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.

Keliihuluhulu v. Keanaaina

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

September 17, 2019

KELIIHULUHULU: ALFRED SPINNEY KANAKA-MAOLI HAWAIIAN; Plaintiff,
v.
NORMAN A. KEANAAINA, TUPOU VI, SEMISI FONUA, ROBERT D. TRIANTOS, RICHARD RAMIREZ, MICHELLE C. DICKINSON, JEAN KEKA, FINE TEUTAU, PATRICK KAWAI, TYLER MENO, ASA TEUTAU, SIONE FILIKITONGA, MASTER FALAU, SAMUELA TATOFI, HARRY KIM, RENEE SONOBE HONG, DOE DEFENDANTS 1-10000, MAASI TEUTAU, LEROY COLOMBE, MAAKI TEATAU, DEANNA S. SAKO, PAUL FERRIERA, SALESI HE-I-LIKU TONGA, Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S PENDING MOTION AND APPLICATIONS

          Leslie E. Kobayashi United States District Judge.

         On August 5, 2019, pro se Plaintiff Alfred Spinney Keliihuluhulu (“Plaintiff”) filed his “First Amended Complaint and Emergency Ex-Parte Request for Injunction Enjoining Defendants Wrongdoers from Entering upon the Easement of Royal Patent Grant 990 to Kapaiki.” [Dkt. no. 5.] This document is construed as both Plaintiff's operative pleading (“Amended Complaint”) and a motion for a temporary restraining order (“TRO Motion”). Also before the Court are: Felise Auaea's Application to Intervene, filed on August 2, 2019; Leitu Ramirez's Application to Intervene, filed on August 2, 2019; Lorna Pikake Spinney's Application to Intervene, filed on September 3, 2019; Tina Wilson's Application to Intervene, filed on September 13, 2019; Cynthia Kamanawa-Cisneros's Application to Intervene, filed on September 13, 2019; and Julia Kamanawa-Kala's Application to Intervene, filed on September 13, 2019 (collectively “Applications”). [Dkt. nos. 2, 3, 25, 30, 31, 32.[1] The Court finds the TRO Motion and the Applications suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Rule LR7.1(c) of the Local Rules of Practice for the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (“Local Rules”).

         On August 6, 2019, an entering order was issued informing the parties of the Court's rulings on the TRO Motion and the Applications pending at that time. [Dkt. no. 8.] The instant Order supersedes that entering order. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint is dismissed without prejudice, Plaintiff's TRO Motion is denied without prejudice, and the Applications are denied without prejudice. In other words, Plaintiff is allowed to file a second amended complaint to cure the defects identified by this Court, and the TRO Motion and the Applications can be refiled after Plaintiff files his second amended complaint.

         BACKGROUND

         According to the Amended Complaint, Kapaiki received a land grant from the Hawaiian Government (“Kapaiki Grant”) on December 31, 1852. [Amended Complaint at 9, ¶ II.2.1; id., Exh. A (Kapaiki Grant).] On June 7, 1870, Kaonohimaka recorded a claim to use the property conveyed in the Kapaiki Grant (“Property” and “Kaonohimaka Claim”). [Amended Complaint at 9, ¶ II.2.2; id., Exh. B.] On June 13, 1889, the Kaonohimaka Claim was conveyed to the Board of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association (“HEA Board”), and the conveyance (“HEA Deed”) contained the reservation: “‘To have this piece of land with all its benefits and easements to the Board of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association, its successors and assigns for the good and benefit of the Protestant Church of Kekaha, North Kona, Hawaii, forever.” [Amended Complaint at 9-10, ¶ II.2.3 (quoting Amended Complaint, Exh. C (HEA Deed, recorded in State of Hawai'i Bureau of Conveyances (“BOC”))).] Plaintiff refers to this provision of the HEA Deed as the “‘our good and benefit' easement” (“Beneficial Easement”). [Id. at 9, ¶ II.1.]

         Plaintiff and others, who are apparently part of Ka Ekalesia Ho'ole Pope o Kekaha (“Ka Ekalesia”), assert they own the Beneficial Easement. [Id. at 10-11, ¶¶ II.2.7 & II.2.10.] Plaintiff asserts Ka Ekalesia's ownership of the Beneficial Easement has been “undisputed for at least the past 130 years.” [Id. at 10, ¶ II.2.7.] The Property allegedly subject to the Beneficial Easement currently holds: Ka Ekalesia's three “185 year old church buildings”; [id. at 11, ¶ II.2.11.a;] gardens; animals; schools; church services; Plaintiff's homes; and the homes of others, [id., ¶¶ II.2.11.b-f].

         A Tax Deed in which Deanna S. Sako, Director of Finance for the County of Hawai'i (“the County”), as grantor, conveyed the Property to the Free Church of Tonga-Kona (“FCTK”), as grantee, was recorded in the BOC on June 2, 2016. [Amended Complaint, Exh. D.] Plaintiff contends the Tax Deed conveyed the Property, but not the Beneficial Easement. [Amended Complaint at 10, ¶ II.2.8.] Plaintiff and Ka Ekalesia do not assert ownership of the Property, but Plaintiff argues the defendants in the instant case have never proven that the Tax Deed extinguishes the Beneficial Easement.[2] [Id. at 11, ¶¶ II.2.12-13.]

         Plaintiff argues he never received any notice that: the Beneficial Easement was subject to taxation by the County; or the County's tax sale of the Property extinguished the easement. [Id., ¶¶ II.2.14-15.] He further contends no law required the payment of taxes to the County for the Beneficial Easement. However, Plaintiff and Ka Ekalesia did not have the right to redeem the ownership of the Property when it was sold by the County at a tax sale after the owner of the Property defaulted on taxes owed to the County. [Id. at 12, ¶¶ II.2.16-17.]

         Plaintiff alleges one or more Defendants are trespassing on the Beneficial Easement, and have been constantly doing so since at least 2016. [Id., ¶¶ II.2.18-19.] Those defendants have locked Plaintiff and others out of Ka Ekalesia's church building since April 7, 2018. Those defendants have also: destroyed gardens; threatened to force Plaintiff's neighbors out of their homes; stolen, destroyed, or damaged the personal property and possessions of the Ka Ekalesia members; dumped rubbish on the Property; removed minerals from the Property; threatened Plaintiff; and terrorized Plaintiff's family and his neighbors' families. [Id., ¶ II.2.19.] Plaintiff apparently alleges Defendants Fine Teutau, Richard Ramirez, and Jean Keka are the primary wrongdoers, and Defendants Patrick Kawai, Tyler Meno, and other unidentified persons are protecting them. However, Plaintiff asserts all Defendants are responsible for the trespass and the theft and/or damage to the personal property and possessions of the Ka Ekalesia members. [Id.]

         According to Plaintiff, Defendants Richard Ramirez, Patrick Kawai, Fine Teutau, Asa Teutau, and other unidentified persons threatened and forcibly removed Plaintiff's neighbors Leitu Ramirez and Kahu (Reverend) Felise Auaea and their families from the Property. [Id. at 13, ¶ II.2.19.] Plaintiff states Defendants threatened to remove him and his family within a week and, based on what Defendants have done in the past, he believes they will carry out these threats. [Id.]

         The Amended Complaint seeks an order ruling that: 1) the Tax Deed is subject to the Beneficial Easement in the HEA Deed; and 2) Defendants do not own the Beneficial Easement. [Id. at 13-14, ¶ III.] Plaintiff also seeks an injunction preventing Defendants and other wrongdoers from entering on to the Property that is subject to the Beneficial Easement. Finally, Plaintiff asks this Court to investigate the fact alleged in the Amended Complaint, hold a hearing on damages, and to order any appropriate relief. [Id. at 14-15, ¶ III.]

         DISCUSSION

         The Court understands that the TRO Motion goes to the heart of where Plaintiff, his family, and his community will live. However, before this Court can consider whether Plaintiff is entitled to a TRO, this Court must determine whether there is a legal basis for this Court to assert jurisdiction over the claims in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint.

         I. Jurisdiction Asserted in the Amended Complaint

         A. Arguments Based on Plaintiff's Status as Chief

         Plaintiff asserts he is a “chief” of the Hawaiian Islands, i.e. the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands. [Id. at 1-2.] Based on his status as a chief, he asserts there is federal jurisdiction over the instant case based on 28 U.S.C. ยง 1350, and based on diversity ...


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.