Kahle v. One Love Ministries

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Monday, April 07, 2014

Description:  Two atheists have falsely accused two Hawaii churches represented by Alliance Defending Freedom of defrauding the government in a lawsuit filed in state court. The lawsuit claims the churches committed fraud by paying substandard rent to the public schools in which they meet even though the school districts themselves agree that the churches have consistently paid all agreed-upon rents. The atheists, Mitchell Kahle and Holly Huber, filed their suit under the state’s False Claims Act. The law allows “whistleblowers” with inside information to expose fraudulent billing by government contractors; however, the lawsuit fails to cite a single instance in which the churches submitted a false statement to defraud the government. The existence of a false claim is a necessary element of a False Claims Act complaint. Kahle and Huber also fail to meet several other requirements of the law.


ADF asks court to dismiss renewed attack on Hawaii churches

Atheists again falsely accuse Oahu congregations of fraud for paying agreed-upon rent for use of school buildings
Monday, April 07, 2014

Attorney sound bites:  Erik Stanley  |  James Hochberg

HONOLULU — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing two Hawaii churches asked a state court this week to dismiss a renewed lawsuit that two atheists have filed against the congregations. The atheists are once again falsely accusing the two churches, One Love Ministries and Calvary Chapel Central Oahu, of defrauding the government even though the court dismissed their claims earlier this year.

The new suit again claims the churches committed fraud by paying substandard rent to the public schools in which they meet even though the school districts agree that the churches have consistently paid all agreed-upon rents. In January, the court found that atheists Mitchell Kahle and Holly Huber failed to sufficiently allege any evidence of fraud.

“Congregations serving the neediest in their communities deserve better than trumped-up accusations stemming from a clear hostility to churches and an appalling ignorance of the law,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “These churches have been completely honest and have paid all required rent to the schools. The court rightly threw out this lawsuit and its invented claims against our clients in January, and we are asking the court to do so again.”

“These churches are the polar opposite of how the atheists in this lawsuit are characterizing them,” added co-counsel James Hochberg of Honolulu, one of nearly 2,300 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom. “Not only have these congregations faithfully paid all of their rent, they’ve given even more in service and funding to the schools and communities they love.”

Kahle and Huber filed their original suit with Hawaii’s Circuit Court of the First Circuit under the state’s False Claims Act. The law allows “whistleblowers” with inside information to expose fraudulent billing by government contractors; however, the lawsuit failed to sufficiently allege that the churches submitted any false statement to defraud the government.

The court allowed Kahle and Huber to amend their complaint within 45 days of the dismissal order if they believed they could sufficiently allege any violation of the False Claims Act. Although the two did file an amended complaint in Kahle v. One Love Ministries, the Alliance Defending Freedom motion to dismiss explains that the lawsuit still fails to demonstrate any fraud.

The brief in support of the motion explains that Kahle and Huber “have filed a lengthy Amended Complaint but have still not stated a claim upon which relief can be granted. Their Complaint is jurisdictionally barred by the Hawaii False Claims Act and should be dismissed….”
 
  • Pronunciation guide: Hochberg (HOAK’-burg)
 
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
 
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Additional resources: Kahle v. One Love Ministries

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Monday, April 07, 2014

Previous news releases:

  • 2014-02-13: ADF will continue vigorous defense of Hawaii churches
  • 2014-01-10: Hawaii churches prevail against atheists’ baseless lawsuit
  • 2013-12-18: Hawaii churches in court Thursday to seek dismissal of atheists’ baseless lawsuit
  • 2013-10-10: Hawaii churches ask court to dismiss atheists’ baseless lawsuit

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