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Oral Arugments before the Intermediate Court of Appeals

No. 30142 – Wednesday, September 14, 2011, 11:00 a.m.

KAREN GOO, et al., Plaintiffs/Counterclaim-Defendants/Appellants/Cross-Appellees v. MAYOR CHARMAINE TAVARES, et al.,
Defendants/Cross-Claim Defendants/Appellees/Cross-Appellants.

Attorney(s) for Plaintiffs/Counter-Claim Defendants/Appellants/Cross-Appellees Karen Goo, et al. David J. Gierlach and Lance D. Collins

Attorney(s) for Defendants/Cross-Claim Defendants/Appellees/Cross-Appellants
Mayor Charmaine Tavares, et al. Patrick Wong, Acting Corporation Counsel and Madelyn S. D’Enbeau and Jane Lovell, Deputies Corporation Counsel

Attorney(s) for Defendants/Intervenor-Defendants/Cross-Claim Defendants/Counter claimants/Cross-Claimants/Appellees/Cross-Appellants VP and PK (ML) LLC, KCOM CORP.; Defendant/Intervenor-Defendant/Counterclaiming Defendant/Cross-Claim Plaintiff/Appellee/Cross-Appellant
New Sand Hills LLC; and IntervenorsAppellees/Cross-Appellants Hookahi, LLC, and Sandhills Estates Community Ass’n Ronald T. Ogomori and Nathan H. Yoshimoto

COURT: Fujise, Leonard and Ginoza, JJ.

SPECIAL NOTE: The above argument will take place in:
Supreme Court  courtroom
Second Floor of Ali`iolani Hale
417 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

This case, involving multiple parties, arises from development of the Sandhills Estates and the Fairways at Maui Lani residential projects in the Maui Lani Project District. At issue is the applicable height restriction for the projects under the Maui County Code. In particular, whether a pre-1991 definition of height measuring from the finished grade applies, or whether a 1991 ordinance applies which altered the definition of height to measure from “the natural or finish grade, whichever is lower.”

The Circuit Court of the Second Circuit (Circuit Court) ruled that the amended 1991 height restriction applies and enjoined action conflicting with the height restriction. The Circuit Court entered final judgment which, among other things, entered judgment in favor of plaintiffs. Multiple appeals have been taken from the final judgment.

Issues on appeal include: whether the plaintiffs have standing; whether the Circuit Court had jurisdiction; whether necessary and indispensable parties were not joined; whether the developers have vested rights; whether the Circuit Court failed to give proper deference to the County’s interpretation of its ordinances; whether issuance of an injunction was appropriate; and whether the plaintiffs are entitled to attorneys’
fees under the private attorney general doctrine.