Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court

No. SCAP-12-0000764, Thursday, September 19, 2013, 10 a.m.

RAYMOND GURROBAT, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Petitioner/Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant, vs. HTH CORPORATION; PACIFIC BEACH CORPORATION, Respondents/Defendants-Appellants/Cross-Appellees.

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/Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant:

James J. Bickerton of Bickerton Lee Dang & Sullivan; John Francis Perkin, Brandee J.K. Faria, and Michelle Premeaux of Perkin & Faria, LLLC

Attorneys for Respondents/Defendants-Appellants/Cross-Appellees:

Paul Alston, Tina L. Colman, and John Rhee of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing

NOTE: Order granting Application for Transfer, filed 02/11/13.

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

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Plaintiff-Appellee-Cross-Appellant Raymond Gurrobat (“Gurrobat”), individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons, filed a class-action lawsuit against Defendants-Appellants-Cross-Appellees HTH Corporation and Pacific Beach Corporation (collectively, “Defendants”), for alleged violations of Hawai`i Revised Statutes (“HRS”) § 481B-14. The Circuit Court of the First Circuit granted summary judgment in favor of Gurrobat on his claim for unpaid wages under HRS §§ 388-6 and -10, and in favor of Defendants on his claim for unfair method of competition under HRS §§ 480-2(e) and -13(a). Defendants appealed from the circuit court’s August 7, 2012 Amended Final Judgment, and Gurrobat cross-appealed. Gurrobat applied for a transfer from the Intermediate Court of Appeals, and this court accepted a discretionary transfer of the case pursuant to HRS § 602-58(b)(1) (Supp. 2011).

On appeal, Defendants argue that the circuit court erred in granting summary in favor of Gurrobat on the claim for unpaid wages because: (1) a violation of HRS § 481B-14 cannot form the basis of a claim under HRS § 388-6; (2) Gurrobat lacked standing to represent employees of the Pagoda Hotel, and he failed to satisfy the requirements for class certification; (3) there was no basis for imposing joint and several liability against Defendants; (4) the appropriate measure of damages should have taken into account the portion of service charge income distributed to both service employees and managerial employees; (5) Gurrobat failed to prove that HTH Corporation was an “employer” of class members; and (6) the court’s invocation of judicial and equitable for failing to address manifest defects in its judgment was misplaced.

On cross-appeal, Gurrobat argues that the circuit court misinterpreted the requirements of Davis, 122 Hawai`i 423, 228 P.3d 303, and erroneously granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants on the claim for unfair method of competition because: (1) he provided sufficient proof to allege an unfair method of competition claim; (2) he satisfied the causation requirement by showing that Defendants’ conduct both negatively impacted “fair competition” and caused injury to class members; (3) he identified Starwoods Hotels as a law-compliant competitor that discloses to customers its practice of retaining a portion of the service charge income; (4) the fact that he could not identify a hotel that distributes one hundred percent of the service charge income to its service employees did not preclude him from showing that Defendants’ practices unfairly affected fair competition; and (5) HRS Chapter 480 provides the only means by which employees can seek injunctive relief against such violations.

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