The opinion of the court was delivered by: Leslie E. Kobayashi United States District Judge
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
On January 31, 2012, this Court issued its Order Denying Plaintiff's
Motion for Preliminary Injunction ("1/31/12 Order").*fn1
Before the Court is Plaintiff Kaanapali Tours, LLC's
("Plaintiff") Motion for Reconsideration, filed on February 14, 2012.
Defendants the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural
Resources ("DLNR"), the Board of Land and Natural Resources ("the
Board"), William J. Aila, Jr., in his official capacity as Chairman of
the Board, Edward R. Underwood, in his individual and official
capacity, and Nicholas Giaconi, in his individual and official
capacity (all collectively "Defendants") filed their memorandum in
opposition on March 2, 2012, and Plaintiff filed its reply on March
19, 2012. The Court finds
this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to
Rule LR7.2(d) of the Local Rules of Practice of the United States
District Court for the District of Hawai`i ("Local Rules"). After
careful consideration of the Motion for Reconsideration, supporting
and opposing memoranda, and the relevant legal authority, Plaintiff's
Motion for Reconsideration is HEREBY GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN
PART for the reasons set forth below.
The parties and the Court are familiar with the factual and procedural background of this case. The Court will therefore only discuss the events that are relevant to the Motion for Reconsideration.
In the 1/31/12 Order, this Court denied Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction ("Injunction Motion"), filed September 30, 2011. This Court found that Plaintiff had not established a likelihood of success on the merits of its due process claim or any of its state law claims. 2012 WL 300544, at *8-9. This Court also found that Plaintiff had not established that it was likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction because it only established financial losses, and monetary harm does not constitute irreparable harm for preliminary injunction purposes. Id. at *9-10. The Court found that the balance of the equities was, at best, a neutral factor, and that Plaintiff had not established that the issuance of a preliminary injunction would be in the public interest. Id. at *10-12.
I. Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration
Plaintiff argues that the Court must reconsider the 1/31/12 Order because it contains manifest errors of law and fact and because reconsideration is necessary to prevent injustice. Plaintiff argues that it will prevail on its due process claim because it has a legitimate claim of entitlement to substitute vessels on its Commercial Use Permit No. M-05 ("the Permit"). Plaintiff also points to a number of factual errors in the 1/31/12 Order's analysis of the due process claim.
As to the state law claims, Plaintiff argues that the Court erred in analyzing Plaintiff's equitable estoppel claim as a promissory estoppel claim and that Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of the equitable estoppel claim. Plaintiff argues that its current owners were not involved in the alleged irregularities in the Permit's history and it was Defendants' negligence that led to any problems with the Permit. Plaintiff reasonably relied on Defendants' actions as to the status of the Permit, and thus Defendants' negligence caused Plaintiff's damages. Plaintiff also argues that the Court committed manifest error in finding that Plaintiff was not likely to succeed on the interference with prospective business advantage claim because the Court dismissed as irrelevant Plaintiff's evidence that it negotiated with another permit holder to handle its business while the other vessel was in drydock. Plaintiff also describes other advantages that it will have if it is allowed to operate the Queen's Treasure.
Plaintiff next argues that the Court committed manifest error in finding that Plaintiff was not likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction. Plaintiff reiterates that, because it is likely to succeed on its civil rights claim, this Court must presume irreparable harm. Further, Plaintiff argues that its goodwill, which it built with other businesses that it established contacts and tentative agreements with while Plaintiff was preparing to operate the Queen's Treasure, is intangible and the loss of that goodwill constitutes irreparable harm. Plaintiff also argues that it cannot operate the Queen's Treasure elsewhere in Hawai`i because all of the other permits are taken. Plaintiff could not purchase another permit-holding corporation without incurring substantial costs.
Plaintiff argues that the Court committed manifest error because the Court failed to find that the balance of the equities weighed in favor of a preliminary injunction. Plaintiff notes that there are only nine catamarans operating at Kaanapali because of the sinking of the KIELE V in 2009. Plaintiff argues that the permit associated with that vessel should have been issued to Plaintiff. Plaintiff argues that the catamaran waiting list that Defendants submitted with their memorandum in opposition to the Injunction Motion was erroneous. Plaintiff also argues that the Court cannot consider the complaints of other applicants waiting for a catamaran permit because Plaintiff is the only applicant that has complied with all of the applicable regulations.
Finally, Plaintiff argues that the Court committed manifest error in failing to find that the public interest weighed in favor of a preliminary injunction. Plaintiff argues that the Court failed to consider the economic impact on Plaintiff's employees and everyone that Plaintiff does business with. Plaintiff also argues that the fact that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its due process claim proves that Defendants' actions harm the public interest.
II. Defendants' Memorandum in Opposition
Defendants argue that Plaintiff has not identified any intervening change in the law or any newly discovered evidence which would require reconsideration. The evidence that Plaintiff relies upon to support the Motion for Reconsideration was available at the time the parties litigated the Injunction Motion, and therefore the evidence cannot support reconsideration. Even if the Court considers Plaintiff's evidence, it would not alter the analysis in the 1/31/12 Order. Defendants also argue that the Motion for Reconsideration merely reargues issues that the parties litigated in the Injunction Motion.
As to Plaintiff's argument that the 1/31/12 Order mischaracterized Plaintiff's equitable estoppel claim, Defendants argue that equitable estoppel, like promissory estoppel, also requires a promise or assurance that the plaintiff relies upon. Defendants contend there was no clear error in the Court's finding that Plaintiff could not reasonably rely on the circumstances of the Permit to believe that Plaintiff had the authority to freely substitute vessels.
Finally, Defendants argue that there are no manifest errors of law or fact in the Court's findings that Plaintiff failed to establish irreparable harm and that the balance of equities was, at best, neutral. Defendants contend that the Court need not consider either Plaintiff's argument that Plaintiff is the only applicant on the catamaran waitlist that has an entitlement to a permit because it is the only one that has pre-registered its catamaran or Plaintiff's argument that the catamaran waitlist Defendants submitted in connection with the Injunction Motion is not the correct list. Neither of these arguments is a valid basis for ...