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Home Lands Case Recertified for Damages

Judge Virginia Crandall has recertified the Hawaiian Home Lands case to include the amount of damages to be awarded.  A written order has not been entered.  For updates on the case, please go to

State Found Liable in Home Lands Case

Thomas Grande announced a decision by Judge Eden E. Hifo, who ruled that the State of Hawai’i is liable for breaches of trust to Native Hawaiian beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust that led to delays in homestead awards.

“The Court held the State liable for failing to award homesteads to our clients between 1959 and 1988,” Grande explained. “Some of our clients waited more than thirty years or more for a homestead award and some still are waiting,” Grande said.

The case was filed in 1999 by Grande and co-counsel Carl Varady on behalf of a group of Hawaiian Home Lands Trust beneficiaries. These beneficiaries filed breach of trust claims with an administrative panel set up by the State of Hawai’i in 1991. When the State did not complete the administrative process and shut down the panel in 1999, the lawsuit was filed.

Judge Hifo found that “the primary reason for the trust was and is to award eligible beneficiaries homesteads. Failure to do so constitutes breach of the trust and applicable trust duties…” Kalima v. State, Civil No. 99-04771-12(EEH) November 3, 2009 Decision Regarding Liability and Legal Causation Following Bifurcated Trial on Aforesaid issues (“Decision”) ¶ 10 at 12.

Judge Hifo also found that “By any measure and any method the clear and convincing evidence proves the award of significantly more homesteads would have occurred during the claims period if the Defendant State had cured its own breaches and those of the predecessor trustee for which the State became equally responsible as the successor trustee…”Decision, ¶ 15 at 14.

Among the breaches of trust by the State were the following:

• DHHL could not qualify to issue bonds to fund homesteads because DHHL financial records were lost from 1962 to 1972 and DHHL did not meet general accounting standards until 1985. Decision ¶ 4 at 6-7.

• “The State took no action to identify the [DHHL] land inventory during most or all of the claims period…Failure to ascertain the property within the trust and to correct that same failure by the predecessor trustee [the United States] constitution breach of trust by the State…” Decision ¶ 5 at 8.

• It is undisputed that more than 29,000 acres of Hawaiian home lands were withdrawn from the trust by executive orders or proclamations [which]…provided no compensation to the trust” This land was valued at more than $100 million. Decision ¶ 5 at 8.

“We want to thank our clients for their support and their patience. We are committed to seeing this case through to its successful conclusion,” Grande noted.

To read Honolulu Star-Bulletin news coverage, click here.

To read KITV news coverage, click here.

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