Justia Hawaii Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Business Law
Calipjo v. Purdy
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) finding that no evidence was introduced at trial to support the jury's findings that Regal Capital Corporation (Regal Corp.) violated the terms of agreements of sale it entered into with Elesther Calipjo for two parcels of land, Regal Capital Co., LLC (Regal LLC) engaged in unfair and deceptive acts or practices, and Jack Purdy was the alter ego of Regal Corp. and Regal LLC, holding that the ICA's holding was error.Based on the alter ego finding, the jury determined that Purdy, too violated the agreements for the two properties and committed unfair and deceptive acts or practices. The Supreme Court held (1) there was evidence to support the jury's verdict that Regal Corp. violated the terms of the agreements, Regal LLC engaged in unfair and deceptive acts or practices, and Purdy was the alter ego of Regal Corp. and Regal LLC; and (2) the ICA erred when it reversed the circuit court's final judgment against Purdy on the breach of contract and unfair and deceptive acts or practices claims. View "Calipjo v. Purdy" on Justia Law
Goran Pleho, LLC v. Lacy
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) partially vacating the circuit court's judgment entering judgment against Plaintiffs in this action alleging that Defendants intentionally misrepresented the value of a limousine service, holding that some of the rulings of the trial court in this complex commercial dispute involving the sale of the business were in error.The Lacy Parties represented Goran and Ana Maria Pleho in purchasing the business. The transaction was completed in the name of Goran PLeho LLC (GPLLC). After the purchase, the Plehos and GPLLC (collectively, Pleho Parties) sued, alleging that Lacy Parties intentionally misrepresented the value of the business. The Supreme Court (1) vacated the circuit court's dismissal of Pleho Parties' intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims and the court's grant of judgment as a matter of law in favor of Lacy Parties on GPLLC's fraud and punitive damages claims; (2) vacated the ICA's judgment to the extent that it vacated the circuit court's order denying Lacy Parties' motion in limine; and (3) vacated the ICA's judgment to the extent that it affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Lacy Parties on the Pleho's unfair and deceptive trade practices claim. View "Goran Pleho, LLC v. Lacy" on Justia Law
Field v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n
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
In re Marn Family Litigation
This appeal was the most recent development in litigation concerning the ownership and control of the Marn family business. Alexander Marn sought a declaratory judgment and specific performance regarding his rights to the business. Despite a jury demand, the circuit court held a bench trial. Thereafter, the circuit court entered partial final judgment against Alexander. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) affirmed, concluding that the circuit court did not err in conducting a bench trial instead of a jury trial. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment on appeal, holding that the ICA gravely erred in affirming the circuit court’s decision to conduct a bench trial, as Alexander was entitled to a jury trial on his declaratory judgment action, and a jury trial was properly demanded and preserved. Remanded. View "In re Marn Family Litigation" on Justia Law
Ito v. Investors Equity Life Holding Co.
In 1994, Investors Equity Life Insurance Company of Hawaii, Ltd. (IEL) was liquidated. The State Insurance Commission was appointed as IEL’s liquidator (Liquidator). In 1996, Investors Equity Life Holding Company (IELHC), the former parent company and sole shareholder of IEL, surrendered all of its shares in IEL to the Commissioner as part of a settlement agreement to resolve claims relating to IEL’s insolvency. The Liquidator proceeded to administer IEL’s estate. In 2008, IELHC wrote to the Liquidator claiming that it held legal or equitable title to all of IEL’s stock and demanding that the Liquidator turn over to IELHC all shares and assets remaining in IEL’s estate. The Liquidator denied the claim. The circuit court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in concluding that IELHC asserted a claim against IEL’s estate and that the claim was time barred; (2) the circuit court had subject matter jurisdiction over IELHC’s claim and personal jurisdiction over IELHC; (3) there were no grounds for abating the adjudication of IELHC’s claim; and (4) the circuit court’s procedures met due process requirements. View "Ito v. Investors Equity Life Holding Co." on Justia Law
Ass’n of Apartment Owners of Discovery Bay v. Mitchell
Ralph Mitchell, a condominium owner in the Association of Apartment Owners of Discovery Bay (“AOAO”), submitted a petition to the AOAO to conduct a special meeting of the AOAO to remove one or more of the AOAO Board members. The AOAO filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that the petition did not contain at least twenty-five percent of the owners’ signatures, and therefore, there was no basis for conducting a special meeting. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the AOAO. The AOAO subsequently sought fees and costs under Haw. Rev. Stat. 514B-157(a) and (b). The circuit court granted the motion. Mitchell appealed, arguing that the AOAO’s refusal to mediate the dispute precluded it from an entitlement of any fees and costs under Haw. Rev. Stat. 514B-161(a). The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment and remanded for a determination of whether section 514B-161(a) applies in this case and, if so, directed the circuit court to take into consideration such refusal in determining whether to award attorneys’ fees and costs. View "Ass’n of Apartment Owners of Discovery Bay v. Mitchell" on Justia Law
In re Marn Family Litig.
This case concerned the Marn Family Litigation, which had been ongoing for nearly fifteen years and concerned the ownership and control of the Marn family business. Petitioner Alexander Marn filed the instant appeal before the Supreme Court pro se before the intermediate court of appeals (ICA). The ICA dismissed Alexander’s appeal for failure to comply with the Hawaii Rules of Appellate Procedure in his opening brief. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment, holding that the ICA’s dismissal of Alexander’s appeal without notice or a meaningful opportunity to respond was a violation of Haw. R. App. P. 30. Remanded. View "In re Marn Family Litig." on Justia Law
Posted in: Business Law