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.

Spirit of Aloha Temple v. County of Maui

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

May 8, 2017

SPIRIT OF ALOHA TEMPLE, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
v.
COUNTY OF MAUI, Defendant.

          ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANT COUNTY OF MAUI'S SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL FOR REVIEW AND MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF PRIVILEGE PURSUANT TO FED. R. CIV. P. RULE 26(B)(5)(B)

          RICHARD L. PUGLISI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant County of Maui's Submission of Documents Under Seal for Review and Motion for Determination of Privilege Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 26(b)(5)(B), filed April 7, 2017 (“Motion”). ECF No. 121. Plaintiffs filed their Opposition to the Motion on April 21, 2017. ECF No. 123. Defendant County of Maui filed its Reply on May 5, 2017. ECF No. 124. Pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(d), the Court found this Motion suitable for disposition without a hearing. ECF No. 122. After carefully reviewing the parties' submissions and the relevant legal authority, the Court ORDERS as follows.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs Spirit of Aloha Temple and Fredrick R. Honig applied for a State Land Use Commission Special Permit to build a church and hold religious events on a parcel of land located in the County of Maui. After the application was denied, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint in this court asserting claims for violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Hawaii constitution against both the Maui Planning Commission and the County of Maui. See ECF No. 1.

         Fredrick R. Honig is a licensed minister and teacher of “Integral Yoga.” Id. ¶ 21. Spirit of Aloha Temple is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that was incorporated as a church in 2007 to promote Integral Yoga, and leases an eleven-acre parcel located in Haiku, Maui, which is zoned “Agriculture” and is in a Special Management Area. Id. ¶¶ 26, 36-40, 43-44. The property is being used for limited “secular” purposes, including a botanical garden, bird sanctuary, and staff housing. Id. ¶ 45.

         Plaintiffs first applied for a special use permit to use the property as a church, which was denied in 2010 by the Maui Planning Commission on various grounds. Id. ¶ 52. In 2012, Plaintiffs filed another application for a special permit to use the property for the same religious purposes, including educational programs and wedding ceremonies. Id. ¶ 85. The Maui Planning Department issued a report and recommendation that the permit be issued. Id. ¶ 94. However, after a public hearing in which several residents in the surrounding area expressed concern about road safety given increased traffic to and from the property, various zoning violations by Plaintiffs, and the impact of increased numbers of visitors on community resources, the Maui Planning Commission voted to deny the application. Id. ¶ 132. The Maui Planning Commission set forth its findings and conclusions in its Decision and Order of October 30, 2014 (“October 2014 Decision”). Id.

         On January 27, 2016, the district court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over one of Plaintiff's state law claims, dismissed all other claims against the Maui Planning Commission, and stayed all other claims against Defendant County of Maui pending the resolution of Plaintiff's administrative appeal of the October 2014 Decision. See ECF No. 109. On February 13, 2017, the stay was lifted. ECF No. 114. The present Motion followed.

         In the present Motion, Defendant asks the Court to determine whether certain documents produced by Plaintiffs' expert are protected by the work product doctrine as asserted by Plaintiffs. See ECF No. 121.

         DISCUSSION

         The work product doctrine is set forth in Rule 26(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which protects from discovery documents that are prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial by or for another party or its representative. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(3); United States v. Richey, 632 F.3d 559, 567 (9th Cir. 2011).

         Here, the materials at issue are email communications produced to Defendant by Plaintiffs' retained expert, Alan Bradbury. Rule 26(b)(4)(C) specifically addresses expert material and states that “regardless of the form, ” communications between a party's attorney and any retained expert are protected from disclosure in discovery, subject to certain exceptions. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(4)(C).

         First, the following communications between Plaintiffs' counsel and Mr. Bradbury or his assistant are protected from discovery by the work product doctrine set forth in Rule 26(b)(4)(C):

(1) email dated 1/8/2016 from Summer Bradbury to Roman Storzer forwarding an email from Maui Nui Botanical ...

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.