Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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Lanric Hyland appealed from a county clerk decision to the local board of registration for the County of Hawaii. The local board determined that Hyland mailed his appeal within ten days of service of the county clerk’s decision based in part on its determination that October 13 was a holiday, thus tolling his appeal deadline for that day. Nevertheless, the board ruled that his appeal was untimely because the board did not receive his appeal until after the deadline, and therefore, it was without jurisdiction to review the appeal. The intermediate court of appeals affirmed, but also determined that Hyland did not mail his letter within the ten-day filing period because the second Monday in October - recognized by the federal government as Columbus Day - is not a Hawaii state holiday. The Supreme Court vacated the decisions below, holding (1) the board had jurisdiction to consider the merits of Hyland’s appeal because the appeal letter was mailed within ten days of service of the county clerk decision; and (2) the second Monday in October is a holiday for purposes of the computation of time as to when an act is to be done under Haw. Rev. Stat. 1-29. Remanded. View "Hyland v. Gonzales" on Justia Law

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The Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) granted a permit for the University of Hawaii to construct the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope at an area set aside for astronomical observations located within a conservation district near the summit of Haleakala on the island of Maui. Kilakila 'O Haleakala (Kilakila) challenged BLNR’s approval of the permit. Both the circuit court and the Intermediate Court of Appeals affirmed BLNR’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the permit approval process was not procedurally flawed by prejudgment or by impermissible ex parte communication; and (2) BLNR validly determined that the telescope met the applicable permit criteria and was consistent with the purposes of the conservation district. View "Kilakila 'O Haleakala v. Bd. of Land & Nat. Res." on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was a proposed project for constructing a new telescope at an area set aside for astronomical research located within a conservation district near the summit of Haleakala on the island of Maui. The University of Hawaii (UH) prepared a Management Plan containing guidelines applying to facilities within the astronomical site area. UH found that the Management Plan would not have a significant environmental impact and, therefore, that an environmental impact statement was not required. Kilakila ‘O Haleakala (Kilakila) brought a court action to challenge UH’s finding. During discovery, Kilakila sought to obtain documents and admissions from UH and the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) relating to the environmental assessment. UH and DLNR sought a protective order regarding Kilakila’s discovery request, contending that judicial review was restricted to the administrative record. The circuit court granted the protective order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) while judicial review of the agency’s determination was not restricted to the administrative record, the circuit court did not err because the parties were permitted to submit documents beyond those contained within the agency record, and the court did not foreclose further discovery requests; and (2) UH’s conclusion that the Management Plan would not cause significant environmental impacts was not clearly erroneous. View "Kilakila 'O Haleakala v. Univ. of Hawaii" on Justia Law

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In 2010 and 2012, the Commission issued charges against William Boyd, a charter school employee, for alleged violations of Haw. Rev. Stat. 84-14 that occurred in 2006 and 2007. Boyd filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Commission lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate proceedings against him because he was not an employee of the State subject to the code of ethics contained in Haw. Rev. Stat. Chapter 84. The Commission denied Boyd’s motion and concluded that Boyd was an “employee” as defined in Haw. Rev. Stat. 84-3. The Commission then concluded that Boyd committed several violations of Chapter 84 and imposed a total administrative fine of $10,000. The circuit court affirmed the Commission’s determination that Boyd as an “employee” under section 84-3 and was thus subject to the code of ethics in Chapter 84. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) affirmed the determination. The Supreme Court vacated the lower courts’ judgments and the Commission’s decision and order, holding (1) in accordance with Haw. Rev. Stat. 302B-9(a), charter school employees were exempt from Haw. Rev. Stat. 84-14 at the relevant time period in this case; and (2) therefore, the Commission did not have the authority to adjudicate the proceedings against Boyd. View "Boyd v. Haw. State Ethics Comm’n" on Justia Law

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The Green Party of Hawaii and seven registered voters who voted in the 2012 General Elections (collectively, Green Party) filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment that certain methodologies and procedures used by the Office of Elections in the 2012 election were invalid under the Hawaii Administrative Procedure Act (HAPA). The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the Office of Elections, concluding that the challenged procedures were not subject to HAPA rulemaking requirements. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s judgment in part, holding that the procedures used to determine that there will be a sufficient number of ballots ordered for each precinct for a general or primary election and the policy for counting votes cast on ballots for the incorrect precinct are rules under HAPA and, therefore, are subject to HAPA’s rulemaking requirements. View "Green Party of Hawaii v. Nago" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a State of Hawaii employee, was injured in an accident on the premises of the University of Hawaii Leward Community College one hour after he ended work for the day. The State denied Plaintiff’s claim for compensation on the basis that his injury was not work related. The Labor and Industrial Relations Appeals Board (LIRAB) determined that the State had presented sufficient evidence to overcome the presumption that Plaintiff’s knee injury was a covered work-related injury. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment and the LIRAB’s decision and order, holding that the LIRAB erred in concluding that the State rebutted the presumption that Plaintiff’s knee injury was a compensable work injury. View "Yoshii v. State, Univ. of Hawaii" on Justia Law

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Appellants, The Sierra Club and Senator Clayton Hee, challenged the Land Use Commission’s (LUC) reclassification of 1525 acres of Appellee D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes’ land from the agricultural state land use district to the urban state land use district. The circuit court affirmed the LUC’s findings of fact, conclusions of law, and decision and order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the reclassification did not violate article XI, section 3 of the Hawai’i Constitution or Haw. Rev. Stat. 205-41 through -52; and (2) reliable, probative, and substantial evidence supported the LUC’s finding that the reclassification of the land at issue was consistent with the Hawai’i State Plan, would not substantially impair agricultural production, and was necessary for urban growth. View "Sierra Club v. D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes, LLC" on Justia Law

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Appellant was injured while he was working for his former employer. Appellant made a workers’ compensation claim against his former employer and its insurance carrier (collectively, Defendants). The Labor and Industrial Relations Appeals Board (LIRAB) concluded that substantial evidence rebutted the presumption that that Appellant’s injuries were related to his work accident and, further, limited Plaintiff’s TTD benefits based on deficiencies in the certificates of disability submitted by Appellant’s attending physicians. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment and the LIRAB’s decision and order, holding that the LIRAB erred in (1) concluding that Defendants adduced substantial evidence that rebutted the presumption that Appellant’s injuries were covered work-related injuries; and (2) relying on the deficiencies in Appellant’s physicians’ reports in limiting Appellant’s TTD benefits. Remanded. View "Panoke v. Reef Dev. of Hawaii, Inc." on Justia Law

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The University of Hawai’i at Hilo applied for approval from the Board of Land and Natural Resources (Board) to construct a thirty meter telescope on Mauna Kea on the island of Hawai’i. Despite objections, the Board voted to approve the permit, subject to a number of conditions. The Board further directed that a contested case hearing be conducted and included a condition in the permit that no construction could be undertaken until the contested case hearing was resolved. After the contested case hearing, the hearing officer recommended that the permit be approved. The Board adopted that recommendation. The circuit court affirmed the Board’s action. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the circuit court and the permit issued by the Board, holding that, by voting on the permit before the contested case hearing was held, the Board violated the Hawai’i Constitution’s guarantee of due process. Remanded. View "Hou v. Bd. of Land & Natural Res." on Justia Law

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In 1996, Petitioner suffered a work-related injury while employed by Employer. Petitioner was subsequently awarded temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. In 2008, Employer denied Petitioner’s request that he be fitted for a neuromonics device for treatment of his tinnitus condition and gave notice of its intent to terminate TTD payments. Petitioner requested a hearing challenging Employer’s actions. The Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Disability Compensation Division, determined that Petitioner was not entitled to a neuromonics device and that he was no longer entitled to TTD benefits because he was able to resume work. The Labor and Industrial Relations Appeals Board (LIRAB) affirmed the Director’s decision. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) affirmed LIRAB’s decision and order. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment and LIRAB’s decision and order, holding (1) there was substantial evidence to show that the neuromonics device was reasonably needed for treating Petitioner’s tinnitus; and (2) based on that finding, Petitioner was not medically stable and unable to return to work, and therefore, Petitioner was entitled to reinstatement of TTD payments. View "Pulawa v. Oahu Constr. Co., Ltd." on Justia Law