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Hawaii Forest Products: Permitting and Litigation

We represented a client who had provided a $30 million loan to finance the permitting, planning, and operation of a sustainable Koa harvesting operation on the Big Island in Hawaii. After the borrower failed in its first attempt to obtain environmental permits, the project was placed in jeopardy and, without the permits to allow harvesting, default on the loans was likely. We provided environmental permitting advice for the project, worked with forestry consultants who assisted in project management, and worked with state and local officials on permitting issues.

Despite that assistance, the borrower eventually defaulted on the loan. We then prosecuted actions in both state and federal court in Hawaii to protect our client’s loan and eventually foreclosed on the collateral which backed the project.

This litigation involved three different state court and one federal court proceedings, with both discovery and extensive motion practice conducted in both state and federal court in Honolulu. While we engaged local counsel in Hawaii, we acted as lead counsel on all discovery, including depositions, all briefing, and all arguments before both state and federal judges. Following extensive discovery and motion practice, the case eventually settled following a federal court mediation.