Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is this lawsuit about?

2. Why is this a class action?

3. What is the Settlement

4. Who is in the Settlement Class? Who is Not in the Settlement Class?

5. What does the Settlement provide?

6. What are my options?

7. What rights am I giving up in this settlement?

8. When will I be paid? How will relatives of deceased claimants be paid?

9. When will the Court rule on the Settlement?

10. Why will the Settlement take so long?

11. Who represents the class?

12. Where can I get additional information?


1. What is this lawsuit about?

Kalima v. State of Hawai‘i was filed in 1999 when the State eliminated the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust Individual Claims Review Panel that reviewed individual breaches of trust by the State of Hawai‘i regarding the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust that occurred between 1959 and 1988.

The class members for this settlement are “All persons who filed claims with the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust, Individual Claims Review Panel on or before August 31, 1995.”

2. Why is this a class action?

A class action is a lawsuit in which an individual called a “Class Representative” brings a single case on behalf of other people who have similar claims. All of these people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” Once a Class is certified, a class action settlement finally approved by the Court resolves the issues for all Settlement Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Settlement Class.

3. What is the Settlement?

The parties have reached a proposed settlement that resolves all claims against the State of Hawai‘i brought in this lawsuit. The Settlement requires the State to pay $328 million, which will be used to pay the valid claims of Settlement Class members, as well as pay claims administration and special master expenses, attorneys’ fees to Class Counsel, and Incentive Awards to the Class Representatives, if approved by the Court.

The Court has preliminarily certified the Settlement Class for settlement purposes only, so that members of the Settlement Class can be given this notice and the opportunity to participate in the Settlement or exclude themselves from the Settlement Class, to express their support or opposition to final approval of the Settlement, and to receive the payment offered by the Settlement. If the Court does not give final approval to the Settlement, the Settlement will be void, and the lawsuit will proceed as if there had been no settlement and no certification of the Settlement Class.

Class members will receive several written notices from the Claims Administrator.

First, living class members will be asked to update their contact information, and relatives of deceased class members will be asked to appoint a representative for their family and provide their contact information and the names and addresses of the deceased class member’s spouse and children.

Second, class members and representatives will receive written notice of whether they are entitled to a settlement payment and, if so, how their payment will be computed. For those class members entitled to a payment, settlement payments will be calculated using a Fair Market Rental Value formula approved by the Court during the litigation. Class members will have an opportunity to correct the starting and ending dates of the payment period.

Class members who are not entitled to payment will receive written notice that they do not qualify for a settlement payment for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Individuals who did not file a claim with the Panel on or before August 31, 1995.

  2. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but the claim did not assert an individual breach of trust which occurred between August 21, 1959, and June 30, 1988.

  3. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but the claim asserted an individual breach of trust that occurred after June 30, 1988.

  4. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but the claim was not a valid HRS Chapter 674 claim.

  5. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but settled their claim.

  6. Individuals who opted out of the Lawsuit in response to the 2007 class notice.

  7. Individuals who opted out of the Lawsuit in response to the 2012 class notice.

  8. Individuals who opt-out of the Settlement Class and this Settlement by sending a valid and timely Opt-Out Letter to the Claims Administrator.

Class members who do not qualify for a settlement payment will have the right to opt out of the settlement to pursue their own claim. See paragraph 6.

Class members will receive a third notice informing them of the amount of their payment and the amount of attorneys fees Class Counsel will request.

4. Who is in the Settlement Class?

All persons who filed claims with the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust, Individual Claims Review Panel on or before August 31, 1995.

a. My claim was dismissed by the Panel. Am I still a part of this case

This case was filed on behalf of all persons who filed claims with the Panel. You are still a part of this case even if the Panel dismissed your claim.

b. I got a recommended award from the Panel. Will I be getting that amount as a settlement payment?

You will not receive the amount of damages that was calculated by the Individual Claims Review Panel. If you received a recommended award from the Panel, it is not binding in this case.

All class members will have their settlement payment calculated by a similar method that will be used only for purposes of this settlement.

c. Can I claim a settlement payment based on my out-of-pocket expense for alternate housing?

All class members will have their settlement payment calculated the same way. If you want to seek damages based on a different method, you must exclude yourself from the settlement and file a separate lawsuit. See paragraph 6.

d. I filed a claim for my deceased parents. Will my parents’ claim be considered?

Claims made on behalf of deceased parents or grandparents will be considered like any other claim.

e. My wife and I filed one claim. We will each get a settlement payment?

Claims on behalf of married couples who suffered individual breaches of trust will be considered like any other claim.

f. Which Settlement Class Members are not entitled to a settlement payment?

  1. Individuals who did not file a claim with the Panel on or before August 31, 1995.

  2. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but the claim did not assert an individual breach of trust which occurred between August 21, 1959, and June 30, 1988.

  3. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but the claim asserted an individual breach of trust that occurred after June 30, 1988.

  4. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but the claim was not a valid HRS Chapter 674 claim.

  5. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but settled their claim.

  6. Individuals who opted out of the Lawsuit in response to the 2007 class notice.

  7. Individuals who opted out of the Lawsuit in response to the 2012 class notice.

  8. Individuals who opt-out of the Settlement Class and this Settlement by sending a valid and timely Opt-Out Letter to the Claims Administrator.

5. What does the Settlement provide?

The State of Hawai'i has agreed to create a $328 million Settlement Fund for the Class Members. If the Settlement is approved by the Court, Settlement Class Members who have valid claims will be eligible to receive a payment paid out of the Settlement Fund, after payment is made for special master and claims administration costs, attorneys’ fees, and a Class Representative Incentive Award. The amount of the payment will be based on an established Court-approved distribution plan. The payment amount cannot be determined at this time, but each Settlement Class Member will be notified at a later date of the following: (1) whether their claim is valid; and, if so, (2) the estimated amount to be paid to that Class Member under the Settlement.

If you have a valid claim, you will receive notice of the amount of your settlement payment prior to the Fairness Hearing currently proposed for April 14, 2023 (or other date set by the Court).

The Claims Administrator will issue a check to each Class Member who has a valid claim following the final approval of the Settlement. All checks issued to Settlement Class Members will expire and become void 120 days after they are issued.

Additionally, the attorneys who brought this lawsuit will ask the Court to award attorneys’ fees between eight percent (8%) and twelve percent (12%) of the Settlement Fund for the substantial time, expense, and effort spent investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the Settlement, over more than 22 years. The Class Representatives also will apply to the Court for a payment of up to $10,000.00 for their time, effort, and service in this matter. Class Counsel will file with the Court and post on the Settlement Website their request for attorneys’ fees and costs and an Incentive Award to the Class Representatives at a date set by the Court, on or after January 16, 2023.

6. What are my options?

a. Accept the Settlement.

If you are a class member whose claim is validated, you do not have to take any action to receive payment. However, please update your mailing address, telephone number(s), and e-mail address by clicking here. For more information, please click here.

If you are a relative of a deceased Class Member, please designate someone to represent your family. Please provide your name, mailing address, telephone number(s), and e-mail address by clicking here. For more information, please click here.

b. Exclude yourself.

You may exclude yourself from participating in the Settlement. If you do so, you will not receive any payment from the Settlement Fund. You will retain any claims you may have against the State of Hawai'i and the Released Parties (as that term is defined in the Settlement Agreement) and are free to pursue whatever legal rights you may have at your own risk and your own expense.

To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must mail a signed letter to the Settlement Administrator at P.O. Box 135035, Honolulu, Hawai'i 96801, postmarked by December 15, 2022. The exclusion letter must state that you exclude yourself from this Settlement and must include the name and case number of this litigation, as well as your full name, address, telephone number, a statement that you wish to be excluded, and your signature. So-called “mass” or “class” exclusion requests are not permitted.

Limitations periods may bar your claim if it is not timely filed. Any separate lawsuit before April 14, 2023, to ensure it falls within the potential statutory limitations period. Please consult with a lawyer about filing your claim.

c. Object to the settlement.

If you wish to object to the Settlement, you must file your objection in writing with the First Circuit Court, 9TH Division, State of Hawai'i . The objection must be received by the Court no later than March 15, 2023. You must also send a copy of your objection to the attorneys for all Parties to the lawsuit, including Class Counsel, at their addresses found in paragraph 10 below, as well as the attorneys representing the Defendant (State of Hawaii, Department of the Attorney General, 425 Queen Street, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813), postmarked no later than March 15, 2023. Any objection to the Settlement must include: (a) the objector’s full name, address, email address, and current telephone number; (b) the case name and number of the Litigation; (c) all grounds for the objection, with factual and legal support for the stated objection, including any supporting materials; (d) the identification of any other objections they have filed, or have had filed on their behalf, in any other class action cases in the last four years; and (e) the objector’s signature. If you hire an attorney in connection with making an objection, that attorney must also file with the Court a notice of appearance by the objection deadline of March 15, 2023. If you hire your own attorney, you will be solely responsible for payment of any fees and costs the attorney incurs on your behalf. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you cannot file an objection.

You may appear at the Final Approval Hearing, which is proposed to be held on April 14, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. (or other date set by the Court), in person or through counsel to show cause as to why the Settlement should not be approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate. Attendance at the hearing is not necessary; however, persons wishing to be heard in opposition to the Final Approval of the Settlement, the request for attorneys’ fees and expenses, and/or the request for an Incentive Award to the Class Representative are required to indicate in their written objection their intention to appear at the hearing on their own behalf or through counsel and to identify the names of any witnesses they intend to call to testify at the Final Approval Hearing, as well as any exhibits they intend to introduce at the Final Approval Hearing.

7. What rights am I giving up in this Settlement?

Unless you exclude yourself from this Settlement, you will be considered a member of the Settlement Class, which means you give up your right to file or continue a lawsuit against the State of Hawai'i and the other Released Parties (as defined in the Settlement Agreement), in exchange for payment of your claims. Giving up your legal claims is called a release and is what you are giving the State of Hawai‘i in exchange for payment to the Class. The precise terms of the release are in the Settlement Agreement. Unless you formally exclude yourself from this Settlement, you will release your claims whether or not you are eligible to receive payment. If you have any questions, you can talk for free to the attorneys identified in paragraph 10 below who have been appointed by the Court to represent the Settlement Class. You can also talk to any other lawyer of your choosing at your own expense.

8. When will I be paid?

The Court will be asked to give final approval to the Settlement on April 14, 2023. If the Court finally approves the Settlement, class members will be paid as soon as possible after the court order becomes final, approximately 30 days after the Settlement has been finally approved, unless there is an appeal.

9. How will deceased class members get paid?

Payment to deceased class members will be made to their estates. This process—called probate—will take several months or more after the final approval.

Under Hawai'i law, money awarded to a deceased person will pass to family members if provided for in either a will or trust, or to certain family members if there is no will or trust.

Please designate a family member who will represent the family in connection with this lawsuit. The representative will serve as the point of communication during the processing of the deceased person’s claim processing. Being appointed as a family representative does not entitle the appointed person to receive any settlement proceeds that are awarded to the deceased person’s estate.

Please provide the Claims Administrator with information about the deceased class member, including whether they had a will or trust and the names of their spouse and children. You may provide that information by clicking here.

Ultimately the Probate Court will have to approve the distribution of any settlement payment to the deceased class members’ heirs. We will be providing more information in the future about the steps that must be taken to open probate and distribute the settlement payment.

10. When will the Court rule on the Settlement?

The Court has not yet given preliminary approval to the Settlement. A final hearing on the Settlement, called a "Final Approval Hearing," will be held to determine the fairness of the Settlement. At the Final Approval Hearing, the Court will also consider whether to make final the certification of the Class for settlement purposes, hear any proper objections and arguments to the Settlement, as well as any requests for an award of attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses and a Class Representative Incentive Award that may be sought by Class Counsel. We currently have proposed that the Court hold the Final Approval Hearing on April 14, 2003, at 9:00 a.m. (or other date set by the Court). The hearing is subject to being changed by the Court, including taking place remotely via videoconference, so please visit this website for updates.

If the Court gives the Settlement final approval, the Settlement’s terms will take effect and the lawsuit will be dismissed on the merits with prejudice. Both sides have agreed to the Settlement to achieve a more timely and certain resolution to the lawsuit, in a way that avoids years more litigation and provides specific and valuable benefits to the members of the Settlement Class.

If the Court does not approve the Settlement, or if it approves the Settlement and the approval is reversed on appeal, or if the Settlement does not become final for some other reason, you will not be paid and Class Members will receive no benefits from the Settlement. Plaintiffs, Defendants, and all of the Class Members will be in the same position as they were prior to the execution of the Settlement, and the Settlement will have no legal effect. If that occurs, the case will go back to litigation and your claim will be resolved through the litigation process instead of settlement.

11. Why will the Settlement take so long?

Your attorneys are working to conclude the Settlement as soon as possible. Because the case is a Class Action, all of the Class Members’ claims must be evaluated and payments calculated individually for valid claims. There are currently 2,721 Class Members. Each of them has different homestead application and award dates if they have received an award that must be verified to calculate the settlement payment.

A Claims Administrator has been retained to locate and contact Class Members, validate their claims, and calculate payments for valid claims. Once the Class Members are located and contacted, their claims are validated, and payments are calculated, notices must be sent to all Class Members regarding their claim and proposed payment.

After the notice is sent out, the Court must review the proposed settlement payment for all Class Members to make sure it is fair. The Court must also rule on any objections by any Class Members. The work necessary to reach every Class Member who can be found, so that they have the opportunity to receive a settlement payment, and completing the validation and calculation steps will take time. Each step must be reviewed and approved by the Court. By complying with these Court-approved procedures, we have a much better chance of having the Court grant final approval to the Settlement. We will also protect the Settlement process from accusations that it was not fair. While all of these steps take time, they are being taken to assure that the Settlement will be approved without significant objection, and you will receive your settlement payment at the soonest possible date.

12. Who represents the class?

The Court has approved the following attorneys to represent the Settlement Class. They are called “Class Counsel.” If you want to be represented by your own lawyer instead, you may hire one at your own expense.


CARL M. VARADY THOMAS R. GRANDE

Law Office of Carl M. Varady Grande Law Offices

Pauahi Tower, Suite 1730 41-859 Kalaniana'ole Highway, #271

1003 Bishop Street Waimānalo, Hawai'i 96795

Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813


13. Where can I get additional information?


This website is only a summary of the Settlement of this lawsuit. More details are in the Settlement Agreement which, along with other documents, can be obtained here. If you have any questions, you can also call the Claims Administrator at (808) 650-5551; or toll-free at 1-(833)-639-1308. In addition to the documents available on this website, all pleadings and documents filed in court may be reviewed or copied in the Office of the Clerk. Please do not call the Judge or the Clerk of the Court about this case. They will not be able to give you advice on your options.




PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT DIRECTLY FOR INFORMATION REGARDING THE SETTLEMENT.

THE COURT IS UNABLE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH INFORMATION OR ADVICE.