Welcome!

News Feed Item

Harbor Missionary Church Files Emergency Motion in the Ninth Circuit to Continue Ministry to the Homeless

VENTURA, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 08/05/14 -- Harbor Missionary Church, a nonprofit religious corporation, today filed an emergency motion (No. 14-56137) with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to continue its ministry to the homeless. For six years the church has provided clothing, food, showers, counseling and other support to thousands of homeless residents of the City of Ventura. Approximately 12 weeks ago, on May 15, after denying the church a permit to continue its ministry, police and code-enforcement officers from the City of Ventura arrived without warning and searched the church to ensure that it was no longer ministering to and feeding the homeless.

Since 2008, Harbor Missionary Church has welcomed the homeless into its church. "For the first four years, the City of Ventura did not require or even ask the church to apply for a special permit to serve the homeless," said Lisa Freeman, an attorney with Horvitz & Levy who is representing Harbor Missionary Church.

Then, in January of last year, the city told the church that it would need a separate, conditional-use permit, in addition to its church permit, to continue its ministry. The church applied for the permit the following month, but despite a City Staff Report recommending the granting of the permit subject to certain conditions, the Planning Commission late last year denied the permit in its entirety. The church appealed to the City Council, which deadlocked on May 12; as a result, the City Council took no action and under the City Council Protocols, the Planning Commission's decision to deny the permit became final.

The permit denial has forced the church to stop caring for the homeless, a particularly vulnerable group in our society. According to Freeman, many of the church's homeless congregants are not only poor, but are fleeing from domestic violence. The church, she said, had less than $37,000 in the bank at year end. "If it is not allowed to continue its ministry to the homeless during the appeals process, and without the donor and volunteer support for its ministry, it may not survive," Freeman added.

In addition to Freeman, Harbor Missionary Church is represented by John Taylor of Horvitz & Levy, by James Sonne and Jared Haynie of the Stanford Law School Religious Liberty Clinic, and by Michael McCollum and Claire Borthwick of Foley & Lardner LLP.

On May 14 of this year, the church filed a lawsuit in federal district court alleging that the permit denial violated the church's right to free exercise of religion under the First Amendment and under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). On May 30, fifteen days after police had searched the church, Judge Manuel Real of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Case No. 2:14-cv-03730) granted a temporary restraining order allowing the church to continue its charitable work during the litigation. In its temporary restraining order, the district court recognized the church's homeless ministry as an exercise of religion, calling it "a significant part of Harbor's religious expression."

At a hearing on July 9, however, the district court denied the church's motion for a preliminary injunction, questioning the legitimacy of the church's belief that it was required to provide clothing, food, and other services to the poor at its church. In its appeal to the Ninth Circuit, the church alleges that the order erred in questioning the legitimacy of the church's religious beliefs and in finding that the least restrictive means of protecting the neighborhood surrounding the church was to shut down the homeless ministry completely.

"An immediate order is needed now so that the church can continue its ministry while the Ninth Circuit considers the church's appeal," Freeman said. "Every passing day without an injunction prevents the church from exercising its religion, in violation of federal law. And the loss of the church as a safe place to eat, bathe, and pray for the period of this appeal could be devastating to the church's homeless congregants," Freeman said.

Sam Gallucci, the church's head pastor, summed up the church's sentiment, "The church feels keenly the loss of its freedom to practice its faith and to follow Jesus Christ's command to help the poor and hungry."

The emergency motion that Harbor Missionary Church just filed, if granted, will allow the church to continue its homeless ministry until the Ninth Circuit determines whether the district court failed to protect the church's free exercise of religion as required by the First Amendment and RLUIPA.

Since 1957, Horvitz & Levy LLP has been dedicated to appellate litigation. One of the largest firms in the nation to practice exclusively in this area of the law, the firm is focused on winning appeals for professionals, individuals, businesses and organizations in a variety of industries. Based in Los Angeles, the firm handles matters involving business and commercial law, class actions, consumer law, entertainment law, the First Amendment, healthcare law, insurance law, intellectual property, labor and employment law, premises liability, products liability and toxic torts, public-entity liability and real property. On the net: http://www.horvitzlevy.com.

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

Latest Stories
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, highlighted the current challenges of these transformative technologies and shared strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” outlined the latest trends and developments i...
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, paneli...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing bes...
Join us at Cloud Expo June 6-8 to find out how to securely connect your cloud app to any cloud or on-premises data source – without complex firewall changes. More users are demanding access to on-premises data from their cloud applications. It’s no longer a “nice-to-have” but an important differentiator that drives competitive advantages. It’s the new “must have” in the hybrid era. Users want capabilities that give them a unified view of the data to get closer to customers and grow business. The...
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...