Skip to Content

Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court — SCAP-15-0000783

No. SCAP-15-0000783, Thursday, March 9, 2017,11:15 a.m.

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR HAWAII.USA and CHRISTOPHER DAMON HAIG, as an individual, Respondents/Plaintiffs-Appellants/Cross-Appellees, vs. KAY LORRAINE BATE; LINDA HAMILTON KRIEGER, RAYMOND LIONGSON, KIM COCO IWAMOTO, WALLACE FUKUNAGA, ARTEMIO BAXA in their official capacities as Commissioners of the Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission, Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, State of Hawai`i; HAWAII CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR & INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, STATE OF HAWAI`I, Petitioners/Defendants-Appellees/Cross-Appellants.

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

Supreme Court Courtroom
Aliʻiolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorneys for Petitioners:

Margery S. Bronster, Rex Y. Fujichaku, Catherine L. Aubuchon, Susan Ichinose, April L. Wilson-South, Livia Wang, and Marissa H. Luning, Deputy Solicitor General

Attorney for Respondents:

Bruce D. Voss, Matthew C. Shannon, Leinaala L. Ley, and William F. Sink

NOTE: Order granting Application for Transfer, filed 08/12/16.

COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.

Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format  ]

Brief Description:

In June 2007, Petitioner Kay Lorraine Bate filed a charge of discrimination with the Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission (HCRC), alleging that while she was employed at Research Institute for Hawai`i.USA (RIHI), Respondents RIHI and Christopher Damon Haig (Haig) illegally discriminated against her.  After the HCRC found that Respondents had subjected Bate to illegal discrimination and harassment, Bate was awarded compensatory damages for emotional injuries, punitive damages, and other equitable relief.
  
 Respondents appealed the HCRC’s final order to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (circuit court), and demanded a jury trial de novo on all of the claims upon which Bate had been granted relief.  Respondents also filed a motion for an order: (1) subjecting Bate to an independent medical examination, and (2) seeking the production of an expert report on Bate’s emotional injuries (Motion for IME).  The circuit court filed an order granting Respondents’ Motion for IME (IME Order), as well as a case management order which, inter alia, defined the scope and nature of the jury trial, and permitted limited discovery on Bate’s emotional injuries and the parties’ experts thereon.
  
 Subsequently, both parties jointly obtained leave from the circuit court to file interlocutory appeals from the IME Order and the case management order.  After Respondents and Petitioners filed their appeal and cross-appeal, respectively, Petitioners filed an application for transfer, which was granted.
 
Respondents raise five points of error on appeal:

(1)  The circuit court erred in not finding that RIHI and Haig are entitled to a jury trial de novo on all claims or theories of liability brought in the HCRC proceeding.

(2) The circuit court erred by finding that testimony at the jury trial shall be limited only to witnesses who testified during the HCRC evidentiary hearing, and that the testimony of such witnesses at the jury trial shall be limited to the testimony previously presented to the HCRC. 
(3) The circuit court erred by finding that the parties may not conduct any further discovery in preparation for the jury trial, and by not allowing the parties to introduce exhibits and documents at the jury trial that were not entered into the record at the HCRC proceeding.

(4)  The circuit court erred by finding that Haig remains a defendant in the jury trial.

(5)  If and to the extent that any claims remain against Haig for the jury trial, the circuit court erred by not permitting Haig to introduce witness testimony and other evidence to rebut the HCRC and Bate’s contentions as to Haig’s net worth at the time of the jury trial on the issue of punitive damages.

On cross-appeal, Petitioners assert one point of error:
the circuit court erred in the IME Order and case management order by allowing discovery beyond the administrative record that had been created during the contested case proceeding.