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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

OHA files for dismissal of lawsuit

By Yasmin Anwar
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs filed a motion in federal court yesterday asking for dismissal of Patrick Barrett's case challenging government-financed programs for Hawaiians.

OHA based its motion on the argument that Barrett has no legal standing.

Sherry Broder, OHA's attorney, contends that Barrett does not meet the test of legal standing because he has failed to demonstrate injury. While Barrett applied for a loan from the Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan fund, Broder said, he did not complete the application process.

Barrett's law-yer, John Goemans, disputes that. Even if Broder's contention were true, he said, all Barrett needs to show to have legal standing is that "he cannot participate in a government-financed program because of his race."

U.S. District Judge David Ezra must now rule on the OHA motion.

Jack Schweigert, a Honolulu lawyer and constitutional law expert, said if, indeed, Barrett's applications for a loan and homestead lease were not denied, then he has no injury and therefore no legal standing, and that could lead to a dismissal of his case.

Barrett, 53, of Mo'ili'ili, sued the state in October, saying that Article 12 of the state constitution discriminates on the basis of race, and therefore violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Established in 1978, Article 12 created OHA, adopted the federal Hawaiian Home Lands program and provided the foundation for native gathering rights on private property.

A hearing on Barrett's request for a preliminary injunction to halt operations at OHA and the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is scheduled for May 2.