Cases Description and Files

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. […]

In re Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest

The Law Center moved to unseal an addendum to the plea agreement in United States v. Davis, 20-CR-68 LEK.  Contrary to local rule, the Government did not file a motion to seal and proffered only vague concerns about investigatory interests when initially questioned during the plea hearing. The case was assigned to Judge Leslie E. […]

Doe v. Ibana (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 […]

SHOPO v. City & County of Honolulu

In November 2020, in every circuit court, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) filed complaints alleging that Act 47 (2020)–a law requiring expanded disclosure of police misconduct–was unconstitutional.  Nos. 1CCV-20-1512, 2CCV-20-329, 3CCV-20-432, and 5CCV-20-120.  The lawsuits challenged two distinct provisions of Act 47.  The first challenge concerned the disclosure of police disciplinary […]

In re Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest

The Law Center objected to a global toy company’s effort to proceed anonymously in a trademark infringement action without publicly explaining its need for anonymity in Doe Corp. v. Individuals, 20-CV-395 JMS-KJM.  Ninth Circuit precedent establishes a constitutional right of access to civil complaints and motions to seal.  The global toy company, however, concealed the […]

State v. Abion

The Law Center moved to unseal records in a case pending before the Hawai`i Supreme Court, State v. Abion, No. SCWC-18-600, that raises questions regarding who is entitled to rely on a mental competency defense in criminal cases.  The circuit court sealed the underlying forensic competency evaluations in their entirety and the Intermediate Court of Appeals […]

In re Motion to Unseal Court Records

The Law Center moved to unseal documents filed under seal without public explanation in In re Search of Boston Whaler 370 Outrage “Painkiller”, 18-CV-80 and 17-MC-288.  The case concerns the Government’s 2017 search and seizure of a boat owned by Hawaii Partners–part of the alleged Miske Enterprise in United States v. Miske, 19-CR-99.  The case […]

In re Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest

The Law Center objected to the Government’s effort to authorize sealing of court records as part of a proposed protective order for discovery purposes in United States v. Miske, 19-CR-99 DKW.  In accordance with long-standing U.S. Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit precedent, the Law Center requested that the Court require a proper motion to seal […]