Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Robert Ito Farm, Inc. v. County of Maui

United States District Court, District of Hawaii

December 15, 2014

ROBERT ITO FARM, INC., ET AL. Plaintiffs,
v.
COUNTY OF MAUI, Defendant.

ORDER (1) GRANTING ALIKA ATAY, LORRIN PANG, MARK SHEEHAN, BONNIE MARSH, LEI`OHU RYDER, AND SHAKA MOVEMENT’S MOTION TO INTERVENE AND (2) DENYING MOMS ON A MISSION HUI, MOLOKA`I MAHI`AI, GERRY ROSS, AND CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY’S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO INTERVENE

Barry M. Kurren, United States Magistrate Judge.

Before the Court are two Motions to Intervene: (1) Alika Atay, Lorrin Pang, Mark Sheehan, Bonnie Marsh, Lei`ohu Ryder, and Shaka Movement’s (collectively, “Shaka”) Motion to Intervene (Doc. 37) and (2) Moms on a Mission (MOM) Hui, Moloka`i Mahi`ai, Gerry Ross, and Center for Food Safety’s (collectively, “CFS”) Motion for Leave to Intervene (Doc. 40).[1] The Proposed Intervenors seek intervention as of right under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) Rule 24(a)(2), or alternatively, permissive intervention under FRCP Rule 24(b)(2). The Court heard these Motions on December 12, 2014. After careful consideration of the Motions, the supporting and opposing memoranda, and the arguments of counsel, the Court GRANTS Shaka’s Motion to Intervene (Doc. 37) and DENIES CFS’s Motion for Leave to Intervene (Doc. 40).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs[2] bring this action to enjoin and invalidate a County of Maui Ordinance regarding genetically engineered crops. The Ordinance was approved by ballot initiative on November 4, 2014.

Under Article 11 of the Charter of Maui, voters have “initiative power, ” which is the power to propose ordinances to the County Council. Maui County Charter (“MCC”) § 11-1(1). Any five qualified voters may commence initiative proceedings by filing an affidavit with the County clerk, and those five voters constitute the “petitioners’ committee.” MCC § 11-2(1). The committee is issued petition blanks, which “must be signed by not less than twenty percent (20%) of the total number of voters who cast ballots in the last mayoral general election.” MCC § 11-3(2).

All papers forming the initiative petition must be filed with the County clerk within 180 days after the committee files their affidavit. MCC § 11-4(1). Upon a determination by the County clerk that the petition is “sufficient, ” the County Council “shall promptly consider the proposed ordinance.” MCC §§ 11-4(1), 11-6(1). If the Council fails to enact a proposed ordinance within sixty days after the petition was determined to be sufficient, the proposed ordinance shall be submitted “to the voters of the county at the next general election.” MCC § 11-6(1). If a majority of the voters vote in its favor, the ordinance “shall be considered enacted upon certification of the election results.” MCC § 11-7.

With respect to the Ordinance in this case, Movants Alika Atay, Lorrin Pang, Mark Sheehan, Bonnie Marsh, and Lei`ohu Ryder formed the petitioners’ committee. (Savitt Decl’n ¶ 5.) On April 7, 2014, the committee submitted the proposed Ordinance, entitled “A Bill Placing a Moratorium on the Cultivation of Genetically Engineered Organisms, ” to the County clerk. (Id. ¶¶ 2, 6.) On June 6, the County clerk determined that the proposed Ordinance was sufficient. (Id. ¶ 8.) After hearing public testimony on the Ordinance, the County Council’s Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee determined it would take no action on the Ordinance. (Id. ¶¶ 9, 12.) The County clerk then submitted the Ordinance to the voters at the general election held on November 4, 2014, where the majority of voters voted in favor of the Ordinance. (Id. ¶ 12; Shaka Motion at 7.)

On November 12, 2014, the five individuals comprising the petitioners’ committee, along with Shaka Movement, filed a Complaint against the County, Monsanto Company, and Dow Agrosciences LLC in state court. (Shaka Motion Ex. C.) They sought declaratory relief that the “County is obligated to proceed forward to properly and timely implement the GMO Bill” and that “Plaintiffs shall be permitted to assist and participate in the County’s implementation of the GMO bill, and the County shall consult the Plaintiffs with respect to the GMO Bill’s implementation.” (Shaka Motion Ex. C at 10.)

The next day, on November 13, 2014, Plaintiffs filed the Complaint in this case against the County of Maui. (Complaint.) Plaintiffs assert that the Ordinance “violates federal, state and local law” and pray for a declaration that the Ordinance is invalid and an injunction enjoining the County from enforcing the Ordinance. (Complaint ¶ 3 & Prayer for Relief.)

On November 17, 2014, Plaintiffs and the County stipulated that the County be “enjoined from publishing or certifying the Ordinance, enacting, effecting, implementing, executing, applying, enforcing, or otherwise acting upon the Ordinance, and the Ordinance shall not be published, certified as an Ordinance, enacted, effected, implemented, executed, applied, enforced, or otherwise acted upon until March 31, 2015.” (Doc. 26 at 4.)

On November 21, 2014, the present Motions to Intervene were filed. (Docs. 37 at 40.) The Shaka Intervenors consist of Shaka Movement and the five individuals who constituted the petitioners’ committee and actively pursued their initiative power under Article 11 of the Maui County Charter. The five individuals reside and work where genetically modified organism (“GMO”) operations and practices take place. (Savitt Decl’n ¶ 5.) They, along with Shaka Movement’s board of directors, maintained a strong presence during public hearings on the Ordinance. (Id. ¶ 10.) They also reached out to the community through events featuring various speakers, two marches, door-to-door campaigning, radio and television advertising, educational mailings, the use of social media networks, and volunteers who raised awareness and support for the Ordinance. (Id. ¶ 14.)

The CFS Intervenors include Gerry Ross, an organic farmer who faces the risk of pesticide damage and transgenic contamination of his organic crops. (Doc. 40 at 11; Ross Decl’n ¶¶ 5-6.) Moloka`i Mahi`ai is a group of Moloka`i farmers and food producers whose property interests and livelihoods are affected by Plaintiffs’ GMO crop operations. (Doc. 40 at 11; Buchanan Decl’n ¶¶ 3-19.) The MOM Hui consists of a group of Moloka`i mothers “who advocate for protecting the health, safety, and well-being of all children.” (Doc. 11-12; Ritte Decl’n ¶¶ 5-6.) The Center for Food Safety is a public interest group dedicated to addressing the impacts of industrial agriculture and assists state and local governments in addressing the impacts of GMO crops. (Doc. 40 at 12-13; Lukens Decl’n ¶¶ 4-12.) The Center for Food Safety also provided assistance to the voter initiative, convened a coalition of farmers, residents, and small businesses, and launched a website to educate voters about the Ordinance. (Doc. 40 at 14-15; Lukens Decl’n ¶¶ 19-22.)

DISCUSSION

I. INTERVENTION AS OF RIGHT

FRCP Rule 24(a)(2) provides in ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.