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Monday, August 28, 2017
After Decade of Litigation, Supreme Court Refuses to Order State to Repair Gold Coast Seawalls
By News Release @ 10:59 PM :: 2062 Views :: Environment, Land Use

HAWAII SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO ORDER STATE TO REPAIR WAIKIKI GOLD COAST SEAWALLS

News Release from Hawaii AG, Aug 28, 2017

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Supreme Court on Friday rejected a request by Waikiki apartment and condominium owners to order the State of Hawaii to pay for repairs to a damaged seawall, or for the owners’ attorney fees after 10 years of litigation, Attorney General Doug Chin announced.

The case, Gold Coast Neighborhood Association v. State of Hawaii, was initiated in 2007 by private individuals owning property situated on what is known as the “Gold Coast” on Oahu. Friday’s decision by the Hawaii Supreme Court ends the case.

The owners sued the State to repair seawalls built by private parties to protect private property from erosion and wave damage. The Supreme Court refused to issue such an order. The Court ruled the State holds an easement over the seawalls and is not liable for attorneys’ fees.

Attorney General Chin said, “We are pleased the Court affirmed our position that the courts are not the proper place to decide how taxpayer money is spent. The State will repair the seawalls if and only if money to do so is appropriated by the state legislature and allocated by the governor.”

The State of Hawaii was represented internally at all stages of the litigation. Supervising Deputy Attorney General Bill Wynhoff tried the case in circuit court and argued the State’s case in both the Intermediate Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The private owners were represented by the firm McCorriston Miller Mukai McKinnon LLP.

A copy of the Supreme Court’s opinion and the dissenting opinion are attached.

# # #  

Waikiki Residents Lose Fight To Force State To Repair Seawall

CB: …“We never asked the state to repair or spend money. We asked the court to get the state to claim legal obligation,” said Robert Klein, attorney for the Gold Coast Neighborhood Association.

While the Gold Coast neighbors own the wall, the court ruled that the state owns an easement along the top of the seawall, making the state and the Golden Coast neighbors co-owners of the wall.

The state has assumed maintenance of the seawall for decades, including repairs from Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

Public access holds the state liable for proper safety and maintenance, Klein said.

The Gold Coast Neighborhood Association is expected to lobby for seawall maintenance funding during the next state legislative session…..

read … Waikiki Residents Lose Fight To Force State To Repair Seawall

SA: Residents praise ruling placing Waikiki sea wall under state’s oversight

KITV: Legal dispute between the state and homeowners in Waikiki settled over a crumbling seawall  

Ian Lind: No One Has Won The Fight Over Fixing This Waikiki Seawall

Hawaii Supreme Court says state responsible for Waikiki seawall

Waikiki Residents Lose Fight To Force State To Repair Seawall

Supreme Court: Split the bill for seawall repairs

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