AG News Release: State of Hawaiʻi Successfully Defends Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Concerning the Villages at Aina Leʻa

Posted on Jun 1, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – The United States District Court – District of Hawai‘i ruled in favor of the State of Hawaiʻi and the State’s Land Use Commission (LUC) in a regulatory-taking lawsuit brought by developer DW Aina Leʻa Development, LLC, relating to the Villages at Aina Leʻa project in Waikōloa.

DW Aina Leʻa Development, LLC, a Nevada company, sought $360 million for damages to its “development rights” and lost profits stemming from an April 25, 2011 decision of the LUC to revert the project land from the urban district to the agricultural district.  In its order granting the State summary judgment on all claims, the U.S. District Court ruled that DW Aina Lea’s claim that its development rights had been taken by the LUC’s decision failed as a matter of law.  Additionally, the U.S. District Court held that DW Aina Leʻa lacked legal standing to pursue the lawsuit because it had assigned its legal claim to a separate company, Aina Leʻa, Inc., which subsequently filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

“The Attorney General will vigorously defend all lawsuits that seek to extract money from State coffers based upon unsupported legal and factual theories,” Attorney General Holly T. Shikada said. “The District Court’s ruling correctly establishes that the State is not liable to the plaintiff for damages.”

The State of Hawaiʻi previously prevailed in a separate but related regulatory-taking lawsuit filed by the landowner in Bridge Aina Leʻa, LLC v. Land Use Commission.

A copy of the court’s order can be found here.

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For more information, contact:

Gary H. Yamashiroya
Special Assistant to the Attorney General
Department of the Attorney General
425 Queen Street
Honolulu, HI  96813