Justia Hawaii Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Professional Malpractice & Ethics
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The Supreme Court affirmed the final judgment of the circuit court dismissing, for lack of jurisdiction, Petitioner's petition to impeach Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro under section 12-203 of the Revised Charter of the City and County of Honolulu, holding that Hawaii's Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), Haw. Rev. Stat. Chapter 489E, did not apply to the petitions for impeachment in this case.Haw. Rev. Stat. 489E-7(d) states, "If a law requires a signature, an electronic signature satisfies the law." However, Haw. Rev. Stat. 489E-18(c) states that the UETA "does not require a governmental agency of this State to use or permit the use of electronic records or electronic signatures." In his motion to dismiss, Kaneshiro argued that electronic signatures did not satisfy the requirements for a petition to impeach the city prosecutor. The circuit court granted the motion, concluding that signatories to an impeachment petition under section 12-203 of the Revised Charter must provide handwritten signatures. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the UETA did not apply in this case. View "Yoshimura v. Kaneshiro" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued Dentist, claiming that Dentist had negligently provided him with orthodontic care. Dentist moved for summary judgment. On the day before the hearing, Plaintiff's counsel submitted a faxed copy of an expert affidavit stating that Dentist did not meet the standard of care. The circuit court struck Plaintiff's affidavit because it was a faxed copy and not an original and granted summary judgment in favor of Dentist. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) vacated the circuit court's final judgment and remanded, determining that Dentist failed to satisfy his initial burden as the summary judgment movant and that Plaintiff did not have adequate time to conduct discovery. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment since Doctor did not satisfy his initial burden of production. The Court also clarified that Haw. R. Civ. P. 56(f) is the proper procedure to request and obtain additional time to respond to a motion for summary judgment that is filed prior to the discovery deadline. View "Ralston v. Yim" on Justia Law

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Tara Thomas filed a lawsuit against her former attorney, Grant Kidani. Kidani represented Thomas in a real estate dispute wherein the jury decided the case against Thomas. Following that trial, Thomas sued Kidani, alleging legal malpractice. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Kidani, and the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed but on different grounds, holding (1) the ICA applied an incorrect standard of review on appeal where it invoked the clearly erroneous standard rather than a de novo review of Kidani's motion for summary judgment; but (2) Kidani was entitled to summary judgment in this case because Thomas did not meet her burden of proving that she would have prevailed at trial. View "Thomas v. Kidani" on Justia Law