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Judge dismisses lawsuit over quarantines

A lawsuit by a Waikoloa couple alleging Gov. David Ige and Mayor Harry Kim overstepped and overextended their emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic has been dismissed.

Acting Kona Circuit Judge Wendy DeWeese on Sept. 1 granted a motion by Ige to dismiss the civil suit by Richard Partal II; his wife, Kristine Marie Partal; and his mother, Ellen Partal. The dismissal is with prejudice, meaning the Partals are not free to refile the complaint.

Richard Partal and his mother were issued citations by police in July for allegedly violating the emergency quarantine when they visited the pool in their condominium complex with Richard Partal’s toddler son after they recently arrived from Oregon.

Richard Partal claimed an exemption from the quarantine as a critical infrastructure employee, but he allegedly was notified by Hawaii County Civil Defense that his exemption was revoked because the Partals were reported being in the condo complex’s common area.

He was instructed to quarantine with his wife, son and mother and was allegedly told they had to social distance within the condo. The lawsuit claimed he also was told he wasn’t permitted to share a bed with his wife during the quarantine period.

The lawsuit alleged the citations violated the Partals’ civil rights. It further posited the law allows the governor and county mayors authority to declare an emergency for 59 days only, and that any emergency period beyond that must be approved by the Legislature, not the chief executives.

DeWeese ruled state law “confers upon the governor emergency powers necessary to prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters.” The judge further found “that established practice demonstrates that the use of supplementary proclamations is lawful under the statutes.”

Krishna Jayaram, a special assistant to Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors, said the state is “gratified that Judge DeWeese ruled in our favor and that these important measures to protect the health of our state’s population are still in place.”

Richard and Ellen Partal were scheduled for arraignment and plea Tuesday morning on the criminal charges, a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine, in South Kohala District Court. Details about that proceeding were not available late Tuesday.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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