Oral Argument Before the Intermediate Court of Appeals

No.30156 Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 9 a.m.

Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London Subscribing to Policy No. LL001H10300520, Plaintiff-Appellee vs. Stephen Vreeken, an individual, Pamela Vreeken, an individual, and Countrywide Home Loans, a corporation, and Does 1-20, Defendants-Appellees and Steven Vreeken and Pamela Vreeken, Third-Party Plaintiffs-Appellees and Harry Wengler and Bishop Insurance Agency, Inc., Third-Party Defendants-Appellants.

Attorney(s) for Third-Party Defendants-Appellants: 

James H. Hershey and Kathleen M. Douglas (Fukunaga Matayoshi Hershey Ching & Kop)

Attorney(s) for Defendants-Appellees/Third-Party Plaintiffs-Appellees: 

Kevin W. Herring, Paul S. Aoki, Connie C. Chow, and Gary P. Quiming (Ashford and Wriston)

COURT: Nakamura, CJ; Leonard and Reifurth, JJ.

SPECIAL NOTE: The above argument will take place in the Supreme Court courtroom on the Second Floor of Ali`iolani Hale, 417 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawai`i.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Third-Party Defendants/Appellants Harry Wengler ("Wengler") and Bishop Insurance Agency, Inc. ("BIA") appeal from the fnal jdgment, filed on August 6, 2009, entered in favor of Third-Party Plaintiffs/Appellees Steven Vreeken ("Vreeken")and his wife, Pamela Vreeken (collectively, "Vreekens"). Vreeken contends that he went to BIA's office in or around March 2004 and spoke to Wengler, an insurance agent, who helped the Vreekens procure homeowners insurance for their house. According to Vreeken, he informed Wengler that the insurance policy needed to cover a forthcoming structural renovation.

Vreeken testified that in March 2005, he learned that the payment to reinstate the policy was due on the day that he received the notice in the mail. Vreeken further testified that he called Wengler for help, and Wengler told Vreeken that he "would take care of it." Ultimately, the policy lapsed and Wengler and BIA were unsuccessful in reinstating the policy.

Wengler and BIA applied for a new policy on Vreeken's behalf, but misstated on the application that the house was not under renovation. As a result, the second policy was declared to be void. In the end, the Vreekens' house collapsed during renovation while it was uninsured. A jury found Wengler and BIA liable under multiple legal theories for substantial damages, including punitive damages.

Wengler and BIA assert thirteen points of error on appeal, arguing, among other things, that they did not breach any duties in tort to the Vreekens, that the Vreekens failed to prove causation, that the punitive-damages awards were improper, and that evidentiary errors require a new trial.

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