Friday, Sept. 22, 2023|
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HONOLULU — The state has agreed to settle a 23-year-old class action lawsuit over Hawaiian Home Lands for $328 million, Gov. David Ige announced earlier today.
Under the settlement of the case — Kalima vs. State of Hawaii — which must be approved by the state Legislature, the state will pay the plaintiffs $328 million in exchange for a full, global release of all claims, including damages, attorneys’ fees and litigation costs.
The payment also will cover claims administration costs and the cost to retain a court-appointed Special Master to oversee and account for the funds.
“This necessary resolution fairly compensates the Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries and brings this litigation to a close, but it is not the end of the story. I remain committed to developing and delivering homes for the Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries,” Ige said in a statement.
“After weeks of intensive negotiations with the assistance of the settlement judge, the Honorable Gary W.B. Chang, the parties have reached a fair and necessary resolution of this longstanding case — for both the members of the plaintiff class and the state as a whole.” Attorney General Holly T. Shikada said in a statement. “We may now put 23 years of litigation to rest and, if funds are appropriated, move forward with implementation of the settlement.”
The settlement is conditioned on the Legislature appropriating funds for the payment. If appropriated by the Legislature, the settlement funds will be paid into an account controlled by the court and disbursed under the supervision of the court-appointed Special Master. The settlement must also receive preliminary and final approvals from the Circuit Court to ensure that the terms are fair to class members.
The Kalima lawsuit was filed in 1999 as a class action, and the state Supreme Court ruled that individual beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust could bring an action to recover damages arising from breaches of trust occurring between Aug. 21, 1959, and June 30, 1988. The case has undergone trials on liability and the measure of damages, and two separate appeals.
Recently, the state Supreme Court decided an appeal and cross-appeal relating to the Waiting List Subclass, a group of claimants contending that breaches of trust by the state caused them unreasonable delay in receiving a homestead award.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys have established an informational telephone hotline. Class members with questions regarding the details of the settlement should call (808) 650-5551 and 1-833-639-1308 or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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