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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–No. SCCQ-17-0000474

No. SCCQ-17-0000474, Thursday, May 3, 2018, 8:45 a.m.

WILLIAM R. HANCOCK, individually and as Trustee of the HANCOCK AND COMPANY, INC. PROFIT SHARING TRUST, under trust instrument April 3, 1983, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. KULANA PARTNERS, LLC, a Hawai i limited liability company; FIDELITY NATIONAL TITLE & ESCROW OF HAWAII, INC., a Hawai i Corporation, Defendants-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 Appellant Kulana Partners, LLC:

Jade Lynne Ching and Kanoelani S. Kane

Attorneys for Appellant Fidelity National Title & Escrow of Hawaii, Inc.:

Ryan H. Engle and Georgia Anton

Attorney for Appellee William R. Hancock:

Timothy J. Hogan

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

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

The case involves a 2002 sale of real property from William R. Hancock to Kulana Partners, LLC. Hancock had agreed to include in the conveyance documents an easement in favor of his neighbors, Robert and Esther Grinpas. The conveyance documents, however, did not include the easement.

In 2007, the Grinpases sued Hancock and Kulana Partners in the Circuit Court of the Fifth Circuit, and the appeal is currently pending before the ICA. Grinpas v. Kapaa 382, CAAP-14-870.

In 2013, in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (“USDC”), Hancock sued Kulana Partners and its escrow company for the sale, Fidelity National Title & Escrow of Hawaii, Inc. (“Fidelity”), alleging that the deed was “forged.” He alleges there was a fraudulent modification of the conveyance documents after the sale to omit the easement in favor of the Grinpases. In 2014, the USDC granted Kulana Partners’ motion to dismiss and Fidelity’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, and it denied Hancock’s counter-motion for summary judgment and preliminary injunction. Hancock appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (“Ninth Circuit”). In 2017, the Ninth Circuit then remanded the case to the USDC with orders to certify the following questions to this court:

1. Whether a claim relating to a forged deed is subject to the statute of limitations for fraud?

2. Whether the recording of a deed provides constructive notice in an action for fraud?
 This court issued an Order on Certified Question, concluding that the questions are amenable to answer.