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C. Kaui Jochanan Amsterdam, Individually v. Haunani Apoliona

February 27, 2012

C. KAUI JOCHANAN AMSTERDAM, INDIVIDUALLY AND [AS] PRIME MINISTER OF THE INTERIM GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF HAWAII, BENEFICIARY OF THE PUBLIC TRUST FOR NATIVE HAWAIIANS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HAUNANI APOLIONA, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN OFFICIAL CAPACITY OF CHAIRPERSON AND TRUSTEE AND ALL TRUSTEES IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS OFFICERS AND TRUSTEES OF THE OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS, THE OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David Alan Ezra United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE

PLEADINGS On February 27, 2012, the Court heard Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. C. Kaui Jochanan Amsterdam, proceeding pro se, appeared at the hearing on behalf of himself; Robert G. Klein, Esq., appeared at the hearing on behalf of Defendants. After reviewing the motion and the supporting and opposing memoranda, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. (Doc. # 38.)

BACKGROUND

Hawaii became a state via the Admission Act of 1959, Pub. L. 86-3, 73 Stat. 4. Under the Admission Act, the United States granted the State of Hawaii "title to all the public lands and other public property within the boundaries of the State of Hawaii[.]" Id. § 5(b)--(e), 73 Stat. at 5--6. Section 5(f) of the Admission Act provides that these lands would be held by the State of Hawaii "as a public trust" to be "managed and disposed of for one or more of" the following five purposes: (1) for the support of public schools and other public educational institutions; (2) for the betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians; (3) for the development of farm and home ownership; (4) for the making of public improvements; and (5) for the provision of lands for public use. Id. § 5(f), 73 Stat. at 6. "[U]se for any other object shall constitute a breach of trust for which suit may be brought by the United States."*fn1 Id. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs ("OHA") is a Hawaii state agency that administers a portion of the § 5(f) trust's proceeds, as well as other funds.*fn2 See generally, Haw. Rev. Stat. ch. 10; Day v. Apoliona, 616 F.3d 918, 921 (9th Cir. 2010).

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On September 13, 2010, Plaintiff C. Kaui Jochanan Amsterdam, proceeding pro se, filed a Complaint (Doc. # 1) and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (Doc. # 2) against the Office of Hawaiian Affairs ("OHA") and OHA Chairperson Haunani Apoliona ("Apoliona").*fn3 Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc. # 5.) On September 17, 2010, the Court denied Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order. (Doc. # 6.) The same day, United States Magistrate Judge Barry M. Kurren granted Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc. # 7.) On October 25, 2010, Defendants filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings ("Mot.," Doc. # 11.) On March 3, 2011, the Court issued an Order dismissing the complaint without prejudice for failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 and denying without prejudice Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. (Doc. # 20.) On the same day, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. ("FAC," Doc. # 23.) On April 5, 2011, Defendants filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. (Doc. # 25.) On August 15, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. # 31.) On August 16, 2011, the Court issued an order (1) dismissing Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint without prejudice-again for failing to comply with Rule 8, (2) denying without prejudice Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, and (3) striking Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. # 32.)

On September 14, 2011, Plaintiff filed the present Third Amended Complaint ("TAC") against Defendants Apoliona, "Individually and in Official Capacity of Chairperson and Trustee," all OHA Trustees "in their Individual and Official Capacity as Officers and Trustees," and OHA (collectively, "Defendants"). ("TAC," Doc. # 34.) On December 1, 2011, Defendants filed the instant Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. ("Mot.," Doc. # 38.) On February 13, 2012, Defendants filed a Reply. (Doc. # 41.) On February 14, 2012, Plaintiff untimely filed a Response to Defendants' Motion. (Doc. # 42.)

According to the TAC, Plaintiff is native Hawaiian and as such is a beneficiary of the 5(f) trust. (TAC ¶ 5.) Plaintiff serves as the Prime Minister of the Interim Government of The Kingdom of Hawaii, which has the goal of working "toward the advancement of Native Hawaiian self-determination and development, the restoration and advancement of The Kingdom of Hawaii and Monarchial features in honor of Queen Liliuokalani and perpetuation of Hawaiian culture, tradition, identity, and self-esteen, [sic] which is necessary in light of the disadvantage status of many Native Hawaiians, all of which are to achieve a main purpose of the 'betterment and actualization of the condition of Native Hawaiians." (Id. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff alleges that "[s]uch a purpose is consistent with those stated purposes for which the Ceded Land Funds are to be utilized" as stated in the Admission Act. (Id.)

In 2005, Plaintiff submitted a letter to OHA "requesting funds for organizing and holding Election of Officers from amongst our Hawaiian Community to restore and advance The Kingdom of Hawaii wherewithall to advance education and self-determination." (TAC ¶ 9.) On February 14, 2011, Plaintiff submitted a letter to OHA seeking funds to travel to Washington, D.C. "to secure assistance of US Congressional Representatives for self-determination of the Hawaiian People through restoration and advancement of The Kingdom of Hawaii." (Id. ¶ 11.) OHA did not respond to Plaintiff. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 12.)

Plaintiff alleges in the TAC that OHA's refusal to provide § 5(f) trust funds to Plaintiff "has weakened and damaged the organizational structure and function of . . . The Interim Government of the Kingdom of Hawaii and thereby has left the Plaintiff and associate Officers unable to effectively advance and fulfill its worthwhile and important aims[.]" (Id. ¶ 13.) Plaintiff alleges that without 5(f) trust funds, he "has been unable to seriously effectively advance self-determination of the Native Hawaiian People, restore and advance The Kingdom of Hawaii, and fulfill such associated purposes which conform to those presented in the Hawaii Admission Act of 1959. (Id.)

The TAC alleges that OHA's refusal to provide Plaintiff with funds violates his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and is a "Breach of Trust." (Id. ¶¶ 14--15.) Plaintiff asks that the Court order Defendants to provide him with "a fair and reasonable amount of funds to advance Election of Officers for the restored Kingdom of Hawaii, to advance self-determination of Native Hawaiians through the restoration and advancement of The Kingdom of Hawaii with the assistance of The Interim Government of The Kingdom of Hawaii, and to travel to Washington D.C. to freely meet and speak with US Congressional Representatives in order to obtain their support, resources, and opportunities and thereby equal protection." (Id. ¶ 17.)

STANDARD OF REVIEW

I. Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings Rule 12(c) states, "[a]fter the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). Judgment on the pleadings is properly granted when the court, accepting all the allegations in the pleadings as true and construing them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, concludes that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fleming v. Pickard, 581 F.3d 922, 925 (9th Cir. 2009). No issue of material fact may be in dispute. Id.

When Rule 12(c) is used to raise the defense of failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the standard governing the Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings is the same as that governing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. See McGlinchy v. Shell Chemical Co., 845 F.2d 802, 810 (9th Cir. 1988); Luzon v. Atlas Ins. Agency, Inc., 284 F. Supp. 2d 1261, 1262 (D. Haw. 2003). As a result, a motion for judgment on the pleadings for failure to state a claim may be granted "'only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proven consistent with the allegations.'" McGlinchy, 845 F.2d at 810 (quoting Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)); see also Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989) ("The principal difference between motions ...


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