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 these cases generally deserved this extreme level of secrecy. One case was an employment dispute involving GEICO Insurance Company (No. 1CC131002053), and another case concerned disputes over the union nonprofit Unity House (No. 1CC000056396). At the request of the Law Center, the State Judiciary provided the case numbers for all regular civil cases filed in circuit court with a confidential flag since 2005.
On May 3, 2021, the Law Center moved to unseal files in another case. The court subsequently removed the confidential flag from the case, captioned State of Hawai`i, Department of Human Services v. Talaia Papalii aka Talaia Papalii Michael. No. 1CC161000239.
Selected Unsealed Files