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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–No. SCAP-17-0000059

(Amended 02/20/2018)

No. SCAP-17-0000059, Thursday, March 15, 2018, 10:30 a.m.

E. KALANI FLORES, Appellant-Appellee/Cross-Appellee, vs. BOARD OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES; DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES; SUZANNE D. CASE, in her official capacity as Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, STATE OF HAWAI I, Appellees-Appellants/Cross-Appellees, and UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI I, Appellee-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali iolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorneys for Appellees-Appellants/Cross-Appellees Board of Land and Natural Resources, Dept. of Land and Natural Resources, and Suzanne Case:

Clyde J. Wadsworth, Solicitor General; Kimberly Tsumoto Guidry, Deputy Solicitor General; William J. Wynhoff, Supervising Deputy Attorney General; Julie China and David D. Day, Deputy Attorneys General

Attorneys for Appellee-Appellee/Cross-Appellant University of Hawai i:

John P. Manaut, Ian L. Sandison, and Arsima A. Muller

Attorneys for Appellant-Appellee/Cross-Appellee E. Kalani Flores:

David Kauila Kopper and Camille Kaimalie Kalama

NOTE: Order granting Application for Transfer, filed 06/05/17.

COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.

[  Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Appellee-Cross-Appellant University of Hawai i (University) requested that Appellee-Appellant Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) consent to a sublease that the University intended to enter into with TMT International Observatory LLC for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (Sublease). BLNR considered the University’s request at two separate public meetings, where Appellant-Appellee E. Kalani Flores (Flores) orally requested that BLNR hold a contested case hearing before deciding whether to consent to the Sublease. BLNR did not take any action on his requests at either meeting. However, at the second meeting, BLNR agreed to consent to the Sublease, but stayed the effect of its consent until the resolution of Flores’ requests for a contested case hearing.

Subsequently, Flores filed a formal written petition for a contested case hearing, which BLNR denied. Flores appealed BLNR’s denial of his request for a contested case hearing to the Environmental Court of the Third Circuit (environmental court). On appeal, the environmental court ruled that based upon this court’s opinion in Mauna Kea Anaina Hou v. Board of Land and Natural Resources, 136 Hawai i 376, 363 P.3d 224 (2015), BLNR infringed upon Flores’ constitutional right to due process by rejecting his request for a contested case hearing. Thus, the environmental court vacated BLNR’s consent to the Sublease and remanded the case to BLNR.

The issue before this court on secondary appeal is whether the environmental court correctly concluded that Flores was entitled to a contested case hearing on BLNR’s consent to the Sublease.