Major Victory for Religious Freedom as CUPON Falls from Grace

Major Victory for Religious Freedom as CUPON Falls from Grace

by M.C. Millman 

Ateres Bais Yaakov Academy of Rockland and Citizens United to Protect our Neighborhoods (CUPON), along with CUPON of Greater Nanuet (COGN), reached a settlement in which it has ceased to operate and will be dissolved, securing a huge victory for religious freedom for Nanuet and beyond. 

The demise of CUPON Inc and COGN is a direct result of the case bearing the docket number 20-CV-1399 (NSR)brought by Ateres in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on February 18, 2020. The court case was resolved in April of this year, as reported by Rockland Daily here.

Ateres was awarded $2,016.80 from CUPON, and it must delete all social media accounts together with COGN. Additionally, CUPON Rockland President Gorden Wren and CUPON Founder Micheal Miller are not allowed to revive any organization resembling CUPON under any name.

Weil attorneys who achieved legal victory for the pro bono case they accepted on behalf of Ateres Bais Yaakov were rightfully proud of their win. 

"This important success closes the book on CUPON's and COGN's activities," Weil partner Yehudah Buchweitz, who led the Firm's pro bono team, says in a press release from Weil. "We are very proud to have represented Ateres Bais Yaakov Academy of Rockland in this matter. This case is, unfortunately, one of many instances where local residents work with a municipality to try to keep religious minorities from moving in or practicing their religion freely. This is America, and people should be permitted to live, worship, and go to school wherever they choose, regardless of their religious affiliation. Most importantly, this case sends a clear message to everyone across New York and beyond that we will continue to root out and fight against discrimination."

The Weil team, which worked for Ateres Bais Yaakov pro bono, included retired partner and senior pro bono counsel Robert Sugarman, Yehudah Buchweitz, and associates Mark Pinkert, Yonatan Shefa, Nicolas Lee, Liora Schiff, Sarah Schnorrenberg, Adena Kleiner, Shai Berman, Josef Trachtenberg, Daniel Lifton, Blake Steinberg, Ben Apfel, and Avi Snider. The Agudath Israel of America and the Anti-Defamation League filed amicus briefs in support of Ateres.

"Religious freedom has long been a building block in this country, starting with our Founding Fathers and continuing through today," Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder shares with Rockland Daily. "CUPON has long been a thorn in the side of those who advocate for religious freedom. It is only fair that an organization that has hindered religious advocates for too long should be removed. This is a good day for Rockland County."

"Ateres' victory in its lawsuit is bittersweet," Rockland County Legislator Itamar Yeger shares exclusively with Rockland Daily. "It is one of many examples of 'justice delayed is justice denied'. While I rejoice in the demise of the original CUPON and its Nanuet branch, the damage all CUPONS have done is enormous. They are all, at best, obviously anti-religious organizations whose very existence offends the religious freedoms our Founding Fathers fought for.  In this case, Ateres should have been allowed to build and operate its school right away instead of losing the property in Clarkstown. All the defendants in this matter, and the elected and self-appointed individuals who ran the defendant organizations, should all be ashamed of themselves for their obvious discrimination.  Let's hope this matter serves as a lesson to others not to offend our Constitutional freedoms."

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