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Monday, June 16, 2014
Writ to Watch: Oahu Publications, Inc. v. Neil Abercrombie
By Robert Thomas @ 7:31 PM :: 3505 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government, Judiciary

HAWSCT To Consider Appellate Fees In Open Record Case

by Robert Thomas, InverseCondemnation, June 16, 2014

Hawaii, like many other jurisdictions, has an open records law. Here, we call it "UIPA" ("yoo-pah" or "wee-pah") and not "FOIA" or "FOIL." But in substance, it's mostly the same as our sibling jurisdictions: government records are strongly presumed to be public documents, available to the public upon request. And like many jurisdictions, Hawaii's UIPA contains a fee-shifting provision which provides that a complainant who prevails in the case is entitled to recover fees and costs from an agency that wrongly kept documents secret.

Last week, the Hawaii Supreme Court agreed to review a case about UIPA and the fees and costs incurred by a prevailing complainant while on appeal. Specifically, the case is about the timing of the request for appellate fees and costs. We represent the petitioner in the case, and so won't be saying much of anything about it here. But the cert briefs are public documents, so colleague Rebecca Copeland has posted them and a short summary of the issues over at her blog, Record on Appeal.

See Writ to Watch: Oahu Publications, Inc. v. Abercrombie.

We posted the briefs in the merits phase of the ICA appeal here ("HAWICA: Attorneys Fee Award In JSC List Case Was Reasonable").

We'll let you know when the Hawaii Supreme Court issues a decision in the case.

---30---

Writ to Watch: Oahu Publications, Inc. v. Neil Abercrombie

ROA: On June 13, 2014, the HAWSCT accepted cert in Oahu Publications, Inc., dba The Honolulu Advertiser v. Neil Abercrombie, SCWC-13-0000127, a case involving the issue of the entitlement to appellate attorneys’ fees incurred by a party in an appeal dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because the judgment does not reflect finality when a subsequent appeal is filed after the judgment is corrected and the party prevails in the appeal.

The underlying case involved a Uniform Information Practices Act (Hawaii freedom of information law) case brought by the Star Advertiser against the Governor seeking to compel the Governor to disclose the Judicial Selection Commission’s list of nominees for the HAWSCT judicial vacancy that was filled by HAWSCT Justice McKenna.

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