Today, October 30, 2014, the HAWSCT issued its decision in a transfer case Friends of Makakilo v. D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes, LLC, et al., SCAP-13-0002408, on the issue of whether the 14-day rule applicable to appeals under the Hawaii Rules of Appellate Procedure also applies to a circuit court appeal from an administrative decision. In a case of first impression, the court held that it does not.
In the underlying case, involves the Hoopili Development in the Ewa District. After the Land Use Commission approved DH Horton’s petition to reclassify the Hoopili lands from agricultural to urban use, certain interveners appealed to the circuit court (not party to this HAWSCT case). The appeal is governed by the Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 91-14. Friends filed a cross-appeal. Although the statute requires appeal from administrative decisions to be filed within 30 days, Friends filed its cross-appeal within 14 days after the 30 days deadline. DH Horton moved to dismiss the cross-appeal, and Friends argued that Hawaii Rules of Appellate Procedure 4.1 applied which allows a cross-appeal to be filed within 14-days after the first notice of appeal is filed.
The HAWSCT affirmed the circuit court’s dismissal of Friends appeal as untimely, holding the HRAP 4.1 only applies in the appellate courts, not in the circuit court – even though the circuit court is acting in an appellate function. According to the court HRS Section 91-14 does not permit the filing of a cross-appeal outside of the initial 30-day deadline. The HAWSCT also relied on out-of-state precedent from Illinois in which the court held that absent an express provision extending the time to file a cross-appeal, such matters must be filed within the general deadline to file an appeal.
The HAWSCT’s full opinion, authored by Justice McKenna, is available here.