Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court

(Amended 09/24/13)

No. SCWC-12-0000295 Thursday, October 31, 2013, 10 a.m.

HAWAI`I STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION, Petitioner/Union-Appellant, vs. UNIVERSITY LABORATORY SCHOOL, EDUCATION LABORATORY PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD, (GRIEVANCE OC-11-24) (2011-013), Respondent/Employer-Appellee.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali`iolani Hale, 2nd Floor
|417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorneys for Petitioner/Union-Appellant: 

Herbert R. Takahashi, Rebecca L. Covert, and Davina W. Lam of Takahashi and Covert

Attorneys for Respondent/Employer-Appellee: 

James E. Halvorson and Richard H. Thomason, Deputy Attorneys General

 NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 08/28/13.

NOTE: Order granting motion to reschedule oral argument from 10/17/13 to 10/31/13 at 10:00 a.m., filed 09/24/13.

COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SRA, SSM, & RWP, JJ.

 [ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Petitioner/Union-Appellant Hawai`i State Teachers Association (HSTA), has applied for a writ of certiorari from the Intermediate Court of Appeals’s (ICA) May 17, 2013 Judgment on Appeal filed pursuant to its April 15, 2013 published opinion. This case concerns a dispute over whether agreements between the HSTA and the University Laboratory School (ULS) mandate arbitration of a grievance filed by the HSTA against the ULS. The HSTA’s grievance alleged that the ULS refused to implement a salary placement agreed to in a supplemental agreement negotiated by the HSTA and the ULS. The ULS responded that the salary placement the HSTA sought to enforce had never been agreed upon or incorporated into the agreement. The ULS filed a prohibited practice complaint with the Hawaiʻi Labor Relations Board (HLRB), in which it alleged that the HSTA was unilaterally attempting to repudiate or modify its agreement with the ULS by inserting a term into the agreement without proper negotiation. The HSTA filed, as a special proceeding in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (circuit court), a motion to compel arbitration of its grievance.

By order of March 2, 2012, the circuit court denied HSTA’s motion to compel arbitration and the HSTA appealed to the ICA. The ICA concluded that the HLRB had primary jurisdiction over the issues raised in the HSTA’s grievance and that the HSTA’s motion to compel arbitration was premature. However, the ICA also concluded that the circuit court erred in dismissing the case without first determining whether the parties would be unfairly disadvantaged by the dismissal. The ICA vacated the circuit court’s final judgment and remanded the case to the circuit court to determine whether a stay or dismissal without prejudice was appropriate.

The HSTA’s application for writ of certiorari with this court poses three questions:

Whether the ICA erred by applying the doctrine of primary jurisdiction to a unique and narrow factual dispute that served neither the desire for uniformity nor reliance on administrative expertise.

Whether the ICA erred by misapplying Section 89-10.8(a), HRS, when the issue was one of “meeting of the minds” and not fashioning of an agreement.

Whether the ICA Opinion erred where the circuit court exceeded its authority under Section 658A-26, HRS, and no “claim” was before the court by which to apply primary jurisdiction.

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