Hawaii churches in court Thursday to seek dismissal of atheists’ baseless lawsuit

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys available to media following hearing
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Attorney sound bites:  Erik Stanley  |  James Hochberg

WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley and allied attorney James Hochberg
WHAT: Available for media interviews following hearing on motion to dismiss filed in Kahle v. New Hope International Ministries
WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 19, immediately following hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. HAST
WHERE: Hawaii First Circuit Court, 777 Punchbowl St., Honolulu

HONOLULU — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys will be available for media interviews following a hearing Thursday concerning their motion to dismiss a lawsuit against two Oahu churches. The two churches are among five which two atheists have falsely accused of defrauding the government.

The suit 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.

“Churches who serve the neediest in their communities should be welcomed, not driven out by false accusations,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley, who will argue before the court Thursday. “This lawsuit’s claims are false and driven by an agenda that is hostile to churches. The undeniable fact is that these churches were at all times truthful and have paid all required rent to the schools.”

“These churches have not only faithfully paid all of their rent, they’ve sacrificially given much more in service and funding to the schools and communities they love,” added co-counsel James Hochberg of Honolulu, one of nearly 2,300 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom.

The atheists, Mitchell Kahle and Holly Huber, filed their suit, Kahle v. New Hope International Ministries, 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 fails to cite a single instance in which the churches submitted a false statement to defraud the government.

The motion to dismiss, filed in October on behalf of One Love Ministries and Calvary Chapel Central Oahu, explains that Kahle and Huber “have failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because they have not alleged and cannot allege that there were any false claims by One Love or Calvary Chapel. Because the existence of a false claim is a necessary element of a False Claims Act complaint, and because [Kahle’s and Huber’s] allegations, even if taken as true, demonstrate that no false claim exists (or can exist), their Complaint must be dismissed.”

The motion also explains that Hawaii’s False Claims Act requires that those bringing suit under the act be the original source of the information upon which they are filing suit and that the allegations be highly particular. The motion points out that Kahle and Huber do not meet either of these requirements.
 
  • 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.
 
# # # | Ref. 41684