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Loa v. Lynch

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

December 22, 2016

MAUI LOA, individually and in his capacity as Chief of the Hou 1778 Hawaiians, a native Hawaiian tribal Indian band, Plaintiff,
v.
LORETTA LYNCH, in her official capacity as ATTORNEY GENERAL of the United States of America; SALLY JEWELL, in her official capacity as the Secretary of the Department of the Interior of the United States of America, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL RECONSIDERATION, ECF NO. 28

          J. MICHAEL SEABRIGHT CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Defendants Loretta Lynch and Sally Jewell in their official capacities as Attorney General of the United States and Secretary of the Department of the Interior of the United States, respectively, move for reconsideration in part of this court's December 7, 2016 Order which granted Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 28. In granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, the December 7 Order discussed certain aspects of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (“HHCA”), 42 Stat. 108 (1921). Loa v. Lynch, 2016 WL 7155733, at *4 (D. Haw. Dec. 7, 2016). Defendants do not seek to alter the ultimate holding of the December 7 Order but do request that the court change some of the language in the discussion of the HHCA. Based on the following, the court DENIES the Motion for Reconsideration.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         “Reconsideration is appropriate if the district court (1) is presented with newly discovered evidence, (2) committed clear error or the initial decision was manifestly unjust, or (3) if there is an intervening change in controlling law. There may also be other, highly unusual, circumstances warranting reconsideration.” Sch. Dist. No. 1J, Multnomah Cty., Or. v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993) (citation omitted); see also Local Rule 60.1. “Clear error exists when . . . [a] court is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made.” In re Adamson Apparel, Inc., 785 F.3d 1285, 1291 (9th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Reconsideration is “an extraordinary remedy, to be used sparingly in the interests of finality and conservation of judicial resources.” Kona Enters., Inc. v. Estate of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         A motion for reconsideration must accomplish two goals. “First, a motion for reconsideration must demonstrate reasons why the court should reconsider its prior decision. Second, a motion for reconsideration must set forth facts or law of a strongly convincing nature to induce the court to reverse its prior decision.” Donaldson v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 947 F.Supp. 429, 430 (D. Haw. 1996). Mere disagreement with a previous order is an insufficient basis for reconsideration, and reconsideration may not be based on evidence and legal arguments that could have been presented at the time of the challenged decision. See Haw. Stevedores, Inc. v. HT & T Co., 363 F.Supp.2d 1253, 1269 (D. Haw. 2005). “Whether or not to grant reconsideration is committed to the sound discretion of the court.” White v. Sabatino, 424 F.Supp.2d 1271, 1274 (D. Haw. 2006) (quoting Navajo Nation v. Confederated Tribes & Bands of the Yakima Indian Nation, 331 F.3d 1041, 1046 (9th Cir. 2003)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Defendants' Proposed Changes

         The court's December 7 Order dismissed Plaintiff's claims against Defendants for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Defendants request the court to reconsider two parts of the December 7 Order.

         To begin, Defendants request the court to delete the following paragraph in the December 7 Order:

Second, the court does not have federal subject matter jurisdiction over the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (“HHCA”), 42 Stat. 108 (1921), claim because it does not “arise under” the laws of the United States. Keaukaha- Panaewa Cmty. Ass'n v. Hawaiian Homes Comm'n, 588 F.2d 1216, 1227 (9th Cir. 1978) (“We therefore conclude that the Commission Act claims do not arise under federal law.”). Although the HHCA began as federal law, it became state law when the Hawaii Admission Act (“Admission Act”), Pub. L. No. 86-3, 73 Stat. 5 (1959), adopted it into the Hawaii state constitution and Congress subsequently deleted it from the United States Code. Id. § 4; see also Han v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 45 F.3d 333, 339 (9th Cir. 1995); Keaukaha-Panaewa Cmty. Ass'n, 588 F.2d at 1219, 1226-27. Because claims under the HHCA arise solely under state law, this claim doesn't “arise under” federal law.

Loa, 2016 WL 7155733, at *4; Defs.' Mot at 3. In its place, Defendants seek the following language:

Second, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (“HHCA”), 42 Stat. 108 (1921), provides no waiver of the United States' sovereign immunity. See Moke v. United States, Civ. No. 04-00680 ACK-LEK, 2006 ...

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