, with Martinez on the line.

The conference was a continuation of a 4½-hour in-person settlement conference held Feb. 10 with Martinez. On Feb. 11, Martinez ordered the parties to continue, and, on Feb. 19, a “joint motion for extension of discovery deadlines and for referral to magistrate judge for mediation” was filed.

“The Parties believe that an additional three-week extension of all current deadlines for the completion of discovery would enable them to focus on settlement and determine whether a settlement can be achieved in this case,” the motion read. “Thus, the Parties seek an extension of all current deadlines, including remaining expert disclosures and depositions, along with the deadlines for dispositive motions and the Joint Trial Memorandum. This requested extension should provide sufficient time for the Parties to focus on revised settlement proposals and prepare for the February 28, 2014 teleconference with Magistrate Judge Martinez.”

According to multiple sources close to the situation, the Al Madany legal team has agreed not to bill Al Madany if the suit is not successful. If Al Madany wins, the mosque’s legal bills must be paid by Norwalk. Either way, the sources said, Norwalk will be responsible for its own legal bills, which so far have topped $267,000, with more invoices to come.

The suit is the result of the denial by the Zoning Commission of an application to put a mosque at 127 Fillow St. in West Norwalk. The Al Madany Islamic Center subsequently sued in federal court, claiming religious discrimination.

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