Tamashiro v. Department of Human Services

Decision Date27 October 2006
Docket NumberNo. 24552.,24552.
Citation146 P.3d 103
CourtHawaii Supreme Court
PartiesMyles TAMASHIRO, Warren Toyama, Heather Farmer, Filo Tu, Jeanette Tu, Lynn Misaki, Clyde Ota, Miriam Onomura, and Yoshiko Nishimura, Plaintiffs-Appellees/Cross-Appellants, v. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, State Of Hawai`i; Stephen Teeter, in his capacity as Business Manager for Ho`Opono, Joe Cordova, in his capacity as Administrator of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, State of Hawai`i, Department of Human Services; Dave Eveland, in his capacity as Administrator of the Services to the Blind Branch of the State of Hawai`i, Department of Human Services; and Lillian B. Koller, in her capacity as Director of the State of Hawai`i, Department of Human Services,<SMALL><SUP>1</SUP></SMALL> Defendants-Appellants/Cross-Appellees, and City and County of Honolulu, Defendant.

Dorothy Sellers, Deputy Attorney General, on the briefs, for defendants-appellants/cross-appellees.

Evan R. Shirley, Honolulu, Gregory A. Ferren, Stanley E. Levin, Honolulu, and Ann Williams, on the briefs, for plaintiffs-appellees/cross-appellants.

MOON, C.J., NAKAYAMA, J., and Circuit Judge WATANABE, in place of DUFFY, J., recused; Circuit Judge POLLACK, in place of LEVINSON, J., recused, dissenting, with whom ACOBA, J., joins.

Opinion of the Court by MOON, C.J.

This case arises from the alleged failure of defendants-appellants/cross-appellees Department of Human Services (DHS), State of Hawai`i (the State), Lillian B. Koller, Joe Cordova, Dave Eveland, and Stephen Teeter2 [hereinafter, collectively, the State defendants] to enforce Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) §§ 102-14 (Supp.2005) and 347-12.5 (1993), quoted infra, and the implementing regulation, Hawai`i Administrative Rules (HAR) § 17-402-17, quoted infra, [hereinafter, collectively, the Hawai`i Randolph-Sheppard Act (the Hawai`i RSA)] as against defendant City and County of Honolulu (the City). Briefly stated, the Hawai`i RSA is modeled after the federal Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act, discussed infra, which grants priority to blind and visually handicapped individuals who desire to operate vending facilities on federal property. The Hawai`i RSA applies to state and county properties. The City allegedly (1) did not give priority to visually handicapped individuals licensed by DHS to operate vending facilities [hereinafter, the blind vendors] in its public buildings and (2) did not transfer to the State defendants the commissions collected from the City's own vending machine operation, both of which were allegedly in contravention of the Hawai`i RSA.

Plaintiffs-appellees/cross-appellants Myles Tamashiro, Warren Toyama, Heather Farmer, Filo Tu, Jeanette Tu, Lynn Misaki, Clyde Ota, Miriam Onomura, and Yoshiko Nishihara [hereinafter, collectively, the plaintiffs], who are licensed blind vendors, sought declaratory, monetary, and equitable relief (including injunctive relief) against the State defendants and the City3 for their alleged failure to, respectively, enforce and comply with the requirements of the Hawai`i RSA. The plaintiffs maintained that the State defendants were required to ensure that: (1) vending machine income generated from state and county operations be paid into the Randolph-Sheppard Revolving Account [hereinafter, the RSR Account]; and (2) those funds were reserved for the use and benefit of the State's blind vendors.

The State defendants appealed, and the plaintiffs cross appealed, from the August 22, 2001 final judgment of the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, the Honorable Eden E. Hifo presiding, finding in favor of the plaintiffs and against the State defendants. The trial court awarded the plaintiffs, inter alia, money damages in the amount of approximately $3.67 million.

The State defendants, on appeal, and the plaintiffs, on their cross appeal, challenged various pre-trial and post-judgment rulings made by the trial court. However, inasmuch as we hold that subject matter jurisdiction is lacking, we need not address the parties' challenge to these various pretrial and post-judgment rulings. Accordingly, we reverse the circuit court's August 22, 2001 final judgment.

A. Legal Background
1. The Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act

Congress enacted the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act [hereinafter, the federal RSA] in 1936, amending the federal RSA twice, in 1954 and 1974. Pub.L. No. 74-732, §§ 1-7, 49 Stat. 1559, 1559-60 (1936); Pub.L. No. 83-565, § 13, 68 Stat. 652, 663-65 (1954); Pub.L. No. 93-516, §§ 200-11, 88 Stat. 1617, 1622-31 (1974); see also Pub.L. No. 93-651, §§ 200-11, 89 Stat. 2-3, 2-7 to 2-16 (1974) (codified as amended at 20 U.S.C. §§ 107 to 107f (2000)). The federal RSA establishes a cooperative federal-state program [hereinafter, the federal RSA program or the program] that "provid[es] blind persons with remunerative employment, enlarg[es] the economic opportunities of the blind, and stimulat[es] the blind to greater efforts in striving to make themselves self-supporting" by authorizing licensed blind persons "to operate vending facilities on any [f]ederal property" and granting them "priority" in such operation. 20 U.S.C. § 107(a)-(b).

Under the federal RSA, states can gain access to federal properties in their respective states to operate blind vending facilities by having one of its state agencies apply to the United States Department of Education (USDOE) to be designated as a "state licensing agency" (SLA), and, as discussed more fully infra, states must agree to a number of conditions. See New Hampshire v. Ramsey, 366 F.3d 1, 6 (1st Cir.2004) ("States' participation in the program is voluntary."). The SLAs, in turn, license blind persons to operate vending facilities and match them with available contracts on federal property. 20 U.S.C. § 107b.

Examination of the evolution of this unique federal statutory scheme reveals that the original federal RSA was designed to create employment opportunities for the blind on federal property and for further federal rehabilitative efforts on behalf of the blind. H.R.Rep. No. 1094, 74th Cong., 1st Sess. 1, 2 (1936). As originally designed, no priority or preference was given to blind vendors to operate vending facilities on federal property. Id.; see also Pub.L. No. 74-732, §§ 1-7, 49 Stat. at 1559-60. The 1954 amendment, however, strengthened the federal RSA by, inter alia: (1) authorizing a preference, where feasible, to blind vendors to set up vending stands on federal property, Pub.L. No. 83-565, § 4, 68 Stat. at 663; see also 20 U.S.C. § 107a(b) (providing that SLAs "give preference to blind persons who are in need of employment"); and (2) requiring that participating states (i.e., SLAs) agree "to provide any blind licensee dissatisfied with any action arising from the operation or administration of the vending stand program an opportunity for a fair hearing," Pub.L. No. 83-565, § 4, 68 Stat. at 664. The 1954 amendment did not, however, specify the nature of the hearing or the relief which should be afforded as a result of such a hearing.

In 1969, Congress proposed additional amendments

because of the weak showing in the number of blind vendors operating on federal property, the growing trend toward installation of vending machines and the exclusive use of machines in some federal buildings, as well as increasing use of vending machine income by federal employees for recreation and welfare purposes. S. 2461 was designed to protect the blind preference established in the 1954 amendment[ ]. S.Rep. No. 1235, 91st Cong., 2d Sess. 2 (1970).

Texas State Comm'n for the Blind v. United States, 6 Cl.Ct. 730, 732 (1984) (footnote omitted), rev'd on other grounds, 796 F.2d 400 (Fed.Cir.1986) (en banc), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1030, 107 S.Ct. 874, 93 L.Ed.2d 828 (1987). Although hearings on Senate Bill No. 2461 were held in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the 91st Congress adjourned without considering it further. See Delaware Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs. v. United States Dep't of Educ., 772 F.2d 1123, 1127 (3d Cir.1985). In September 1971, a similar bill, Senate Bill No. 2506, was introduced in the 92d Congress. Id. However,

Congress requested the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review vending operations on federally-controlled property and to determine if blind vendors were receiving preference as required by the 1954 amendment[ ]... .

The report concluded that the program was languishing at the federal level while flourishing at the state level and in the private sector. GAO found that not only has little attention been paid to the blind vendor program, but that major abuses had occurred[, e.g., the parent Defense Department association at a major federal space installation demanded blind vendors give a portion of their income to the association; and the Department of Defense regulations, 32 C.F.R. § 260.4(b)(3)(ii) (1966), provided that no permits would be granted to blind vendors for the operation of vending stands if morale and welfare programs would be placed in jeopardy].

Texas State Comm'n for the Blind, 6 Cl.Ct. at 732-33 (footnote omitted). Consequently, another bill, Senate Bill No. 2581, which reflected some of the findings contained in the GAO's report, was introduced. Delaware Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., 772 F.2d at 1127 (citing S. 2581, 93d Cong., 1st Sess. (1973)). Eventually, House Resolution No. 14225, substantially similar to Senate Bill No. 2581, was passed and became law on November 21, 1974. Id. (citing Pub.L. No. 93-651, 89 Stat. 2-3 (1974)4).

The 1974 amendment expanded the statute to increase the fair treatment of blind vendors and to provide oversight of the federal RSA's application in the federal government, among other objectives. S.Rep. No. 937, 93rd Cong., 2d Sess. 9 (1974), reprinted in, 1974 U.S.C.C.A.N. 6417 [hereinafter, S.Rep. No. 93-937]; see also Pub.L. No. 93-651, §§ 200-11, 89 Stat. 2-3, 2-7 to 2-16 (1974). The 1974 amendm...

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