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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court

No. SCWC-11-0000342, Thursday, March 21, 2013, 10 a.m.

Amended (1/18/13)

THEODORE K. BLAKE, Petitioner/Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. COUNTY OF KAUA`I PLANNING COMMISSION; COUNTY OF KAUA`I PLANNING DEPARTMENT; IAN COSTA, in his official capacity as Planning Director; DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES; WILLIAM J. AILA, JR., in his official capacity as chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources; and STACY T.J. WONG, as Successor Trustee of the Eric A. Knudsen Trust, Respondents/Defendants-Appellees.

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

Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali`iolani Hale
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorneys for Petitioner/Plaintiff-Appellant:

David Kimo Frankel and Ashley K. Obrey of Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation

Attorneys for Respondent/Defendant-Appellee Stacey T.J. Wong:

Michael D. Tom and Joseph F. Kotowski, III of Tom Petrus & Miller, LLLC

Attorneys for Respondents/Defendants-Appellees County of Kaua`i Planning Commission, etc.:

Alfred B. Castillo, Jr., Ian K. Jung, and Mauna Kea H. Trask of the Office of the County Attorney

Attorney for Respondents/Defendants-Appellees Dept. of Land & Natural Resources and William J. Aila, Jr.:

Linda L.W. Chow, Deputy Attorney General

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 12/20/12.

NOTE: Order granting postponement of oral argument from 02/07/13 to 03/21/13 at 10:00 a.m., filed 01/17/13.


[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

 Petitioner/plaintiff-appellant Theodore K. Blake timely filed an application for a writ of certiorari to review the September 19, 2012 judgment of the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA), issued pursuant to its August 21, 2012 memorandum opinion. The ICA’s judgment affirmed the Circuit Court of the Fifth Circuit’s (circuit court) April 4, 2011 final judgment in favor of respondents/defendants-appellees County of Kaua`i Planning Commission (Planning Commission), County of Kaua`i Planning Department, Planning Director Ian Costa, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), DLNR Director William J. Aila, Jr., and the Eric A. Knudsen Trust (Knudsen Trust) (collectively, Defendants).

In brief summary, this case involves a challenge to the Planning Commission’s approval of the Knudsen Trust’s subdivision application. One of the challenged aspects of the proposed subdivision was the need for the Knudsen Trust to breach a historic road and its adjacent rock wall to provide access into the subdivision. All the parties assumed at the time that the historic road belonged to the County of Kaua`i. The Planning Commission approved the Knudsen Trust’s application.

Blake then filed a civil complaint that alleged six claims, and an amended complaint, which asserted two additional claims. On a motion for summary judgment, the circuit court determined that because the State had not given its approval to breach the historic road, the issues raised in Blake’s complaint were not ripe and therefore dismissed the claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The circuit court also indicated that even though Blake may have had claims that were ripe and severable, in the interest of judicial economy, it would dismiss those claims as well. The ICA affirmed the circuit court’s order.

Blake raises three questions in his application: (1) whether the case was ripe for adjudication; (2) whether the circuit court had subject matter jurisdiction; and (3) whether his motions for partial summary judgment should have been granted.