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James huntsman (jon's brother) sues church for 'fraud'


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2 hours ago, Analytics said:

Write your congressman and demand they double your taxes! 

I want them to cut spending, not increase taxes. :)

2 hours ago, Analytics said:

The whistleblower says, "I learned that the [Church] brings in around $7 billion per year in tithing donations and stockpiles $1–$2 billion in its reserves each year." That means it is saving between 14% and 28% per year.

As I mentioned, that is not a factual statement.  It is a guess based on someone else's guess.  The whistleblower does not know how much the church brings in.

But the whistleblower document, does give us some fairly good numbers on much the Church is contributing to EPA.  In Exhibit L, it says that during the EPA years (1995-2012), the fund had a growth rate 10.8%, with 3.4% being contributions, 6.6% being policy mix, and 0.8% being managers.  So the Church contributed 31.5% of the growth.  Then in Exhibit K, it shows how large the fund was during all of those years.  In 1995 it was roughly $8 billion and in 2012 it was roughly $47 billion.  So that's a growth of $39 billion.  The amount contributions would then be 31.5%*39 = 12.8.  So over 18 years, EPA received $12.8 billion from the Church.  In Exhibit Q.4, the whistleblower runs some calculations to break that down into yearly amounts.  It starts with 1996 and extrapolates to 2019.  In 2012, the contribution amount is roughly $1.47 billion.  By 2019, the contribution amount is extrapolated to be roughly $2.96 billion.

That tells us the amount of contribution, but it doesn't tell us the amount of tithing the Church receives.  In 2012, someone attempted to calculate the amount of tithing using records from countries that require disclosure.  The amount was $7 billion.  See https://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/mormon-church-earns-7-billion-year-tithing-analysis-indicates-flna939844 (I had mentioned this earlier in this conversation).

If we assume that the NBC report and the whistleblower's calculations are correct, then in 2012 the Church received $7 billion in tithing and contributed $1.47.  That would be 20% that year.  But can we assume that in 2019?  Because in 2019, the whistleblower's calculations are showing $2.96 billion in contributions.  If that is 20% of the tithing, then the Church would have received $14.8 billion in tithing.

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8 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:

 

5.  They think there's something wrong with accumulating money, when in fact the NT reports on bequests to the Church.

The church must feel there is something wrong with accumulating wealth to that level. The fund manager admitted the church concealed it because the membership may stop paying tithing. 
 

why would they (members) stop? I’d like to hear what their reason was. 

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4 hours ago, Analytics said:

Yes. The question is whether the specific dollars spent on the mall and insurer are really "tithing dollars." I find that question to be religious, nonlegal, nonsensical, and irrelevant to the case.

If the judge ever writes something to the effect, "This court rules that the dollars spent on the mall and insurer were NOT tithing dollars," I'll feel inclined to eat my hat.

Based on my layman understanding of the law, if I were on the jury I'd boil this down to two questions.

1- Was the church being deceitful to its members when it said "tithing dollars" would not be used?

2- If so, was Huntsman's decision to pay tithing predicated on this deceit?

My answers to those questions are yes on question 1, no on question 2. Victory to the defendant.

But that's just me.

What's me and I think most members who understand the principle of tithing correctly,  is that I don't care if it was tithing dollars or not. It was still put to good use and it was never my money in the first place.
 

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5 hours ago, mgy401 said:

1.  In the same paragraph you complain about the Church ripping people off through valueless products and then complain that the Church actually made sure that the products did indeed have value so that the customers got their money’s worth.

In short—you are raving.

they should make good don it, but why use an honest tithepayers donation to offset mismanagement and perhaps even corruption? 
 

 

5 hours ago, mgy401 said:

2.   American tithes prop up the operations of the Church in the third world (and much of the first world), not the reverse.

yea we all know that.

 

5 hours ago, mgy401 said:

3.  Cool numbers, bro.  Now give the futures on what percentage of tithing receipts come from those same demographics.  
 

oh so the mission field is only gonna get blessed if they start paying more? That is the Mormon way. 
 

 

5 hours ago, mgy401 said:

And:  a private nonprofit college costs $30-40K per student per year.  Very, very few of BYU’s (or any university’s) student body could come up with that kind of cash. 
 

so they don’t have enough money to go to a secular school so we take funds from people who are arguably starving and subsidize the tuition of kids in the Morridor? Sounds about right. The church out to put that on the website and lust it as one of the more awesome things they do with tithing.

5 hours ago, mgy401 said:

4.  I have it on excellent authority that Jesus is duly pleased with what the Church has done.  What He thinks about uninformed, untrue, bile-filled accusations, on the other hand . . . 

What untruth did I write?

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2 hours ago, webbles said:

If we assume that the NBC report and the whistleblower's calculations are correct, then in 2012 the Church received $7 billion in tithing and contributed $1.47. 

Big “if” on the whistleblower imo…found the info I remember:

page 20 of the exposé

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The COP is famously tight lipped about what its total tithes and donations are, but one EPA senior leader suspected in 2019 that they are $6–$7 billion annually....

Page 37

Quote

An apologist might argue that because the COP does spend maybe $5–6billion per year—how would anyone know?—on the church budget (including for-profit business, religious functions, and educational institutions)...

Page 49

Quote

The above figures for 2019 are discussed on line 333(page 20)and footnote xx(page 25).Again, these numbers are unconfirmed.

Quoting myself because why do the work again…

Quote

The above figures won't copy, but were $7 billion for annual tithing, $1billion for tithing surplus given to EPA and $200 billion for total assets (used in a formula to determine activity rate of the fund if I understand correctly).  So he keeps putting numbers up as if they mean something even though he himself says they can't be confirmed.  He uses the phrase "if forced to guess" based on adjustment of others' estimates and "sparse internal information" in footnote xx.

The line 333 "discussion" is the "senior leader suspected" partial sentence quoted above.

While he shows extensive calculation of what he thinks should be taxes paid and charity dispensed, I can't find where he comes up with using the four estimates of Reuters, Time, Bloomberg, and Newsweek to come up with his $200.  

It seems to me amounts are typically given and expected to be accepted on faith by Neilsen even if he condemns it from the Church.  His footnotes and other references given as support for the numbers are just further admissions it is primarily speculation.  Maybe he thinks people won't actually check the references or maybe he is just a really bad writer/analyst.

https://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/72484-whistleblower-on-church-finances/?do=findComment&comment=1209949189

 

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30 minutes ago, Calm said:

Big “if” on the whistleblower imo…found the info I remember:

 

I think the numbers in Exhibit K and L are accurate.  They show the size of the EPA investments during the years and they also show the growth rate and the percentage of the growth rate that is from contribution (aka tithing) and investments.  So, I think the $12.8 billion contributions over those 18 years is close. But since those 18 years include both the dot-com boom/bust and the housing crisis, I'm not sure how accurate the yearly calculations in Exhibit Q.4.

But that just tells us how much EPA received from the Church (I'm assuming there is no other entity that contributes to EPA and all contributions are from tithing funds).  We don't know how much the Church receives in tithing.

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1 hour ago, secondclasscitizen said:

they should make good don it, but why use an honest tithepayers donation to offset mismanagement and perhaps even corruption? 

C'mon, 2CC.  If Church critics are arguing that *all* of the Church's assets are either tithing or proceeds of tithing, then they can't turn around and demand that "non-tithing" be used to pay their debts.  

And my memory could be off, but I believe the original seed money for the EPA fund was $20-$30 billion and that the fund's value is 3-4 times that amount.  So long as the original $20-$30 billion corpus remains untouched, it's pretty hard to argue that expenditures of the earnings from that seed money constitute a use of a "tithepayer's donation".  The donation itself is still there, sitting in the account, generating interest; while the expenditure--in Beneficial's case--literally went to the care of widows and orphans.  

And you're assuming a couple of additional facts in evidence.  You assume that Beneficial's losses during the Great Recession of 2008 were due to mismanagement; and you throw around the word "corruption" with nary a shred of evidence.  

Quote

yea we all know that.  [Responding to my assertion that "American tithes prop up the operations of the Church in the third world (and much of the first world), not the reverse."]

You concluded your post by asking "What untruth did I write?".  Here's one of them.  You had previously written, "why should some African or Brazilian family who can’t feed their kids subsidize a failing for profit insurance company with their tithing? They can’t even feed themselves and yet the church is using their tithing and gold teeth to bail out their failure."  Now, in your most recent post, you acknowledge that you knew all along that tithepayer money is flowing from America to the third world; and not the reverse.   

Quote

oh so the mission field is only gonna get blessed if they start paying more? That is the Mormon way. 

That's not what I wrote at all.  I was merely contesting your dishonest assertion that "poor members tithes being used to subsidized the college education of a bunch of white kids from five states and for all mission presidents kids and the kids of GAs".

Quote

so they don’t have enough money to go to a secular school so we take funds from people who are arguably starving and subsidize the tuition of kids in the Morridor?

And here you double down--actually, triple down--on the untruth.  Money from starving people is not subsidizing BYU tuition.  If poor tithepayers are in the third world, their money essentially never makes it to the USA at all.  If the tithepayers are here in the US they have access to bishop's storehouses and cash assistance through their ward fast offering funds, and have no need to starve.  

And it's not like the Church isn't providing for post-secondary education of members outside the United States.  The Perpetual Education Fund is available for third-worlders who want it, and is so flush with cash that they've actually stopped soliciting donations--the current endowment is enough to keep the program self-sustaining.

Edited by mgy401
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  • 2 weeks later...

Maybe Huntsman’s attorneys are gambling that Judge Shelby, author of the Kitchen v Herbert decision, is naturally somewhat hostile to the Church and that this glimpse of behind-the-scenes sausage-making will rouse him into a righteous anger that will make up for any legal deficiencies that might otherwise compel him to rule for the Church.

Edited by mgy401
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7 hours ago, smac97 said:

We've had substantial discussion in this thread about whether Huntsman has been using this lawsuit as a pretext for a doctrinal disagreement with the Church.

...

Holy cow, it sure seems foolish to for Huntsman's attorneys to introduce this content into the record of the case.

 

So the Gaddy doctrinal fraud lawsuit gets thrown out and she focusses on a tithing fraud claim, while the Huntsman tithing fraud claim doesn't look good and so his lawyer introduces doctrinal fraud?

 

Edited by JustAnAustralian
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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, JustAnAustralian said:

So the Gaddy doctrinal fraud lawsuit gets thrown out and she focusses on a tithing fraud claim,

Yep.

15 hours ago, JustAnAustralian said:

while the Huntsman tithing fraud claim doesn't look good and so his lawyer introduces doctrinal fraud?

I think Huntsman's attorneys were (marginally) better at drafting a coherent complaint as compared to Gaddy's attorney.  And I think they avoided Gaddy's massive missteps because, well, they may have been doing what we are doing here: watching Gaddy's lawsuit play out (see here for a new thread I just started that tracks the history of the Gaddy lawsuit to date).

Consider the timing of these two lawsuits:

  1. August 2019: Gaddy files her original complaint against the Church.  
  2. August 2019: The Church files motion to dismiss Gaddy's original complaint.  The parties go back and forth on this over the next several months.
  3. December 2019: David Nielsen's so-called "whistleblower" story about Ensign Peak hits the news.
  4. March 31, 2020: The court in Gaddy's case dismisses the original complaint based mostly on the "ecclesiastical abstention" doctrine.
  5. May 18, 2020: Gaddy files her {first} amended complaint.  In this complaint she submits to the court - for the second time - a bunch of legal claims that run afoul of the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine.  However, she also submits, for the first time, a legal theory based on the Church's statements about City Creek (and is covered by news outlets, including by the one owned by Huntsman's brother).  Extensive legal wrangling ensues over the next many months, culminating in the July 21 dismissal of all but one of Gaddy's claims.  
  6. Summer of 2020: Huntsman resigns his membership in the Church.
  7. December 2020: Huntsman's attorney, James Magleby, submits a private demand to the Church for a refund of Huntsman's tithes purportedly because in the summer of 2020 Huntsman "'discovered' the church’s allegedly fraudulent scheme of diverting member donations meant for charity to commercial ventures instead."  Communications between attorneys go back and forth for a few months, apparently ending (and Huntsman's lawyers getting decidedly nastier) in February 2021.
  8. March 23, 2021: Huntsman files his lawsuit about City Creek.  Note that in Huntsman's complaint his attorneys seem to go out of their way to avoid what Gaddy's attorney stepped in several times over: the ecclesiastical absention doctrine.  I'm not sure they will ultimately succeed at this, but I suspect they were at least smart enough to look at Gaddy's hot mess of a lawsuit and take some lessons from it.

Gaddy's original complaint was an overt attempt to litigate the Church's doctrinal claims in civil court, and to humiliate and embarrass the church.  I think Huntsman has the same objectives.  Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if Huntsman got the idea of suing the Church over City Creek after reading news coverage about it, and about Ensign Peak, and also about Gaddy's lawsuit.  Gaddy's lawsuit, then, became a "How {Not} To" guide on suing the Church.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

Edited by smac97
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Fun Fact.

If huntsman were able to get a refund of his tithing money, he would have to claim it as completly taxable in the year he got it, resulting in quite a bit of tax (the highest tax bracket).

Maybe he's wealthing enough not to care. 

Edited by Danzo
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  • 3 weeks later...

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2021/09/14/judge-tosses-out-james/
 

"Judge tosses out James Huntsman’s tithing lawsuit against LDS Church"

"U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson struck down Huntsman’s claims Tuesday, according to his order granting the church’s motion for summary judgment. Wilson wrote that no reasonable jury would believe church leaders had misrepresented how tithing funds would be used."

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On 8/29/2021 at 11:47 AM, smac97 said:

If Analytics is correct that Huntsman's lawsuit "{is} about fraud, not faith, and implicates no religious principles or tenets of Mormonism," then why are Huntsman's attorneys talking about seerstones in settlement discussions?...

But the article makes it sound like Huntsman (and/or his attorneys) introduced the religious argument into the discussion.  If, as Analytics declares, Huntsman's lawsuit is not a "religious argument that they are asking the judge to rule on," then why did his "initial legal demand also take{} after other church tenets?"

Beats me. What I do know is that the judge Wilson agrees with me. He said in his ruling:

Quote

 

The Court concludes that the instant case presents a purely secular dispute. To resolve the dispute, no analysis of church policy or doctrines is necessary. Nor must a court or jury determine whether those policies or doctrines allow Defendant to spend tithing funds on the City Creek project. Rather, Defendant has already stated it would not spend tithing funds on the City Creek project. The only question is whether that assertion was true or not. The question can be resolved on the basis of accounting records and witness testimony, the scope of which need not include the meaning of “tithing funds” or the purposes towards which religious doctrine allows Defendant to spend tithing funds….

Accordingly, the First Amendment does not bar Plaintiff’s claims.

 

The truth of this is beyond obvious. Huntsman never asked the judge to rule on the validity of seer stones or other church tenets. 

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1 hour ago, Analytics said:

What I do know is that the judge Wilson agrees with me.

Not completely unless I am confusing you with someone else. 
 

See screen shot of ruling stating earnings from invested tithings funds are not considered tithing funds. 
 

https://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/74009-jon-huntsmans-tithing-refund-lawsuit-thrown-out/?do=findComment&comment=1210055153

Apparently the judge disagrees with your below analysis:

Quote

 

Likewise, if tithing funds were used to create investment earnings and investment earnings were used for a mall, then tithing funds were used for a mall. 

 

Edited by Calm
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54 minutes ago, Analytics said:

Beats me. What I do know is that the judge Wilson agrees with me. He said in his ruling:

The truth of this is beyond obvious. Huntsman never asked the judge to rule on the validity of seer stones or other church tenets. 

The judge only agrees with you in part.  The judge agreed with the church that delving into the insurance group issue was indeed prohibited by the First Amendment because Huntsman was asking the court to judge the church's doctrines.   You can read about it starting on page 11.

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Just now, Calm said:

Not completely unless I am confusing you with someone else. 
 

See screen shot of ruling stating earnings from invested tithings funds are not considered tithing funds. 
 

https://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/74009-jon-huntsmans-tithing-refund-lawsuit-thrown-out/?do=findComment&comment=1210055153

 

From what I'm reading the court doesn't really answer the "are investment funds tithing" question.  Instead it focuses on whether or not Hinckley believed tithing funds were used and what he said about them to church membership.

For fraud to have been committed, Huntsman had to show that Hinckley lied with how the mall would be funded.  What the court found was that the mall was funded exactly as Hinckley publicly said it would be.  So he did not lie and no fraud was committed.  

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56 minutes ago, webbles said:

See footnote 4 on page 10.  It talks about that.  First, since President Hinckley explicitly differentiated between the two, then they can't be the same thing.  Second, the the First Amendment bars the court from deciding whether the investment funds are tithing.

On page 8, it talks about Nielson's comment about how EPA sees all of the fund as tithing.  Since President Hinckley differentiates between the two, it doesn't matter what EPA employees think.  And Nielson also wasn't an employee at that time so he wouldn't know how EPA employees would see it at the time.

Exactly.  

Edited by bluebell
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On 8/29/2021 at 10:47 AM, smac97 said:

... The bombastic stuff from Mr. Jonelis does not impress.  An attorney insulting and slandering the opposing party to its face (via communications with its attorneys) while in the midst of private attempts at settlement is obviously going to make settlement prospects worse, not better.  If Mr. Jonelis does not recognize this fairly basic piece of reality, then he's a pretty poor lawyer.  And if he does recognize it, then the fact that he proceeded in this way rather suggests that A) he has a major bone to pick with the Church (and/or organized religion in general, with the Church as a convenient proxy), and/or B) he was not negotiating in good faith, and/or C) he was taking marching orders from Huntsman, who was apparently spoiling for a doctrinal/religious fight with the Church and was using the City Creek issue as a legal pretext, and/or D) Mr. Jonelis chose this course of action to rev up Mr. Huntsman so that he (Huntsman) would get more outraged, and also so that he (Jonelis) could then file this suit and churn through those sweet sweet billable hours - to be paid for by the very affluent Mr. Huntsman. ...

I am a very casual, far outside observer, here, of course, but it seems to me that Mr. Jonelis is the very personification of the old saw, "If the law's not on your side, pound the facts.  If the facts aren't on your side, pound the law.  If neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound the table."

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16 hours ago, Analytics said:
Quote

If Analytics is correct that Huntsman's lawsuit "{is} about fraud, not faith, and implicates no religious principles or tenets of Mormonism," then why are Huntsman's attorneys talking about seerstones in settlement discussions?...

But the article makes it sound like Huntsman (and/or his attorneys) introduced the religious argument into the discussion.  If, as Analytics declares, Huntsman's lawsuit is not a "religious argument that they are asking the judge to rule on," then why did his "initial legal demand also take{} after other church tenets?"

Beats me. What I do know is that the judge Wilson agrees with me. He said in his ruling:

Quote

The Court concludes that the instant case presents a purely secular dispute. To resolve the dispute, no analysis of church policy or doctrines is necessary. Nor must a court or jury determine whether those policies or doctrines allow Defendant to spend tithing funds on the City Creek project. Rather, Defendant has already stated it would not spend tithing funds on the City Creek project. The only question is whether that assertion was true or not. The question can be resolved on the basis of accounting records and witness testimony, the scope of which need not include the meaning of “tithing funds” or the purposes towards which religious doctrine allows Defendant to spend tithing funds….

Accordingly, the First Amendment does not bar Plaintiff’s claims.

 

Well, the judge didn't need to read between the lines to suss out an "ecclesiastical abstention" basis for dismissing the case because there were more readily-accessible "downstream" reasons to dismiss it, such that the judge did not need to go "upstream." 

The first element of "fraud" is "misrepresentation."  The judge found that neither Pres. Hinckley nor anyone else speaking on behalf of the Church made any misrepresentation, and that "no reasonable jury" could reach the contrary conclusion that was reached by, well, a decent number of the critics on this board.  From the decision (p. 8 ) :

Quote

Based on the foregoing, no reasonable juror could conclude that Hinckley's statement was false.  This is because a reasonable juror could only conclude that Defendant used "the earnings of invested reserve funds" to fund the City Creek project - i.e., Defendant did exactly what Hinckley said Defendant would do.

Holy cow.  How much digital ink did the critics on this board spill trying to justify a conclusion that the judge said "no reasonable juror could" reach?

That said, the judge did indicate that Huntsman ended up going into "ecclesiastical abstention" territory.  From pages 11-2 (pertaining to the claims about Beneficial) :

Quote

Plaintiff also challenges Defendant's transfer of $600 million to Beneficial Life Insurance Company.  However, Plaintiff's fraud claim regarding this transfer fails for two independent reasons.

First, Plaintiff does not identify a specific misrepresentation by Defendant.  Indeed, Plaintiff expressly states as follows in his declaration: "I do not recall any specific statement by the Church denying that tithing funds were being used to bail out Beneficial Life Insurance."  Absent a specific misrepresentation, Plaintiff's claim fails. 

Oi.  The sine qua non of a fraud claim is a false statement of fact.  Huntsman's attorneys tried to pursue a fraud claim as to Beneficial by circumventing this, which is akin to suing someone for defamation but neglecting to identify the defamatory statement.

Anyway, here's the key bit:

Quote

Second, to the extent Plaintiff relies on "Sunday school manuals" or "the Church's teachings" to support the claim regarding Beneficial, the First Amendment prohibits Plaintiff's claim.  Resolving Plaintiff's claim on those grounds would require a court or jury to determine whether church teachings and doctrines prohibited the alleged transfer of tithing funds to Beneficial.  In other words, unlike the simple tracing of funds required to resolve the City Creek claim, the Beneficial claim would require a court or jury to "intermeddle in internal ecclesiastical disputes."  The First Amendment prohibits such entanglement.

So Huntsman was more overt in running afoul of the Ecclesiastical Abstention doctrine re: the Beneficial claim, such that the judge pointed it out.  I think his attorneys were a bit more careful in tailoring their arguments about City Creek (though I still think they came pretty close to triggering the doctrine).

In the end, the judge found that analyzing the statements made about City Creek did not require "intermeddl{ing} in internal ecclesiastical disputes."  Sounds good.  

16 hours ago, Analytics said:

The truth of this is beyond obvious. Huntsman never asked the judge to rule on the validity of seer stones or other church tenets. 

Ultimately, yes.  I didn't say otherwise.  Rather, I said:

Quote

I think Huntsman's attorneys make a mistake when they invoke what looks like a religious argument.  For example, on p. 15 they state: "Simply stated, this is a case about fraud, not faith, and implicates no religious principles or tenets of Mormonism.11"  Footnote 11 then states: "As stated succinctly in the Mormon scripture, greed is incompatible with faith. See 1 Timothy 6:10 (“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”)."  Quoting scripture to a federal judge while arguing that your lawsuit against a religious group "implicates no religious principles or tenets" is, in my view, an unforced error.  Federal judges really don't want to be in the business of litigating issues of faith, yet Huntsman cites the Bible when characterizing the Church's behavior.

You responded:

Quote

The footnote is an example of one of the "religious principles or tenets of Mormonism" that are not being litigated. Yes, it gratuitously implies that the Church is hypocritical on this point. But it is a one-liner in a footnote. The judge may or may not chuckle, but I can't imagine him thinking this is asking him to litigate an issue of faith.

I responded:

Quote

Of course Huntsman's lawyers are not going to directly ask a federal judge to "litigate an issue of faith."  But that nevertheless seems to be the substance of the dispute.

And here:

Quote
Quote

In context, it is an example of what the lawsuit is not about.

Funny how context works.  I think quoting the Bible exposes some of the motivation underlying the lawsuit.  Even you admit that the footnote "implies that the Church is hypocritical on this point."  Hypocrisy by way of . . . acting according to religious doctrines.  

Yeah, that doesn't sound like a religious dispute at all.  :huh:

Quote

In context, they are not asking the judge to make a ruling based on a religious argument.

A first-year law student would know not to ask a judge to "make a ruling based on a religious argument."

However, it is quite possible to cloak an impermissible legal claim (such as a "religious argument") under the guise of a legal claim that would not get immediately shot down. 
...
I think Huntsman is saying his lawsuit is about "fraud."  He has to say that, as admitting it would kill his case.  But the lawsuit walks and talks like a vendetta.  Like him seeking a pound of flesh.  Like him wanting to make the Church look bad.  Read the complaint again.  It reeks of malice.  It was a poorly drafted legal document, but it does quite well at telegraphing his animus against the Church.
...
{I}f Huntsman is what he comes across as - a disgruntled former member of the Church out to stick to his former faith - then his Complaint makes 
perfect sense.  Lawsuits trying to clawback donations to charitable organizations virtually never work.  The narrow exception to this is . . . donations obtained via fraud.  Fraud is Huntsman's only legal option.  And it's a longshot.  He has to prove up all nine elements, including falsity (a pretty tall order, as even you have admitted that the central issue - the characterization of "tithes" - amounts to "theoretical" and "semantics"), reasonable reliance, and causation.  I see the chances of him proving these up to be . . . pretty low.  So his lawyers are doing what they can when they have a legal theory that is unlikely to succeed on its merits: make a big stink about it, so that at least some bad press is generated.  They did that in the complaint, and they did so again in the recent memorandum.  
...

Quote

The substance of the dispute is whether the Church was honest when it said tithing money wasn't used.

"The substance of the dispute" is a fraud claim that has, in my view, very little chance of success.  And it seems like a pretext, a means of using the courts to embarrass the Church, to get his pound of flesh.

I remain convinced of that.

Anyway, it looks like this case may not be quite over.  From the Tribune: Judge tosses out James Huntsman’s tithing lawsuit against LDS Church, but an appeal looms

Quote

Huntsman declined to comment, steering questions to his attorneys.

“We’re obviously disappointed in Judge [Stephen V. ] Wilson’s order,” one of those lawyers, David Jonelis, said Tuesday. “We look forward to vindicating Mr. Huntsman’s position in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Well, we'll see I guess.  The Ninth Circuit is well-known for being one of the most overturned appellate courts in the U.S. (see here and here), but I would be surprised to see it overturn Judge Wilson's dismissal of this case.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

The Ninth Circuit is well-known for being one of the most overturned appellate courts in the U.S. (see here and here)

The article you link to and notes the 9th circuit is the third most overturned appelate court as well as the fact that less than 1% of the cases decided by that circuit are overturned. 

A decision by the 9th circuit should not be seen as a free pass to a reversal by the supreme court.

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2 minutes ago, Danzo said:

The article you link to and notes the 9th circuit is the third most overturned appelate court

Yes.  Hence my statement that it is "one of the most overturned appellate courts."  From the first link:

Quote

The Supreme Court hears cases from the 50 state courts and 13 federal appeals courts, known as circuit courts. The cases that the Supreme Court chooses to take on are often disputed among the lower courts, complex, and problematic, so there’s a reasonable chance that the Supreme Court will decide that the lower court’s decision was wrong.

In fact, the Supreme Court reversed about 70 percent of cases it took between 2010-15. Among cases it reviewed from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, it reversed about 79 percent.

The 9th Circuit’s reversal rate is higher than average, but it’s not the absolute highest among the circuit courts. That distinction goes to the 6th Circuit, which serves Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee, with an 87 percent average between 2010-15.  The 9th Circuit is in third place.

  1. 6th Circuit - 87 percent;

  2. 11th Circuit - 85 percent;

  3. 9th Circuit - 79 percent;

  4. 3rd Circuit - 78 percent;

  5. 2nd Circuit and Federal Circuit - 68 percent;

  6. 8th Circuit - 67 percent;

  7. 5th Circuit - 66 percent;

  8. 7th Circuit - 48 percent;

  9. DC Circuit - 45 percent;

  10. 1st Circuit and 4th Circuit - 43 percent;

  11. 10th Circuit - 42 percent.

The Ninth Circuit is reversed at nearly double the rate of the Tenth Circuit (which includes Utah).

2 minutes ago, Danzo said:

as well as the fact that less than 1% of the cases decided by that circuit are overturned. 

I think you are referencing this:

Quote

The 9th Circuit is by far the largest circuit. In the 12 months leading up to March, 31, 2015, just under 12,000 cases were filed in the 9th Circuit — more than 4,000 more than the next-largest circuit, the 5th Circuit. Despite that gigantic docket, the Supreme Court heard just 11 cases from the 9th Circuit in 2015, reversing eight.

This means the Supreme Court generally reverses far less than 1 percent of all the cases the 9th Circuit (and other circuits) decide.

Let me break it down a bit:

1. The federal courts are essentially in three tiers.  The "District Courts" are the trial courts.  Where the rubber hits the road.  The litigants start here.  They file pleadings and motions, participate in hearings and trial, that sort of thing.  The district court judge then makes a decision to resolve the case.  

2. If one side or other other in the case is dissatisfied with the district court's ruling, then they can file an appeal to the second or intermediate tier: the Circuit Court of Appeals.  The United States is divided into several regions, called "circuits," one of which is the Ninth Circuit:

550px-US_Court_of_Appeals_and_District_C

 

3. Per this article (from 2004), 10.9% of federal cases are appealed to the circuit courts.  Per the Politifact article, in 2014 there were 11,908 appeals filed in the Ninth Circuit.  That would mean that something like 109,248 federal lawsuits filed in the district courts in the Ninth Circuit, of which around 11,908 (10.9%) were appealed to the Ninth Circuit.  (These are rough figures, as a lawsuit filed in 2015 could very well have been appealed in a different calendar year).

4. The Circuit Court is essentially obligated to adjudicate all of these 11,908 cases, because litigants at the district court level have the right to an appeal.  However, that right ends at the circuit court.  There is no definite "right" to an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  SCOTUS gets to pick and choose which appeals it will hear.  And since SCOTUS is end of the road, and because SCOTUS also hears appeals from state appellate courts, that picking-and-choosing process has become very selective.  For example, per the Politifact article SCOTUS agreed to consider just eleven (11) cases from the Ninth Circuit in 2015, eight (8) of which were reversed.

5. Per this article, in a given year there are more than 7,000 cases nationwide that request review from SCOTUS, from which SCOTUS selects 100-150.  In other words, there is a substantial winnowing process here.  If the foregoing pattern holds, then then in the Ninth Circuit there are about 110,000 cases filed, resulting in about 12,000 appeals to the Circuit Court of Appeals.  Of those 12,000 or so, only a tiny percentage (11 in 2015, for example) end up before SCOTUS. 

6. In other words, the vast majority of cases reviewed by the Ninth Circuit die there, since SCOTUS can only review a teeny-tiny handful of the many thousands of cases decided by the Ninth Circuit.

7. The Ninth Circuit nevertheless gets reversed a lot.  A lot.  And the Politifact article doesn't get things totally right.  See, e.g., here (from 2017) :

Quote

Politifact fact-check: the Ninth Circuit is, in fact, the most reversed federal court of appeals

Recently, cable news personality Sean Hannity commented that the Ninth Circuit is the "most overturned court in the country." Politifact rated that claim as "false." But Politifact's analysis is seriously flawed and suffers from selective analysis of the evidence, and misrepresentation of the evidence in other respects.
...
One reason for splitting the circuit is systemic dysfunction in the Ninth Circuit. It has 29 active judges, (but four vacancies at the moment) nearly the size of the 30-member Arizona Senate (to speak on terms for those from the Grand Canyon State).
...

More judges might help the Ninth speed along cases, but it would not help its high reversal rate. That's because the court lacks the ability to self-correct with true en banc procedures; the entire 29-member court can't really assemble, and it's left instead to a lottery of some subset of these judges to correct errors from three-judge panels. And in a lottery of three judges among 29, some combinations are sure to be greater outliers than others. Splitting the circuit would allow it to have true en banc procedures and minimize reversal rates.

The Ninth Circuit's legacy is cemented by instances like October Term 1996, when it went 1-for-28, the stuff of legend. The Ninth Circuit is reversed more often perhaps because its size accounts for poorer outcomes.
...
{A}s a matter of pure math, is the Ninth Circuit the "most reversed"?

Politifact says no. The answer is resoundingly yes.
...
image-asset.png?format=1000w

...
 

Below are charts for the 9th Circuit and 6th Circuit reversal rates dating back to OT1994.

9th Circuit rev/vacate total rev rate
OT1994 14 17 82%
OT1995 11 13 85%
OT1996 27 28 96%
OT1997 14 17 82%
OT1998 14 18 78%
OT1999 9 10 90%
OT2000 13 17 76%
OT2001 14 18 78%
OT2002 18 23 78%
OT2003 19 25 76%
OT2004 16 19 84%
OT2005 15 18 83%
OT2006 19 21 90%
OT2007 8 10 80%
OT2008 15 16 94%
OT2009 11 15 73%
OT2010 19 24 79%
OT2011 18 24 75%
OT2012 12 14 86%
OT2013 10 11 91%
OT2014 10 15 67%
OT2015 8 10 80%
Total 314 383 82%
6th Circuit rev/vacate total rev rate
OT1994 4 7 57%
OT1995 2 4 50%
OT1996 2 3 67%
OT1997 3 3 100%
OT1998 2 4 50%
OT1999 3 4 75%
OT2000 5 7 71%
OT2001 9 10 90%
OT2002 5 7 71%
OT2003 6 8 75%
OT2004 7 11 64%
OT2005 6 8 75%
OT2006 4 7 57%
OT2007 2 3 67%
OT2008 5 5 100%
OT2009 7 7 100%
OT2010 5 6 83%
OT2011 5 5 100%
OT2012 2 2 100%
OT2013 9 11 82%
OT2014 4 5 80%
OT2015 3 4 75%
Total 100 131 76%

So . . . yeah.  The Ninth Circuit is pretty bad.

2 minutes ago, Danzo said:

A decision by the 9th circuit should not be seen as a free pass to a reversal by the supreme court.

A decision by the Ninth Circuit that is appealed to SCOTUS has, on average, an 82% likelihood of being reversed.

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

A decision by the Ninth Circuit that is appealed to SCOTUS has, on average, an 82% likelihood of being reversed.

I would clarify that to say that a decision that is appealed to SCOTUS and Granted Certiorari  by SCOTUS has an average a 82% likelihood of being reversed. the supreme court doesn't review very many 9th circuit opinions.  Most opinions (99%) are not reviewed by SCOTUS. Also SCOTUS doesn't randomly review opinions, its got to be significant for them to even look at it. 

"The court denies the vast majority of petitions and thus leaves the decision of the lower court to stand without review; it takes roughly 80 to 150 cases each term. In the term that concluded in June 2009, for example, 8,241 petitions were filed, with a grant rate of approximately 1.1 percent."

I think the odds are highly against someone who disagrees with a 9th circuit opinion. 

Edited by Danzo
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