ATG NEWS RELEASE: Hawaii Supreme Court refuses to order state to repair Waikiki Gold Coast seawalls

Posted on Aug 28, 2017 in Latest News

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Supreme Court on Friday rejected a request by Waikiki apartment and condominium owners to order the State of Hawaii to pay for repairs to a damaged seawall, or for the owners’ attorney fees after 10 years of litigation, Attorney General Doug Chin announced.

The case, Gold Coast Neighborhood Association v. State of Hawaii, was initiated in 2007 by private individuals owning property situated on what is known as the “Gold Coast” on Oahu. Friday’s decision by the Hawaii Supreme Court ends the case.

The owners sued the State to repair seawalls built by private parties to protect private property from erosion and wave damage. The Supreme Court refused to issue such an order. The Court ruled the State holds an easement over the seawalls and is not liable for attorneys’ fees.

Attorney General Chin said, “We are pleased the Court affirmed our position that the courts are not the proper place to decide how taxpayer money is spent. The State will repair the seawalls if and only if money to do so is appropriated by the state legislature and allocated by the governor.”

The State of Hawaii was represented internally at all stages of the litigation. Supervising Deputy Attorney General Bill Wynhoff tried the case in circuit court and argued the State’s case in both the Intermediate Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The private owners were represented by the firm McCorriston Miller Mukai McKinnon LLP.

A copy of the Supreme Court’s opinion and the dissenting opinion are attached.

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For more information, contact:

 

Joshua A. Wisch

Special Assistant to the Attorney General

Phone: (808) 586-1284

Email: Joshua.A.Wisch@hawaii.gov  

Web: http://ag.hawaii.gov  

Twitter: @ATGHIgov