Oral Arguments before the Hawai`i Supreme Court

No.27840 - Thursday, November 6, 2008 - 9:00 A.M.

HAWAI`I INSURERS COUNCIL, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. LINDA LINGLE, Governor, State of Hawai`i; GEORGINA K. KAWAMURA, Director of Finance, Department of Budget & Finance; MARK E. RECKTENWALD, Director, Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs, Petitioners/Defendants-Appellants.(Declaratory Judgment)

Attorney(s) for Petitioners/Defendants-Appellant(s)
Honorable Mark J. Bennett, Attorney General, and Kimberly T. Guidry and James F. Nagle, Deputies Attorney General, State of Hawai`i

Attorney(s) for Respondent/Defendant-Appellee(s)
Gary M. Slovin, Lisa Woods Munger and Donna H. Kalama (Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel)

COURT:RTYM, CJ; SHL, PAN, SRA & JED, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief description:

Petitioners/Defendants-Appellants Linda Lingle, Governor of the State of Hawai`i; Georgina K. Kawamura, Director of Finance, Department of Budget and Finance; Lawrence M. Reifurth, Director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA); and J.P. Schmidt, Insurance Commissioner, Insurance Division of the DCCA (collectively referred to as "the State") filed an Application for Writ of Certiorari (Application) urging this court to review the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA)'s Opinion in Hawaii Insurers Council v. Lingle, 117 Hawai`i 454, 184 P.3d 769 (App. 2008).In Hawaii Insurers Council, the ICA affirmed the final judgment of the circuit court of the first circuit.The circuit court found, in relevant part, that assessments charged to insurers by the Insurance Commissioner -- a portion of which the state legislature subsequently transferred to the general fund -- constituted illegal and unconstitutional taxes.

In its Application, the State argues that the ICA gravely erred (1) by holding that the Insurance Commissioner's regulatory fee assessments are illegal and unconstitutional taxes under the user fee test from State v. Medeiros, 89 Hawai`i 361, 973 P.2d 736 (1999); (2) by holding that the Insurance Commissioner's assessments violate separation of powers and Hawai`i Revised Statutes § 431:7-204; and (3) by holding that the circuit court had jurisdiction over this matter.

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