Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho turned down Friday a request by five marine sports operators to direct the Department of Public Lands and Tasi Tours & Transportation to explain why they should not be held in contempt.
Camacho ruled that the preliminary injunction he issued stops DPL from enforcing improper rule-making but does not stop it from taking steps to promulgate rules in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
“As a result, although a clear and definite order is in place, the [marine sports operators] cannot demonstrate a violation, and therefore have not met their burden entitling them to an [order to show cause],” said the judge in a two-page order.
Camacho disposed of the issue without a hearing.
The judge said the court has inherent power to enforce compliance with its orders through civil contempt.
“The plaintiffs bear the burden of showing by clear and convincing evidence that the defendants violated a specific and definite order of the court,” Camacho said.
If the plaintiffs make this initial showing, the burden then shifts to the defendants to demonstrate why they were unable to comply, Camacho said.
In their motion, the marine sports operators, through counsel Mark A. Scoggins, asked the court to order DPL and Tasi Tours to show cause why they should not be held in contempt for allegedly violating the terms of the court's preliminary injunction.
The alleged violation was a recent DPL filing of proposed regulations to amend its 1993 regulations on the commercial use of Managaha Islands.
DPL acting Secretary Ramon S. Salas filed the proposed regulations due to a pending lawsuit filed by the five marine sports operators against DPL.
The operators are suing DPL to invalidate the department's rule that bars them access to their customers on Managaha Island unless they are Tasi Tours or its subcontractors.
The five marine sports operators are Island Marine Sports Inc., Aquatic Marine Co. Inc., Automarine Inc., Seahorse Inc., and BSEA Inc.