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Amsterdam v. State

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

February 19, 2016

C. KAUI JOCHANAN AMSTERDAM, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF HAWAII, OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR, GOVERNOR DAVID IGE, BOARD CHAIRMAN OF TMT OBSERVATORY CORP., CHAIRMAN HENRY YANG, ASSOCIATED STATE AGENCIES, BOARD OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES, STATE OF HAWAII, DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES, STATE OF HAWAII, SUZANNE, IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES AND DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES, THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT HILO AND MANOA, REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NATIONS OF CHINA, INDIA, JAPAN, CANADA, AND THE UNITED STATES INVOLVED IN THE TMT PROJECT, ALL REPRESENTATIVES AS INDIVIDUALS AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITY, Defendants.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR CONTINUANCE

LESLIE E. KOBAYASHI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Before the Court is pro se Plaintiff C. Kaui Jochanan Amsterdam’s (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Continuance, filed on February 1, 2016 (“2/1/16 Motion”). [Dkt. no. 50.] The Court did not require any further briefing on the 2/1/16 Motion. The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Rule LR7.2(e) 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 2/1/16 Motion, the supporting memorandum, and the relevant legal authority, the 2/1/16 Motion is HEREBY DENIED for the reasons set forth below.

BACKGROUND

The background of this case is well known to the parties, and the Court repeats only the facts relevant to the instant matter. On August 24, 2015, Plaintiff filed his Complaint Regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope Atop the Sacred Volcanic Mountain of Mauna Kea (“Complaint”). [Dkt. no. 1.] Thereafter: on September 9, 2015, Defendant Governor David Ige, in his official capacity (“the Governor”), filed a Motion to Dismiss Complaint Filed August 24, 2015 (“the Governor’s Motion”); [dkt. no. 15;] on September 17, 2015, Defendants University of Hawai'i at Hilo and University of Hawai'i at Manoa (collectively “the University”) filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s “Complaint Regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope Atop the Sacred Volcanic Mountain of Mauna Kea, ” Filed on August 24, 2015 (“the University’s Motion”); [dkt. no. 18;] and on September 25, 2015, Defendant Suzanne Case, in her official capacity as Chair of the Board of Land and Natural Resources (“Chairperson Case”), filed a joinder in the Governor’s Motion (“Joinder”) [dkt. no. 29]. On November 30, 2015, the Court issued its order: (1) Granting Defendant Governor David Ige’s Motion to Dismiss Complaint Filed August 24, 2015; (2) Granting Defendant Suzanne Case in her Official Capacity as Chair of the Board of Land and Natural Resources Joinder in Defendant Governor David Ige’s Motion to Dismiss Complaint Filed August 24, 2015; and (3) Granting Defendants University of Hawaii at Hilo and University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s “Complaint Regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope Atop the Sacred Volcanic Mountain of Mauna Kea, ” Filed on August 24, 2015 (“11/30/15 Order”). [Dkt. no. 39.]

In the 11/30/15 Order, the Court found that Plaintiff lacks standing to bring suit. Additionally, the Court ruled that the following claims were all barred by the Eleventh Amendment: Plaintiff’s claim under article XII, section 7 of the Hawai'i State Constitution; “Plaintiff’s claims against the State of Hawai'i, associated state agencies, the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and the Department of Land and Natural Resources [(“DLNR”)]”; and Plaintiff’s claims against the University. [11/30/15 Order at 15.] The Court dismissed all of those claims with prejudice.

On September 23, 2015, Defendant Henry Yang, in his capacity as Chair of the Board of the Thirty Meter Telescope (“TMT”) Observatory Corp. (“Yang”), filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint Regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope Atop the Sacred Volcanic Mountain of Mauna Kea Filed on August 24, 2015 (“Yang’s Motion to Dismiss”).[1] [Dkt. no. 23.] On December 17, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Reconsideration of Order for November 30, 2015 (“11/30/15 Motion for Reconsideration”). [Dkt. no. 42.]

In an entering order filed on December 8, 2015 (“12/8/15 EO”), [dkt. no. 41, ] the Court directed Plaintiff, Yang, the Governor, and Chairperson Case to file memoranda addressing whether or not the case was moot given the Hawai'i Supreme Court’s decision in Mauna Kea Ainana Hou v. Bd. of Land & Nat. Res., No. SCAP-14-0000873, 2015 WL 7760324 (Hawai'i Dec. 2, 2015). The Governor and Chairperson Case filed their joint memorandum on December 21, 2015 (“Governor’s Memorandum”), Plaintiff filed his memorandum on December 22, 2015 (“Plaintiff’s Memorandum”), and Yang filed his memorandum on December 23, 2015 (“Yang’s Memorandum”). [Dkt. nos. 43, 46, 44.] Finally, on January 13, 2016, the Court issued its Order Dismissing as Moot Plaintiff’s Complaint Regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope Atop the Sacred Volcanic Mountain of Mauna Kea filed on August 24, 2015 (“1/13/16 Order”), [dkt. no. 49, ] wherein the Court found that, in light of Mauna Kea, the Complaint was moot. [1/13/16 Order at 9.] The Court also denied as moot the 11/30/15 Motion for Reconsideration and Yang’s Motion to Dismiss.[2] [Id.]

STANDARD

While on its face the 2/1/16 Motion appears to request a continuance, the Court notes that there is nothing to continue in this case. Further, the 2/1/16 Motion argues, inter alia, that Plaintiff has “new information, ” [2/1/16 Motion at 2, [3] and that the Court overlooked an exception to the mootness doctrine [Mem. in Supp. of 2/1/16 Motion at 3]. Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, and the Court must liberally construe his filings. See, e.g., Pregana v. CitiMortgage, Inc., Civil No. 14-00226 DKW-KSC, 2015 WL 196667, at *2 (D. Hawai'i Apr. 30, 2015) (“The Court liberally construes the [plaintiffs’] filings because they are proceeding pro se.” (citing Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987))). Given the arguments Plaintiff makes in the 2/1/16 Motion and the fact that it was filed on February 1, 2016 - the deadline that the Court gave Plaintiff for filing a motion for reconsideration on the 1/13/16 Order - the Court CONSTRUES the 2/1/16 Motion as a motion for reconsideration.

Motions for reconsideration are governed by Local Rule 60.1, which states, in relevant part:

Motions for reconsideration of interlocutory orders may be brought only upon the following grounds:
(a) Discovery of new material facts not previously available;
(b) Intervening change in law;
(c) Manifest error of law ...

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