Justia Hawaii Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Antitrust & Trade Regulation
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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirming the district court's order on motion for summary judgment and judgment, holding that the ICA erred when it affirmed the district court regarding Plaintiff-buyers' claims alleging unfair or deceptive acts or practices (UDAP) remaining after summary judgment.Following the execution of two purchase agreements, Buyers took possession of the vehicle in dispute in this case, which, unbeknownst to Buyers at the time, had a defective clutch assembly. Seller refused to repair the vehicle at no cost to Buyers or to return Buyers' deposit. Buyers brought this action alleging that Seller had engaged in UDAP. The district court granted summary judgment for Seller and then entered judgment against Buyers on all remaining claims. The ICA affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the lower courts' judgments in part, holding that the district court erred in interpreting Haw. Rev. Stat. 481J-2 to conclude that the warranty for used motor vehicles does not cover a clutch assembly. View "Leong v. Honolulu Ford, Inc. " on Justia Law

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In this certiorari proceeding arising out of a lawsuit brought by condominium owners whose unit was nonjudicially foreclosed by their association of apartment owners the Supreme Court held that the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) erred in affirming the circuit court's dismissal of the unfair or deceptive acts of practices (UDAP) claim, holding that the Plaintiffs' UDAP claim should not have been dismissed.Plaintiffs filed a complaint against their association (Association), by and through its board of directors (Board), asserting wrongful foreclosure and UDAP claims based on the Board's nonjudicial foreclosure and public sale of their condominium apartment due to unpaid assessment fees. The circuit court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. The ICA held that the circuit court (1) erred in dismissing Plaintiffs' wrongful foreclosure claim, and (2) correctly dismissed the UDAP claim as time-barred. The Supreme Court reversed as to the UDAP claim and otherwise affirmed, holding (1) the ICA correctly reinstated the wrongful foreclosure claim because the Board lacked a power of sale; and (2) based on the applicable notice pleading standard, viewing the complaint in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs, it cannot be said that Plaintiffs can prove no set of facts in support of their claim that would entitle them to relief. View "Malabe v. Ass'n of Apartment Owners of Executive Centre" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirming the circuit court’s order and granting summary judgment for Defendant in this case arising out of the uncompleted sale of one business to another, holding that the plaintiff raised genuine issues of material fact as to its unfair method of competition (UMOC) claim.Specifically, the Court held (1) to raise an issue of material fact as to the nature of the competition requirement of a UMOC claim following the close of discovery, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s alleged anticompetitive conduct could negatively affect competition, but the plaintiff need not prove that the defendant in fact harmed competition; (2) to survive summary judgment, a plaintiff may generally describe the relevant market without resort to expert testimony and need not be a competitor of or in competition with the defendant; and (3) the plaintiff in this case raised genuine issues of material fact as to the first and second elements of a UMOC claim, and the circuit court erred erred in holding that the plaintiff was estopped from asserting the UMOC claim based on waiver, judicial estoppel and collateral estoppel. View "Field v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n" on Justia Law

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Gene Wong was employed by Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. (HAL) as a pilot until he retired. Upon retiring, Wong became eligible to receive medical insurance paid for by HAL. Wong claimed that, as a result of misinformation he received from the employee benefits director, he did not complete the necessary forms to enroll in Medicare Part B coverage for almost a decade. Wong filed suit against HAL, alleging negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair or deceptive practice (UDAP). The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of HAL, concluding that (1) Wong’s negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims were preempted by the Railroad Labor Act (RLA) because any duty HAL owed would be derived from HAL’s obligations to retired pilots under a collective bargaining agreement between HAL and the Airline Pilots Association, and (2) the UDAP claim failed because the deceptive act did not occur in the conduct of any trade or commerce. The Intermediate Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) the record in this case did not support federal preemption of Wong’s negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims because these claims were not dependent on the Pilots Agreement; and (2) summary judgment was correctly granted on Wong’s UDAP claim. View "Wong v. Hawaiian Airlines, Inc." on Justia Law

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Gene Wong was employed by Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. (HAL) as a pilot until he retired. Upon retiring, Wong became eligible to receive medical insurance paid for by HAL. Wong claimed that, as a result of misinformation he received from the employee benefits director, he did not complete the necessary forms to enroll in Medicare Part B coverage for almost a decade. Wong filed suit against HAL, alleging negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair or deceptive practice (UDAP). The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of HAL, concluding that (1) Wong’s negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims were preempted by the Railroad Labor Act (RLA) because any duty HAL owed would be derived from HAL’s obligations to retired pilots under a collective bargaining agreement between HAL and the Airline Pilots Association, and (2) the UDAP claim failed because the deceptive act did not occur in the conduct of any trade or commerce. The Intermediate Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) the record in this case did not support federal preemption of Wong’s negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims because these claims were not dependent on the Pilots Agreement; and (2) summary judgment was correctly granted on Wong’s UDAP claim. View "Wong v. Hawaiian Airlines, Inc." on Justia Law

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Raymond Gurrobat, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons, filed an action against HTH Corporation and Pacific Beach Corporation (collectively, Defendants), asserting claims of unlawful withholding of wages and unfair methods of competition (UMOC) for Defendants’ alleged failure to distribute the entirety of the service charges they received from customers to service employees and for failing to disclose to customers their practice of retaining a portion of those charges. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Gurrabat on the unlawful withholding of wages claim but in favor of Defendants on the UMOC claim. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the circuit court’s order granting Gurrobat’s motion for class certification; (2) affirmed in large part the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment on Gurrobat’s claims for unpaid wages but vacated the portion of the order granting Gurrobat’s motion for summary judgment as to damages that imposed joint and several liability on Defendants; and (3) vacated the circuit court’s order granting Defendants’ motion for summary judgment on Gurrobat’s UMOC claim, as Gurrobat alleged sufficient facts to survive summary judgment on this claim. Remanded. View "Gurrobat v. HTH Corp." on Justia Law