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Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Hokulia Bypass: Hawaii Supreme Court upholds land acquisition for road
By Robert Thomas @ 10:08 PM :: 9621 Views :: Hawaii County , Akaka Bill, Energy, Environment
Hawaii Supreme Court: No Per Se Rule In Pretextual Takings

by Robert Thomas (attorney representing the Coupe Family)

It's pretty easy to blog about cases in which your side prevails, but not so easy when you don't. This post is one of the latter instances. In County of Hawaii v. C & J Coupe Family Ltd. P'ship, No. 29887 (Nov. 10, 2010), a unanimous court in an opinion authored by Justice Acoba concluded:

This case is the post-remand sequel to County of Hawaii v. C&J Coupe Family Ltd. P’ship, 119 Hawaii 352, 198 P.3d 615 (2008) [hereinafter, Coupe I]. In that case, this court reviewed two condemnation actions (Condemnation 1 and Condemnation 2) brought by Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant-Appellee County of Hawaii (the County) to condemn property belonging to Defendant/ Counterclaimant-Appellant C&J Coupe Family Limited Partnership in Civ. No. 00-1-0181K and Defendant/Counterclaimant/Cross Claimant-Appellant in Civ. No. 05-1-015K (Coupe).

In the instant appeal, we hold that

(1) the County’s asserted public purpose for Condemnation 2 was not a pretext for a primarily private benefit,

(2) Coupe’s challenge to the value of just compensation set for the property in Condemnation 2 could not be considered on remand,

(3) the circuit court of the third circuit (the court) erred in denying Coupe’s request for attorneys’ fees associated with the preparation of billing records and/or preparation of Coupe’s fee petitions for the failed Condemnation 1, and

(4) the court did not abuse its discretion in denying Coupe’s request for prejudgment interest on attorneys’ fees and other expenses incurred in Condemnation 1.

Therefore, we affirm the court’s conclusion that Condemnation 2 was not pretextual, its valuation of just compensation set for the property in Condemnation 2, and its denial of Coupe’s request for prejudgment interest. We remand to the court to decide Coupe’s request for attorneys’ fees associated with the preparation of billing records and/or preparation of Coupe’s fee petitions in Condemnation 1.

Slip op. at 1-2.

Will there be more? Stay tuned.



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