Peaman Race Lawsuit Against State of Hawaii Dismissed

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that state circuit court Judge Melvin H. Fujino on August 15, 2017, granted the State of Hawaii’s motion to dismiss in Pagett v. DLNR.

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Hawaii County resident Sean W. Pagett operates a series of races called the “Peaman Races” – events involving both running and swimming – in Kona. Pagett did not get a marine/ocean event permit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), which is legally required for certain swimming events. Pagett sued the State, seeking a declaratory judgment that DOBOR’s application of an administrative rule, HAR 13-244-19, to cover swimming events was invalid because DLNR was not authorized to promulgate rules governing swimming events. Judge Fujino dismissed the case because plaintiffs cannot file suit directly in the circuit court challenging the application of a rule. Instead, the plaintiffs can only challenge the underlying validity of a rule, which the court held Pagett failed to do.

The State of Hawaii was represented internally by Deputy Attorney General David Day. Pagett was represented by attorney Jason Braswell.

A copy of the court’s order and judgment is attached.

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