MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR LAWSUIT AGAINST STATE DISMISSED
News Release from Hawaii Attorney General, Jun 14, 2017
HONOLULU – Hawaii federal judge Susan Oki Mollway yesterday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a private landowner against the State of Hawaii after the State Land Use Commission in 2011 reverted more than 1,000 acres of land in South Kohala on Hawaii island from urban to agricultural use, Attorney General Doug Chin announced.
Earlier this year Plaintiff DW Aina Lea Development, LLC (DW) sued the State claiming that the decision by the Land Use Commission was a constitutional taking of DW’s property without compensation. The State argued that DW was not damaged and that the lawsuit was brought too late after applicable statutes of limitation had passed. Judge Mollway agreed with the State that DW’s lawsuit was time-barred.
Attorney General Chin said, “The attorneys in my office take very seriously all claims against the State and will fight to not pay anything to claimants who are not entitled to payment or who fail to follow the rules. This owner came to court too late and will leave with nothing.”
The Land Use Commission had taken action in 2011 to revert the South Kohala land because a requirement to build affordable housing there remained unfulfilled more than 20 years after the original reclassification. The Hawaii Supreme Court later reversed the Commission’s decision based on money various developers spent on preliminary work.
The same land is the subject of another lawsuit brought by a prior landowner and developer, Bridge Aina Lea, LLC, that is claiming up to $40 million in damages based on the same action by the Commission. Bridge Aina Lea, LLC, filed its lawsuit against the State in 2011. Trial in this other case is scheduled for March of 2018.
PDF: A copy of yesterday’s Order is attached.
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2011: A Primer on Bridge Aina Lea Case
2015: Bridge Aina Lea: Federal Court Dismisses Most of Case
2016: Hawaii Federal Court: Get Ready For Bridge Aina Lea Trial
June 4, 2017: Hawaii County Proposes Down-zoning Bridge Aina Lea (again)