PJI Secures Major Settlement for Santa Clara County Churches

SAN JOSE, Calif.— Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) secured a six-figure damage award this month for five churches that were forcefully shut down by Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 public health orders.

On February 26, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court had granted PJI’s emergency writ of injunction in a 6-3 decision, ordering that the churches are allowed to open their doors to hold indoor worship services. The Supreme Court agreed with PJI that the County’s orders discriminated against churches by treating establishments such as grocery stores and airports more favorably.

After almost a year of negotiations, PJI reached a favorable settlement on behalf of the churches, successfully concluding PJI’s challenge of the County’s health orders that had banned all indoor church services.

“PJI doesn’t quit until justice is completely served, as evidenced by our unwavering challenge to the County’s reprehensible health orders and our completion of a major financial settlement for the churches,” Brad Dacus, founder and president of PJI, commented. “This is a classic illustration of what Benjamin Franklin meant when he coined the phrase ‘doing well by doing good.’ PJI protected the religious rights of the churches, and this victory manifests in the churches’ continued opportunities to ensure that peoples’ eternal destinies are secured—the best kind of remuneration.”