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Tuesday, April 26, 2022
$328M: After 23 years of Judicial Stalling, State Settles DHHL Suit
By News Release @ 10:14 PM :: 1026 Views :: DHHL

STATE TO SETTLE 23-YEAR HAWAIIAN HOME LANDS CASE FOR $328 MILLION

News Release from Office of the Governor, Apr 26, 2022

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige announced the settlement of all class claims in Kalima, et al. v. State of Hawaiʻi, et al.

Under the settlement, which must be approved by the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, the state will pay the plaintiff class $328 million in exchange for a full, global release of all claims, including damages, attorneys’ fees, and litigation costs. The $328 million payment will also cover claims administration costs and the cost to retain a court-appointed Special Master to oversee and account for the funds.

“This necessary resolution fairly compensates the Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries and brings this litigation to a close, but it is not the end of the story. I remain committed to developing and delivering homes for the Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries,” said Gov. David Y. Ige.

“After weeks of intensive negotiations with the assistance of the settlement judge, the Honorable Gary W.B. Chang, the parties have reached a fair and necessary resolution of this longstanding case – for both the members of the plaintiff class and the State as a whole.” Attorney General Holly T. Shikada said. “We may now put 23 years of litigation to rest and, if funds are appropriated, move forward with implementation of the settlement.”

The settlement is conditioned on the Legislature appropriating funds for the payment. If appropriated by the Legislature, the settlement funds will be paid into an account controlled by the Court and disbursed under the supervision of the court-appointed Special Master. The settlement must also receive preliminary and final approvals from the Circuit Court to ensure that the terms are fair to class members.

The 23-year Kalima lawsuit was filed in 1999 as a class action and the Hawai‘i Supreme Court ruled that individual beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust could bring an action to recover damages arising from breaches of trust occurring between August 21, 1959 and June 30, 1988. The case has undergone trials on liability and the measure of damages, and two separate appeals.

Recently, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court decided an appeal and cross-appeal relating to the Waiting List Subclass, a group of claimants contending that breaches of trust by the State caused them unreasonable delay in receiving a homestead award. In Kalima v. State, 148 Hawai‘i 129 (2020), the Court affirmed various orders entered by the Circuit Court. These included orders holding the State liable for breaches of trust and establishing a damages model used to calculate Waiting List Subclass members’ damages.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys have established an informational telephone hotline. Class members with questions regarding the details of the settlement should call (808) 650-5551 and 1-833-639-1308 or email questions to info@kalima-lawsuit.com for more information.

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Senate Bill 3041 to Include Settlement in Kalima v. State of Hawaii

News Release from House Democratic Caucus, April 26, 2022

Honolulu, Hawai‘i – At 2:00 p.m. today, the First Circuit Court will unseal a settlement agreement in a class action lawsuit brought by several Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) beneficiaries against DHHL. The lawsuit is entitled:

LEONA KALIMA; DIANE BONER; RAYNETTE NALANI AH CHONG, special administrator of the estate of JOSEPH CHING, deceased; CAROLINE BRIGHT; DONNA KUEHU; IRENE CORDEIRO-VIERRA; and JAMES AKIONA, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, vs. STATE OF HAWAII; STATE OF HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF HAWAIIAN HOME LANDS; STATE OF HAWAII HAWAIIAN HOME LANDS TRUST INDIVIDUAL CLAIMS REVIEW PANEL; DAVID Y. IGE, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Hawaii; CIV. NO. 99-4771-12, First Circuit Court

The lawsuit stemmed from Act 323, which the Legislature approved in 1991. Act 323 allowed DHHL beneficiaries to bring claims against the State for losses they incurred while on the DHHL wait list from August 21, 1959 through June 30, 1988. The legislation created an administrative panel to adjudicate the claims, but legislation to extend the panel in 1999 was vetoed by Governor Cayetano.

As a result, the bulk of the claims was not adjudicated, and a class action lawsuit was filed in the First Circuit Court. The lawsuit has been in litigation since 1999 and was recently settled.

There are approximately 2,700 persons whose claims will be paid through this settlement. The amount of the total settlement will be announced at 2:05 p.m. today when the conference committee on SB 3041 (Making Appropriations for Claims Against the State, its Officers, or its Employees) is held in Conference Room 325 and live streamed on the Hawaii House of Representatives channel on YouTube. SB 3041 will be amended in conference committee to include the settlement.

See the attached excerpts from the report of The Hawaiian Home Lands Trust Individual Claims Review Panel (1999), for more information.

PDF: 2022 04 26 RELEASE Claims against State

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SA: State to settle historic litigation over Native Hawaiian homesteads for $328 million

KITV: State reaches $328 million settlement in 23-year-old Hawaiian Home Lands lawsuit 

SA Editorial: Making progress on homesteads

CS: Hawaii to pay $328 million from surplus in 23-year-old lawsuit settlement

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