Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Tuesday, August 15, 2023
HECO Suits: Two Vacant Hawaii Supreme Court Seats Loom Large
By Robert Thomas @ 8:38 PM :: 3295 Views :: Maui County, Energy

First Lawsuit Filed (Incl. Inverse Condemnation) For Maui Wildfire: Is California-Style Inverse Condemnation Coming?

by Robert Thomas, InverseCondemnation, August 13, 2023

Well, that was quick. As reported here ("HECO Kept The Power Flowing In Lahaina Even As Poles Toppled"), we've already seen the first lawsuit filed seeking recovery for the Maui wildfire that destroyed Lahaina town -- a class action even before there's been any official word about what caused or contributed to the conflagration:

Meanwhile, a group of Honolulu- and California-based law firms filed a class action suit Saturday against HECO on behalf of victims and survivors of the Lahaina fire.

The suit alleges that HECO’s downed power lines caused the fire. Graham Lippsmith of the firm Lippsmith LLP said Saturday that the suit was also largely based on HECO’s decision not to de-energize the power Tuesday in West Maui.

A separate Honolulu attorney also said Saturday that his firm is weighing whether sue HECO on behalf of its clients, also largely based on the downed poles.

They were in such a rush, they filed on Saturday, in an Oahu court. The defendants are various electric utility companies (not the government), and claims include negligence, gross negligence, inverse condemnation under the Hawaii Constitution, and ultrahazardous activity. Relief sought included damages, just compensation, and an injunction requiring shutting off power during high winds and the burying of transmission lines.

We naturally focused on the inverse claim. Hawaii inverse condemnation law is very underdeveloped, and there isn't a whole lot there to latch onto. And Hawaii certainly has not adopted the California model of inverse condemnation liability for wildfires. So this will be a case of first impression.

To get a flavor of how that's worked out in California, we refer you to our post from a couple of years ago: "Lights Out In The Land Of No: The Practical Effects Of California's Wildfire Inverse Condemnation Doctrine." And this post: "New Cert Petition: Fifth Amendment Requires California To Spread The Cost Of Wildfire Inverse Condemnation To Ratepayers."

With this being a matter of first impression under Hawaii law, the two vacant and-now-being-filled seats on the five-Justice Hawaii Supreme Court sure do loom large.

Time to pay attention.

---30---

RELATED: 

Oct, 2022: Next Hawaii Governor May Pick Three Supreme Court Justices

Feb, 2023: Request for Public Comments – Applicants for Hawaii Supreme Court

 

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii