Oral Arguments Tuesday in Kalima v. State of Hawai`i (trust breaches)

Received via email...

From: Alan Murakami <almurak @ nhlchi.org>
Subject: Oral Arguments Set for Tuesday, May 30, 10 AM
Date: Fri, 26 May 2006 16:37:43 -1000

For those of you who have not heard or need a reminder, the Hawai`I Supreme Court is hearing oral argument on Kalima v. State of Hawai`i, the pending appeal raising the issue of whether Native Hawaiians who filed claims for damages due to trust breaches committed by the State of Hawai`i between 1959-88 can go to court to seek relief, after Governor Cayetano abruptly vetoed a bill in 1999 that would have continued the process initiated in 1992 to resolve those claims. 

DATE: May 30, Tuesday
Time: 10 AM
Where: Ali`iolani Hale, Hawai`i Supreme Court

The claimants' class action attorneys, Tom Grande and Carl Varady plan an initial gathering at 8 AM to give those attending a briefing on the case. 

Governor Waihe`e's administration began the process of addressing these claims securing the passage of a series of measures beginning in 1988, after years of negotiations dealing with these outstanding claims. The 1988 Action Plan contemplated that two types of damages follow two different tracks to resolution. On part of the plan, to lift any cloud on the sale of former trust lands illegally sold to private parties during the territorial period, let to the passage of the settlement in 1996 authorizing the payment of $30 million per year for 20 years (the so-called $600 million settlement). The other part of the plan involved resolving claims filed by individual Native Hawaiians who suffered damages directly as a result of state government breaches of trust that occurred between 1959 to 1988. After following that process for 7 years, Cayetano terminated the life of the panel reviewing these claims after it was able to make recommendations on only 1⁄2 of the claims, leaving claimants without recourse except to file suit in court. The central issue on appeal is whether they satisfied the terms required to go into court after the failure of the state to make good on its prior promise to make this process available to claimants. 

By our informal count, 48 of those approximately 2700 claimants have since died. Even if the court resolves the appeal in favor of the claimants, it just means they get to go forward with this class action. There is much to be done to resolve the claims thereafter. If they lose, the road gets longer, and they will likely have to face the legislature. 

We expect that a sizable crowd will attend this hearing. That can only help the claimants in this long quest for justice. See you there. 

Posted: Sat - May 27, 2006 at 05:41 PM    
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Published On: May 27, 2006 05:41 PM
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