Articles Posted in Hawaii Supreme Court

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Plaintiff brought this suit against the City and County of Honolulu and the State, challenging the approval of a rail project and arguing that state law required that an archaeological inventory survey be completed prior to any approval or commencement of the project. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the City and State on all of Plaintiff's claims. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court's judgment on Plaintiff's claims that challenged the rail project under Haw. Rev. Stat. 6E and remanded. Plaintiff subsequently requested that the Supreme Court award $255,158 in attorney's fees and $2,510 in costs against the City and State for work performed in the trial court. The Supreme Court (1) granted Plaintiff's request for appellate attorney's fees and costs against the City in the amount of $41,192 in attorney's fees and $343 in costs; (2) and denied Plaintiff's request for trial level fees and costs without prejudice, as Plaintiff's request for fees and costs attributable to work performed at the trial level was more properly within the trial court's discretion. View "Kaleikini v. Yoshioka" on Justia Law

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In June 2004, Petitioners-Appellants Hui O Na Wai 'Eha and Maui Tomorrow Foundation, Inc. (Hui/MTF), through Earthjustice, petitioned Appellee Commission on Water Resource Management to amend the Interim Instream Flow Standards (IIFS) for Na Wai 'Eha, which had been in place since 1988. Around the same time, several parties, including Appellee Maui County Department of Water Supply (MDWS), and Appellees Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S) and Wailuku Water Company (WWC), filed Water Use Permit Applications (WUPA) for the same area. The Commission held a combined case hearing to resolve the IIFS and WUPA; in addition to the petitioner and applicants, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) applied to participate in the hearing. The appeal before the Supreme Court sought review of the Commission's resulting Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law (FOF/COL), and Decision and Order (D&O), in which the Commission amended the IIFS for two of the four streams, and substantially retained the existing IIFS for the two remaining streams as measured above diversions. The FOF/COL and D&O also resolved several WUPA. Hui/MTF and OHA appealed on related grounds: their primary complaint was that the Commission erred in balancing instream and noninstream uses, and therefore the IIFS does not properly protect traditional and customary native Hawaiian rights, appurtenant water rights, or the public trust. Both parties also contested the Commission’s treatment of diversions, including an alternative source on HC&S’s plantation that could have been used to irrigate HC&S’s cane fields. The parties contested the Commission’s determination that HC&S would not be required to pump the alternate source to its full capacity, a decision that resulted in a higher estimated allowable diversion for HC&S, and lower IIFS for the streams. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. First, in considering the effect of the IIFS on native Hawaiian practices in Na Wai 'Eha, the Commission failed to enter findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding the effect of the amended IIFS on traditional and customary native Hawaiian practices regarding the feasibility of protecting any affected practices. Second, the Commission’s analysis of instream uses was incomplete. Third, the Commission erred in its consideration of alternative water sources and in its calculation of diverting parties’ acreage and reasonable system losses. View "In re 'Iao Ground Water Management Area High-Level Source Water Use Permit Applications" on Justia Law

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This case arose from the 2008 application of the Honolulu Department of Environmental Services (DES) for a special use permit (SUP) to expand an existing sanitary landfill. The Land Use Commission (LUC) approved the SUP subject to, inter alia, a condition prohibiting the landfill from accepting municipal solid waste after July 31, 2012. The validity of this condition was the sole issue raised by DES on appeal. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court's judgment affirming the LUC's approval of the SUP, holding (1) the condition was inconsistent with the evidence shown in the record and was not supported by substantial evidence; and (2) because the LUC's approval of the SUP was expressly given subject to the LUC's imposition of the condition, the court's judgment must be vacated. Remanded. View "Dep't of Envtl. Servs. v. Land Use Comm'n" on Justia Law