Judge tosses local Seibu lawsuit
A Hawaii Circuit Court judge has dismissed a suit filed by four heirs of a deceased Japanese business tycoon who had asked the court to recognize them as owners of several large resorts and hotels in the islands, including the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and Maui Prince Hotel.
The heirs of the Seibu Railway Co. empire had asked the Hawaii court to declare them owners of the properties, which were owned by Seibu subsidiaries. Seibu management has been restructuring the Japanese conglomerate's assets, and the heirs had filed suit in Japanese court to assert their rights as alleged controlling shareholders and prevent the restructuring.
While the suit in Japan was pending, the heirs had asked the Hawaii court to declare them owners of Seibu's Hawaii hotel and resort subsidiaries. The heirs claimed they needed the court to declare them the rightful owners so they could prevent Seibu management from selling the properties.
Earlier this week, Judge Victoria Marks sided with lawyers for the Seibu subsidiaries and refused to declare the heirs the owners of the properties.
In dismissing the heirs' claims with prejudice, the judge said that it was premature to ask for the declaratory judgment because the matter had not been resolved in Japanese court, said Bernard Bays, an attorney for the Seibu subsidiaries. Bays' team also had argued that, contrary to the heirs' allegations, there was no evidence of a business plan to sell the Hawaii resorts.
Attorneys for the heirs could not be reached for comment late yesterday.