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Hou 1778 Hawaiians v. United States Department of Justice

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

January 27, 2016

HOU 1778 HAWAIIANS; CHIEF MAUI LOA, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

SUSAN OKI MOLLWAY, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION.

Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires complaints to contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." The Amended Complaint, filed on October 19, 2015, is neither short nor plain. The court has attempted to discern what claim is being asserted. The Amended Complaint says that it is asserting a single claim for a negligent breach of trust duties under the Federal Indian Trust. It alleges that Defendant the United States Department of Justice breached those trust duties by allowing benefits under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 to lapse. The Department of Justice moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint, challenging this court's subject matter jurisdiction and also arguing that the Amended Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The court grants the motion based on lack of jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court denies as moot Plaintiffs' Motion Asking Court to Order Specific Unconstitutional Language in Hawaii Admission Act be Severed. The court decides the motions without a hearing pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(d).

II. BACKGROUND.

The Hou 1778 Hawaiians are a group of native Hawaiians who claim 50% or more native Hawaiian ancestry. See Hou Hawaiians v. Cayetano, 996 F.Supp. 989, 992 (D. Haw. 1998). Chief Maui Loa, also known as Dr. Nui Loa Price, claims to be the "hereditary, traditional government-style chief" of the Hou 1778 Hawaiians. ECF No. 34, PageID # 176. As chief, Maui Loa claims title to all of the property that was allegedly taken from the Hou 1778 Hawaiians by the United States. See id.

The Amended Complaint alleges a solitary negligent breach of trust claim. The Amended Complaint states,

With respect to specific Indian land use of the Hou and/or its Chief, the action alleges negligence of specific responsibilities and duties of defendant, U.S. DoJ, as settlor of the Federal Indian Trust ("the trust"), for all Indians who are beneficiaries of the trust, through being born as Indians in the states of the United States. Including states not in "the lower forty eight" and not "continental" states, meaning the 49th and 50th states, Alaska and Hawaii, where Indians are born.

See ECF No. 27, PageID # 106.

The Amended Complaint alleges that "[t]here are many streams of the trust, " noting that this "action is not intended to involve itself with any other stream of the trust." Id., PageID # 107. According to the Amended Complaint, the "stream" at issue here "originates in the Indian Self Determination Act and flows directly to the Hou." Id., PageID # 108. The Amended Complaint alleges:

The trust was directed... to flow directly to the Hou using the Indian Self Determination Act ("Indian 638 grants"). The Hou used the trust funds according to the statute. The DoJ did not protect this use against being used as an excuse for takings.

Id.

Plaintiffs have previously instituted numerous actions in federal court, all unsuccessful. See, e.g., Hou Hawaiians v. Cayetano, 183 F.3d 945 (9th Cir. 1999); Price v. Akaka, 3 F.3d 1220 (9th Cir. 1993); Price v. State of Hawaii, 939 F.2d 702 (9th Cir. 1991); Price v. State of Hawaii, 921 F.2d 950 (9th Cir. 1990); and Price v. State of Hawaii, 764 F.2d 623 (9thCir. 1985).

III. STANDARD.

A. Rule 12(b)(1).

Under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint may be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. An attack on subject matter jurisdiction "may be facial or factual." Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). A facial attack asserts that "the allegations contained in a complaint are insufficient on their face to invoke federal jurisdiction." Id . A factual attack, on the other ...


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