Federal judge says 16 suing OHA lack standing
Sixteen taxpayers who challenged the constitutionality of state funding of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs had no standing to bring their claims, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Susan Mollway's order Monday in the long-running Arakaki v. Lingle case brings to an end the lawsuit that initially began in March 2002 as Arakaki v. Cayetano, said Sherry Broder, one of three attorneys representing the state.
The plaintiffs disagree and intend to file an amended complaint by April 30, said plaintiff attorney H. William Burgess. "It ain't over yet," he said.
Before the court dismisses a case for lack of standing or lack of a party, the filing of an amended complaint is allowed, Burgess said, adding, "It's not unusual."
The 5-year-old case has gone through the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, which essentially ended the case last year after it issued a decision in Daimler Chrysler Corp. v. Cuno, ruling that there was no taxpayer standing in cases of this sort, Broder said.
The U.S. Supreme Court sent it back to the 9th Circuit, which issued a new opinion and sent it back to Mollway to issue a final judgment.
The appellate courts essentially found that the plaintiffs had suffered no individualized injury as taxpayers. To challenge governmental programs, the taxpayer must demonstrate that they have suffered "a particularized concrete injury that is redressable by the court's judgment," said Broder, quoting the 9th Circuit.
After asking the parties to submit briefings on any remaining issues and following discussions with the parties, "this court determines that there are no such issues, as no plaintiff has standing to challenge OHA funding," Mollway wrote in her order.
While she indicated that a motion to add parties to the complaint would be denied, Mollway gave the plaintiffs until April 30 to file an amended complaint to preserve the record.