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Oral Argument Before the Intermediate Court of Appeals

No. 30006, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9 a.m.

In the Matter of the Application of TRUSTEES UNDER THE WILL OF THE ESTATE OF JAMES CAMPBELL, DECEASED, to register and confirm title to land situate at Kahuku, District of Ko`olau Loa, City and County of Honolulu, State of Hawai`i.

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 Respondent-Appellant State of Hawaii:

Donna H. Kalama and Julie H. China, Deputy Attorneys General

Attorneys for Petitioner-Appellee Continental Pacific, LLC:

Lani L. Ewart and Regan M. Iwao of Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel

Attorneys for Petitioner-Appellee James C. Reynolds, Inc.:

Barry A. Sullivan and James J. Bickerton of Bickerton Lee Dang & Sullivan

Attorneys for Petitioner-Appellee James Campbell Co., LLC:

Mark K. Murakami, Jennifer A. Benck, and William M. Harstad of Carlsmith Ball LLP

COURT: Nakamura, Chief Judge, Foley, J., and Circuit Court Judge Castagnetti, in place of Fujise, Leonard, Reifurth and Ginoza, JJ., all recused

 [ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Respondent-Appellant State of Hawai`i (State) appeals from a Decree issued by the Land Court of the State of Hawai`i (Land Court) with respect to property located in Kahuku on the Island of Oʻahu (Subject Property). The Subject Property is comprised of lands derived from (1) a deed of Kamehameha III; (2) a Royal Patent Grant; and (3) Land Commission Awards with Royal Patents. The Subject Property was included in property originally registered in Land Court in 1938. The list of encumbrances set forth in the Land Court’s original certificate of title did not contain any reservation by the government of mineral and metallic mines or an easement for the free flowage of waters.

In 2009, Petitioner-Appellees James Campbell Company LLC, Continental Pacific, LLC, and James C. Reynolds, Inc. (collectively, “Petitioners”) filed an amended and restated petition for consolidation, resubdivision, creation of shoreline setback line, and designation of easements with the Land Court for the Subject Property (Petition). The State filed an answer to the Petition, which among other things claimed that (1) the State owns all mineral and metallic mines on the Subject Property, including geothermal rights, and the right to remove the same; and (2) the State has reserved an easement for the free flowage of any waters through, over, under, and across the Subject Property. The Land Court ruled that the Subject Property was not encumbered by these two interests claimed by the State.

On appeal, the State argues that the Land Court erred in ruling that: (1) the issuance of the original certificate of title by the Land Court in 1938 extinguished the reservations of mineral and metallic mines set forth in the Royal Patent Grant and Royal Patents covering lands included in the Subject Property; (2) the land conveyed by deed of Kamehameha III included in the Subject Property was never subject to a reservation of mineral and metallic mines in favor of the government; and (3) although the State has reserved an interest in water rights, the State’s interest does not include an easement for the free flowage of any waters through, over, under, and across the Subject Property.