Hawaii Intermediate Court: Attorneys Fee Award In Judicial Selection Commission List Case Was Reasonable

Robert Thomas
Robert Thomas

BY ROBERT THOMAS – Remember the case from late last year in which the Honolulu Star-Advertiser brought a freedom of information/open records lawsuit against the Hawaii governor to force him to disclose the names of judicial nominees?

Abandoning the practice of his two predecessors, the Governor refused to release the list of names of nominees transmitted to him by the Judicial Selection Commission.

The trial court ruled in favor of the newspaper and ordered disclosure, and assessed the Governor attorneys fees and costs. Hawaii law makes an assessment mandatory in open records cases. [Disclosure: we represent the Star-Advertiser in this case.]

Well, last week, the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals, in this Summary Disposition Order, rejected the Governor’s appeal of the assessment. The court found no merit in most of his appeal. Judge Ginoza dissented. We won’t comment since we’re in the case, but here is the report on the decision (“Ruling over legal fees favors newspaper“), as well as the briefs that were filed in the ICA, in case you are interested:

Oahu Publications, Inc. v. Abercrombie, No. CAAP-13-0000127 (Haw. App. Oct. 18, 2013) (unpublished)

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