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Jury awards Ewa Beach homeowners $27M in marina dispute

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A state jury awarded Ewa Beach homeowners about $27 million on Tuesday in a lawsuit against a Japanese developer trying to develop a recreational lagoon instead of a marina. 

The jury ruled developer Haseko must pay the plaintiffs special damages of $1,300 for each homeowner in the class-action lawsuit and $20 million in punitive damages. 

The special damages will be tripled (increasing the payment to nearly $4,000 for each homeowner) under state law for the roughly 1,800 homeowners in Ocean Pointe, totaling about $7 million, attorneys said. 

Attorney Michael Green, who is representing the plaintiffs, including state Rep. Matt LoPresti, said the local jury made an important statement that a developer cannot come to Hawaii and rip off homeowners. 

Steven Chung, who represents Haseko, said the settlement is contrary to state law, which does not allow punitive damages to be awarded in cases of unfair and deceptive practices. He said he will file a motion to set aside the decision. 

In November 2011, Haseko said it would develop a recreational lagoon instead of a marina at its Ewa Beach site. Plans for the marina were scrapped for plans to build a lagoon because of environmental lawsuits and issues raised by the U.S. Environmental Protect

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