Cases

Cases Description and Files

Honolulu Civil Beat v. Department of Public Safety

Online publication Civil Beat challenged the Department of Public Safety’s refusal to identify and provide autopsy reports for individuals who died while in the Department’s custody. The Department has asserted that the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prohibits disclosure. HIPAA has exceptions that apply to Civil Beat’s request.  As the U.S. Department of […]

Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest v. Chang

The Law Center requested public access to a “confidential” civil case. The Judiciary’s confidential flag seals the entire case from public view, including the names of the parties, the docket, and the identities of counsel. In response to the Law Center’s motion to unseal, the circuit court denied the motion and entered a gag order […]

In re Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest

The Law Center moved to unseal the plea agreement in United States v. Akau, 19-CR-99 DKW-KJM.  Contrary to local rule, the Defendant did not file a motion to seal and proffered no justification for sealing the plea agreement. The case is assigned to Judge Derrick K. Watson.  The Law Center’s motion was filed under 21-MC-298. […]

State Dep’t of Human Services v. Papalii (Confidential Flag)

In 2018, the Law Center learned more about the State Judiciary’s use of a confidential flag for normal civil court cases.  The confidential flag seals the entire case from public view, including the names of the parties, the docket, and the identities of counsel.  Subsequent motions to unseal in specific cases raised questions about whether […]

Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest v. Department of the Prosecuting Attorney

On April 5, 2021, after pursuing a stolen vehicle, police officers with the Honolulu Police Department fired multiple shots into the stopped vehicle, killing the driver Iremamber Sykap.  The Department of the Prosecuting Attorney refused to provide the public with timely access to body-worn camera footage of the incident.  At a press conference, the Prosecutor […]

Myeni v. City & County of Honolulu

On April 14, 2021, police officers with the Honolulu Police Department fatally shot Lindani Myeni.  After his widow filed a civil lawsuit against the City & County of Honolulu, the City moved for an expansive protective order that would permit the City to withhold any records related to Mr. Myeni’s death pending the completion of […]

State ex rel. Mah v. Affordable Casket Outlet, LLC (Confidential Flag)

In 2018, the Law Center learned more about the State Judiciary’s use of a confidential flag for normal civil court cases.  The confidential flag seals the entire case from public view, including the names of the parties, the docket, and the identities of counsel.  Subsequent motions to unseal in specific cases raised questions about whether […]

Honolulu Civil Beat v. Department of Health

Online publication Civil Beat challenged the Department of Health’s refusal to identify employees and contract hires with responsibility for contact tracing. Despite initially providing the names of contact tracers, DOH later claimed that the information was confidential. To the contrary, the identities and responsibilities of government employees and contractors is information that the Legislature expressly stated […]

In re Arbitration Between UPW and State Dep’t of Transportation

In a proceeding to confirm an arbitration award involving United Public Workers and the State of Hawai`i Department of Transportation, the Intermediate Court of Appeals held that the State could not recover attorney’s fees for the work of the Department of the Attorney General because the Department of Transportation had no legal obligation to pay […]

Honolulu Civil Beat v. City & County of Honolulu

Online publication Civil Beat, based on 30-year precedent from the Office of Information Practices, challenged the Honolulu Police Department’s refusal to provide information regarding overtime hours incurred by police officers over several years.  The case was before Judge Bert I. Ayabe.  After Civil Beat filed a motion for summary judgment, the department produced the responsive records. […]