Articles by Robert Thomas:

Hawaii Supreme Court Considering Whether A County Has A Duty To Maintain Accurate Public Records

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 in Guest Commentary

BY ROBERT THOMAS - Here's an interesting case upcoming on the Hawaii Supreme Court's oral argument calendar that is worth following. (April 29, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. - the court is taking the show on the road, and the arguments will be at the gym at Kealakehe High School, in Kailua-Kona, on the Big Island.) […]

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The Real Stories Behind "The Descendants"

Monday, March 10th, 2014 in Guest Commentary

BY ROBERT THOMAS - Our old U. Hawaii Wills & Trusts lawprof Randy Roth was the legal advisor to The Descendants, the 2011 George Clooney movie about a Honolulu lawyer (our review here). Professor Roth has published an article about his experience, which also details the legal cases that were the stories-behind-the-story. Here's the summary: The […]

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GMO Chapter 2 - Big Island Farmer: Invalidate County's Anti-GMO Ordinance

Monday, March 10th, 2014 in Guest Commentary

BY ROBERT THOMAS - Here's the Complaint for Declaratory Injunctive Relief, filed earlier this week in iwhich an anonymous Big Island papaya farmer challenges the County of Hawaii's recently-adopted ordinance about GMO farming. Although the ordinance exempts farmers who currently grow GMO papaya from the ordinance's ban on "open air cultivation, propagation, development, or testing" […]

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Looks Like Hawaii Won't Need To Count All Those Soldiers, Sailors, And Marines In The Next Reapportionment Anyway

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 in Guest Commentary

BY ROBERT THOMAS - Not only did the State win the reapportionment legal case in which it successfully argued that military personnel and their families who reside in Hawaii are not "permanent residents" and thus may be treated as outlanders and ignored for state reapportionment purposes [we represented the plaintiffs who challenged that scheme], but with […]

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Aloha, Justice Acoba

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 in Guest Commentary

BY ROBERT THOMAS - According to the coconut wireless, Hawaii Supreme Court for Associate Justice Simeon Acoba officially retired last week. State court justices and judges face mandatory retirement at age 70, and Justice Acoba's birthday is coming up in March. While time marched on, so did the process for selecting his successor on the […]

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9th Cir: Honolulu Rail Project On Track

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 in Guest Commentary

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser has this report ("The appellate court decision was an 'overwhelming victory for the city from an ideologically diverse panel, said Robert Thomas, a Hono­lulu-and San Francisco-based attorney who attended the hearing in August. The panel comprised Judges Stephen Rein­hardt, Mary Schroe­der and Andrew Hur­witz. 'All three of them agreed. They made pretty short work of […]

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HI Supreme Court: State Agency Must Consider "Historical Evidence" Of "The Upper Reaches Of The Wash Of The Waves" When Certifying Shorelines

Monday, February 10th, 2014 in Guest Commentary

BY ROBERT THOMAS - The Hawaii Supreme Court issued an option in Diamond v. Dobbin, No. SCWC-30573 (Jan. 27, 2014), a case about shoreline certifications that we've been following. It's a beach case, obviously, but not about ownership. Shoreline certifications approved by the State Department of Land and Natural Resources are used as the baseline […]

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New Cert Petition: State Court Altering Bottle Refund Rights A Judicial Taking

Monday, January 6th, 2014 in Guest Commentary

BY ROBERT THOMAS - Here's the latest foray into the judicial takings arena. In this cert petition, a beverage distributor asserts that the Connecticut Supreme Court's decision altering established property rights in unclaimed refund values in bottles resulted in a taking. Here are the Questions Presented: For nearly 30 years, Connecticut beverage distributors had established property […]

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Koa Ridge: HAWSCT Invalidates Rezoning Because Holdover Commissioner Voted

Thursday, December 26th, 2013 in Guest Commentary

In Sierra Club v. Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii, Inc., No. SCWC-0000625 (Dec. 23, 2013), by a 4-1 majority, the Hawaii Supreme Court concluded that a Land Use Commission commissioner, who had not been approved by the Hawaii Senate for a second term, was neither a statutory "holdover" member, nor a de facto commissioner, and thus […]

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SCOTUS Brief In Hawaii Reapportionment Case: Exclusions From Population Are Not Reviewed Under "Rational Basis"

Thursday, December 26th, 2013 in Guest Commentary

BY ROBERT THOMAS - Here's the Brief Opposing Motion to Affirm, filed today in Kostick v. Nago, No. 13-456. That's the appeal currently pending in the Supreme Court challenging a ruling by a three-judge U.S. District Court upholding the 2012 Hawaii Reapportionment Plan against an Equal Protection challenge. The Plaintiffs assert that the 2012 Plan's exclusion of 108,767 military, […]

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