Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Court Lifts TRO In Dispute Between Former Amish Man and Loan Society

In Stoltzfus v. Old Order Amish Helping Program, (ED PA, Feb. 26, 2009), a Pennsylvania federal district court lifted a temporary restraining order it had previously issued in a dispute between an former member of the Amish faith and an organization that loans funds to members of the Amish faith. Today's Lancaster (PA) Intelligencer Journal reports on the background of the lawsuit.

Daniel Stoltzfus operated a metal working business that had borrowed $300,000 from the Old Order Amish Helping Program. Stoltzfus claims that leaders of the Amish Council of Lancaster took various actions against him and his business after he announced he had become a born again Christian. They also objected to Stoltzfus doing business with a Jewish businessman. Stoltzfus was told not to expand his business, and his employees were told to stop working for him or else they would be shunned from the Amish community. Council members attempted to get Stoltzfus' wife to leave him and filed unfounded complaints of child abuse against Stoltzfus. Interest rates on his mortgage were raised and his insurance was cancelled, leading Stoltzfus to default on his mortgage payments. The court's lifting of the TRO was based largely on the fact that many of plaintiff's complaints were already the subject of state court and bankruptcy court adjudications.