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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court

No. SCWC-11-0001019, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 10 a.m.

BENJAMIN N. PULAWA, III, Petitioner/Claimant-Appellant, vs. OAHU CONSTRUCTION CO., LTD., Respondent/Employer-Appellee, and SEABRIGHT INSURANCE COMPANY, Respondent/Insurance Carrier-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

Attorney for Petitioner:

Dan S. Ikehara

Attorneys for Respondent Seabright Ins. Co.:

Brian G.S. Choy and Keith M. Yonamine

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 01/28/15.

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

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

The present appeal arises out of a work-related injury Petitioner Benjamin Pulawa III (“Pulawa”) endured while working as a construction supervisor for Respondent Oahu Construction and the subsequent workers’ compensation claims made against Oahu Construction and its insurance company, Seabright Insurance Company.

Pulawa requested that Seabright Insurance provide coverage for a neuromonics device to alleviate tinnitus symptoms related to a work-related injury that occurred in 1996. Seabright Insurance Company denied the claim, stating that the neuromonics device was not reasonably necessary medical care. In addition, Seabright Insurance sought to terminate Pulawa’s temporary total disability payments because Pulawa was considered medically stable and able to resume work. The Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and subsequently the Labor and Industrial Relations Appeals Board denied the neuromonics device because it was not reasonable and necessary and affirmed the denial of Pulawa’s total temporary disability payments.

Pulawa appealed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals, which affirmed the Labor and Industrial Relations Appeals Board.

Pulawa’s application raises the following questions:

1. Whether or not the ICA erred in finding that the neuromonics device for treatment of Petitioner’s tinnitus is not reasonably necessary?

2. Whether or not the ICA erred in finding that there was sufficient medical evidence that Petitioner is able to resume work?