Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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Lanric Hyland appealed from a county clerk decision to the local board of registration for the County of Hawaii. The local board determined that Hyland mailed his appeal within ten days of service of the county clerk’s decision based in part on its determination that October 13 was a holiday, thus tolling his appeal deadline for that day. Nevertheless, the board ruled that his appeal was untimely because the board did not receive his appeal until after the deadline, and therefore, it was without jurisdiction to review the appeal. The intermediate court of appeals affirmed, but also determined that Hyland did not mail his letter within the ten-day filing period because the second Monday in October - recognized by the federal government as Columbus Day - is not a Hawaii state holiday. The Supreme Court vacated the decisions below, holding (1) the board had jurisdiction to consider the merits of Hyland’s appeal because the appeal letter was mailed within ten days of service of the county clerk decision; and (2) the second Monday in October is a holiday for purposes of the computation of time as to when an act is to be done under Haw. Rev. Stat. 1-29. Remanded. View "Hyland v. Gonzales" on Justia Law

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The State filed an application for judicial determination of probable cause for the warrantless arrest and extended restraint of Ethan Ferguson (the Ferguson Probable Cause Application, or FPCA). The FPCA, a publicly accessible document, contained personal information in contravention of Rule 9 of the Hawaii Court Records Rules. The State subsequently requested that the court seal the FPCA to protect the wrongly included personal information. Judge Takase granted the motion. One week later, the State filed a redacted version of the FPCA, which omitted the personal information at issue. Oahu Publications Inc. subsequently filed a petition seeking a writ of prohibition prohibiting Judge Takase from enforcing her order sealing the FPCA and a writ of mandamus ordering the judge to make public the sealed FPCA. This case required the Supreme Court to consider the procedures that courts should follow when a personal information has been included in a publicly accessible document that was filed in violation of Rule 9. The Supreme Court held (1) the “capable of repetition, yet evading review” exception to the mootness doctrine applied in this case; and (2) because the relief Oahu Publications requested had either already been provided or was unnecessary, the requested relief was not warranted. View "Oahu Publications, Inc. v. Takase" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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This case arose out of dispute between the Association of Apartment Owners of Royal Aloha, its former property managers, and its former commercial tenants. The AOAO installed an electricity submetering system and submitted readings of each unit’s electricity submeter to the managing agent, who would bill each owner for electricity. For certain years, some commercial tenants were never billed for electricity, and some were erroneously billed for a portion of those electricity costs. The AOAO sued its former property managers for, inter alia, breach of contract for the billing errors. The AOAO also sued the commercial tenants to recover the unbilled or erroneously billed electricity costs. The circuit court granted summary judgment for all defendants, concluding that all claims were barred under the doctrine of laches. The Intermediate Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that the defense of laches applies only to equitable claims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that laches is a defense to legal and equitable claims alike. View "Association of Apartment Owners of Royal Aloha v. Certified Management, Inc." on Justia Law

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Hawaii News Now (HNN) submitted an application for extended coverage for the criminal case, State v. Nilsawit, which involved the controversy regarding the Honolulu Police Department’s then-practice of allowing undercover police officers to engage in sexual conduct with people selling sexual services during sting operations. The district court prohibited HNN from televising or publishing the faces or likenesses of three officers involved in the case. HNN filed a motion for leave to appeal. The district court denied HNN’s motion, concluding that HNN exceeded the five-day period within within which a motion for review of an order regarding coverage must be filed under the Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii (RSCH) Rule 5.1(f)(8). HNN appealed. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) dismissed HNN’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) where the request for extended coverage originates from a member of the media, review of a district court’s decision regarding that request is limited to the procedure set forth in RSCH Rule 5.1(f)(8); and (2) further, there is no independent statutory authority that would allow the ICA to review the district court’s decision. View "State v. Nilsawit" on Justia Law

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Defendant was charged with murder and assault. Defendant was found unfit to proceed due to mental disease or disorder, and the proceedings against him were suspended until further court order. Defendant was committed to the custody of the Director of Health. The Director then moved for a transfer of Defendant’s custody from the Hospital to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). The circuit court denied the motion, concluding that pending a ruling that he had regained fitness, as an unfit person, Defendant could not be transferred to the DPS. The day after the Director’s appeal, the circuit court found Defendant fit to proceed and committed him to the custody of the DPS. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) dismissed the Director’s appeal as moot, ruling that it lacked appellate jurisdiction to hear the appeal because custody of Defendant had already been transferred from the Director to the DPS and no exception to the mootness doctrine applied. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s order, holding that the ICA erred in not considering the “capable of repetition, yet evading review” exception to the mootness doctrine. Remanded. View "State v. Tui" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a complaint and an amended complaint against the University of Hawaii at Manoa that was dismissed without prejudice. Thereafter, Plaintiff moved for leave to file a second amended complaint against the University of Hawaii (UH). The circuit court denied the motion. The circuit court then granted UH’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, concluding that the allegations pleaded in the first amended complaint were barred as a matter of law. After entry of a post-judgment order relating to attorneys’ fees and costs, the circuit court entered a final amended judgment (Final Amended Judgment). Plaintiff appealed. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) dismissed the appeal as untimely, determining that the Original Judgment was the operative judgment for purposes of the appeal. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the filing of the Final Amended Judgment triggered the date for filing the notice of appeal. The Supreme Court agreed and vacated the ICA’s dismissal order, holding (1) the Final Amended Judgment amended the Original Judgment in a material and substantial respect such that the appeal deadline began to run from the date that the Final Amended Judgment was filed; and (2) therefore, Plaintiff’s appeal was timely. View "Wiesenberg v. Univ. of Hawaii" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Plaintiff, a Hawaii resident, filed an election contest complaint arguing (1) Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was not qualified to run for President of the United States and, therefore, the Republican Part was guilty of election fraud; (2) the Office of Elections sponsors racism by serving “whites only”; and (3) Governor David Ige is responsible for rampant bigotry and discrimination within the State. The State moved to dismiss the complaint. The Supreme Court entered judgment dismissing the complaint, holding that Plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the Supreme Court had jurisdiction over his complaint or the relief he sought. View "Smallwood v. State " on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, the former Chief of the General Medical & Preventative Services Division at the Hawaii Department of Health, filed a tort complaint against the State and Senator Rosalyn Baker, alleging that Baker eliminated his position in retaliation for whistleblowing activities. Baker filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that she was immune from suit based on legislative immunity, that the claims were untimely, and that the complaint failed to state a claim. The circuit court granted in part and denied in part Baker’s motion to dismiss, finding, as relevant to this appeal, that Baker was not entitled to dismissal on the basis of legislative immunity. Baker appealed. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) dismissed the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s order and remanded to the ICA for determination of the appeal on the merits, holding that the ICA had jurisdiction to hear Baker’s appeal because the circuit court’s order was an immediately appealable collateral order. View "Greer v. Baker" on Justia Law

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This case involved dibromochloropropane, a powerful nematode worm killer, and the litigation was multi-jurisdictional. The circuit court granted partial summary judgment against Plaintiffs and in favor of Defendants on statute of limitations grounds. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) affirmed. At issue on certiorari was (1) whether the filing of a putative class action in another jurisdiction operated to toll the state of Hawaii’s statute of limitations, and (2) if so, at what point did such tolling end? The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment and remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings, holding (1) the filing of a putative class action in another jurisdiction does toll the statute of limitations in the state of Hawaii because such “cross-jurisdictional tolling” supports a purpose of class action litigations, which is to avoid a multiplicity of suits; (2) under the circumstances of this case, cross-jurisdictional tolling ended when the foreign jurisdiction issued a final judgment that unequivocally dismissed the putative class action; and (3) Plaintiffs’ complaint was timely filed within the applicable limitations period and, therefore, was not time-barred. View "Patrickson v. Dole Food Co." on Justia Law

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This case arose from a dispute over a flag lot parcel of land in Puko’o, located on the Island of Moloka’i, County of Maui, State of Hawaii. At issue before the Supreme Court was whether an order deciding a motion that was purportedly filed pursuant to Haw. R. Civ. P. 60(b) is appealable where the underlying ruling from which the party sought Rule 60(b) relief was not appealable. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) dismissed the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction, concluding that the order regarding the Rule 60(b) motion was not appealable because the circuit court had not entered a valid final judgment on the underlying claims at issue. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that relief under Rule 60(b) requires an underlying judgment that comports with the principles of finality set forth in Jenkins v. Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright, and therefore, the ICA did not err in including that it lacked appellate jurisdiction to review the order regarding the Rule 60(b) motion. View "Bailey v. Duvauchelle" on Justia Law