Oral Argument Before the Intermediate Court of Appeals
CAAP-14-0001343, Friday, May 19, 2017,
THE STATE OF HAWAII, Plaintiff-Appellee, and Ex. Rel., MITCHELL KAHLE and HOLLY HUBER, Plaintiffs/Relators-Appellees, vs. ONE LOVE MINISTRIES and CALVARY CHAPEL CENTRAL OAHU, Defendants-Appellants, and DOE ENTITIES 1-50, JOHN DOES 1-50, AND JANE DOES 1-50, Defendants.
The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:
Supreme Court Courtroom
Aliʻiolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Attorneys for Defendants-Appellants:
James Hochberg and Jeremiah Galus
Attorneys for Plaintiffs/Relators-Appellees:
James J. Bickerton and Stephen M. Tannenbaum
COURT: Nakamura, C.J., Reifurth and Chan, JJ.
Plaintiffs/Realtors-Appellees Mitchell Kahle and Holly Huber (collectively, Realtors) brought a qui tam action on behalf of the State of Hawaiʻi (State) against Defendants-Appellants One Love Ministries and Calvary Chapel Central Oahu (collectively, Defendants), alleging violations of the Hawaiʻi False Claims Act (HFCA), Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 661-21 et seq., arising out of Defendants’ alleged underpayment for their use of public school facilities for church services and special events.
Defendants moved to dismiss the Realtors’ First Amended Complaint, arguing, among other things, that the Realtors’ claims should be dismissed pursuant to the HFCA’s public disclosure bar because the claims were based on publicly disclosed information and because the Realtors were not an original source of the information. The Circuit Court of the First Circuit (Circuit Court) denied the Defendants’ motion to dismiss, and it authorized an interlocutory appeal of its decision.
On appeal, Defendants argue that the Circuit Court erred in: (1) holding that the HFCA’s public disclosure bar, as amended in 2012, is an affirmative defense rather than a jurisdictional bar; (2) applying the 2012 amendments to the HFCA retroactively to conduct that occurred prior to the amendment; (3) failing to dismiss the First Amended Complaint pursuant to the HFCA’s public disclosure bar; and (4) ruling that Realtors were “original sources” of information under the HFCA and thus exempt from the public disclosure bar.