Ex-Beatle Harrison, Maui neighbors settle access lawsuit
By Timothy Hurley
Advertiser Maui Bureau
WAILUKU, Maui Attorneys on both sides of a decade-long conflict between former Beatle George Harrison and the neighbors who sought to use a path across his East Maui estate said yesterday their clients are satisfied litigation has come to an end.
"No one has any rights to go across Mr. Harrison's property, and he's happy with that,'' said Paul Alston, Harrison's attorney
All parties agreed to keep details of a settlement reached June 7 confidential, according to the attorneys, and Maui Circuit Court Judge Joseph Cardoza sealed the document from public eyes.
"It was settled to the satisfaction of all the parties,'' said attorney Max W.J. Graham Jr., who represented neighbors Donna Ann Barrett, Beverly H. Waite and Ralph H. Waite, who played the part of Pa Walton on the TV series "The Waltons.''
Also involved in the litigation were Scott H. Whitney, Steven Gold and Snapper Cay Acquisitions Inc.
The dispute erupted in 1990 after Harrison objected to his neighbors' using a path on his Nahiku estate to get to a rocky shoreline. The neighbors filed suit in 1991, claiming they had a right to use it.
The original landowner had subdivided several hundred acres to create five lots, including the 63-acre lot that Harrison bought in 1981. The Harrison lot included a trail to Kapukaulua Point, a rocky bluff overlooking the ocean, and continuing to the shoreline.
The original owner included an easement to Kapukaulua Point in deeds to subsequent buyers. But the deed to Harrison failed to specify that the easement for other landowners existed.
Although Harrison allowed residents around the area to use the trail, he blocked access to some landowners after they allowed nonresidents to use the trail to see Harrison's home.
Harrison demanded that the other landowners seek permission before using the trail. Five landowners sued, claiming a right to use the easement.
In 1993, former Maui Circuit Judge E. John McConnell found that an easement existed, and he ordered that a trail be created on an alignment running about 100 feet from Harrison's home.
Harrison appealed, however, saying his privacy was being compromised.
On Dec. 23, 1999, a 27-year-old woman was arrested after she entered Harrison's Nahiku home, cooked a frozen pizza, did her laundry and phoned her mother in New Jersey.
Seven days later, an attacker with a knife wounded Harrison in his West London mansion.
Last year, the Hawai'i Supreme Court reversed McConnell's decision and ordered a new trial.
Alston, Harrison's attorney in Honolulu, declined to discuss any plans for the Maui estate by the former Beatle or provide any personal information.
An attorney who was formerly involved in the legal dispute said yesterday he wasn't surprised the case was settled, considering the former Beatle's health problems.
Wailuku attorney Kyle Coffman, whose client withdrew from the litigation five months ago, said attorneys involved in the case were fully prepared to go to trial this month.
"But given recent events George Harrison's medical condition it's not surprising he pulled out at the last minute,'' Coffman said.
Representatives for the 58-year-old Harrison announced last month that he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous growth from one of his lungs, the second time he had been treated for cancer in four years. Harrison was reportedly recovering in Italy after undergoing surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.