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Zoning Commission to discuss Al Madany suit in closed session

NORWALK, Conn. – A special meeting of the Norwalk Zoning Commission has been called for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 3, to discuss developments in the Al Madany lawsuit against the commission and the city.

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

According to the agenda posted on the city website, the commission will go into executive session immediately following the roll call and adjourn after the session ends. There is no public update scheduled.

The agenda states the reason for the session is to “Discuss pending litigation: A. #12-11sp – Al Madany Islamic Center – Mosque and multipurpose hall – 127 Fillow Street”

The court has ordered everyone connected to the case not to discuss it with anyone, so no details are available.

The meeting follows a March 28 settlement conference before Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford. According to court documents, intervenor-defendant Stonegate Condominum Association Inc. was to attend the session ordered by Martinez.

It was the third settlement conference in the past two months. The two sides met in person for more than four hours Feb. 11, then took part in a 45-minute phone conference Feb. 28. On March 13, an “order setting Settlement Conference for 3/28/2014 at 2:30 PM before Judge Donna F. Martinez in her Chambers, Room 262, 450 Main St., Hartford, CT” was posted to the U.S. District Court website.

While the court postings have indicated progress toward a settlement, the judge and the attorneys for both sides are also taking the long view. There were two posts dated March 17 and 18 dealing with extensions for deadlines regarding trial preparations:

“Set Deadlines: Discovery due by 8/8/2014; Dispositive Motions due by 8/29/2014 (Johnson, D.) (Entered: 03/18/2014)”

“ORDER. The parties’ 212 Joint Motion for Extension of Time is GRANTED, and the deadlines set forth in the 212 Motion are hereby adopted. Fact discovery shall be completed by May 19, 2014; expert discovery shall be completed by August 8, 2014; dispositive motions shall be filed by August 29, 2014. The Joint Trial Memorandum shall be due within 45 days of the Court’s ruling on any dispositive motions. In light of this Order, the 209 Motion for Extension of Time is DENIED AS MOOT. Signed by Judge Michael P. Shea on 3/17/2014. (Best, Z) (Entered: 03/17/2014)”

Those deadlines indicate that, should the case go to trial, it might not be until at least late October or early November.

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