Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court

No. SCWC-30644, Thursday, August 15, 2013, 10 a.m.

LAHAINA FASHIONS, INC., a Hawai`i corporation, Petitioner/Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee, vs. BANK OF HAWAIʻI, a Hawaiʻi corporation; HAWAIIAN TRUST COMPANY, LTD., as Trustee for Hawai`i Real Estate Equity Fund; HAWAI`I REAL ESTATE EQUITY FUND; PACIFIC CENTURY TRUST, a division of Bank of Hawaiʻi as Trustee of the Hawai`i Real Estate Equity Fund, Respondents/Defendants-Appellees/Cross-Appellants.

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-Appellant/Cross-Appellee: 

Philip H. Lowenthal, Benjamin Lowenthal, and James M. Dombroski; Joseph M. Alioto, Admitted Pro Hac Vice

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

Terence J. O’Toole, Judith A. Pavey, and Andrew J. Lautenbach of Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher

NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, filed 06/26/13.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Glenn J. Kim, in place of CJ Recktenwald, recused, filed 07/03/13.

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 07/17/13.

COURT: PAN, Acting CJ; SRA, SSM, & RWP, JJ; Circuit Court Judge Kim, in place of CJ Recktenwald, recused.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Petitioner Lahaina Fashions sold commercial property to Respondents Bank of Hawai`i, Hawaiian Trust Company, Ltd., Hawaiʻi Real Estate Equity Fund, and Pacific Century Trust, through Hawaiian Trust. Petitioner was given the option of repurchasing the property and selling it to a third party. Subsequently, Petitioner asserted claims against Respondents, including breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference with prospective business advantage. The court granted judgment in favor of Respondents on the fiduciary duty claim. Based on the jury’s answers to interrogatories, Petitioner had proven tortious interference by Respondents, but the statute of limitations on the claim had expired.

After the verdict was read, the court orally discharged the jurors and instructed them they were free to discuss the case with others. However, following a conversation with the jurors, the court rescinded its earlier order. At a subsequent hearing, six jurors indicated they had misunderstood the special verdict form and that Petitioner’s claim was within the statute of limitations. The court denied Petitioner’s motions to amend the verdict and to resubmit the statute of limitations question to the jury.

Petitioner and Respondents appealed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA). The ICA affirmed. Petitioner contends the ICA erred in (1) failing to excuse an obvious mistake of the jury, (2) refusing to allow the jury to amend its verdict when it was still available, and (3) concluding that Respondents did not owe it a fiduciary duty.

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