Howard M. Cooper and Benjamin J. Wish facilitated the settlement of a contentious dispute involving their client the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester and the Town of Dudley over the siting of an Islamic cemetery in that town.
The settlement will result in an initial six-acre cemetery with the right of the Islamic Society to expand after 10 years. While the project remains subject to final, routine governmental approvals, the settlement explicitly recognizes the religious use of the cemetery and the protections afforded that use under the law, including the limited scope of municipal review of projects involving a religious use.
Mr. Cooper and Mr. Wish were cooperating counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, which assisted the Islamic Society in this matter.
“The Town of Dudley is to be congratulated for agreeing to resolve this matter in a way which recognizes the right of all religious communities to practice their religion," Mr. Cooper said. "That right is fundamental to our society, and it has never been more important for all of us to insist that it be honored."
Mr. Cooper, a Founding Partner of the firm, regularly handles significant civil rights issues of public significance. He has over three decades of extensive trial practice in state and federal courts, before administrative agencies and licensing boards, and in arbitration in the areas of complex civil disputes and criminal defense.
Mr. Wish, an associate at the firm, concentrates his practice on complex commercial litigation and the criminal defense of healthcare professionals. He also represents clients in the defense of their First Amendment rights.