Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court
NO. SCWC-29467 Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 11 a.m.
CHARLES MITCHELL HART and LISA MARIE HART, Petitioners/Plaintiffs-Appellants, vs. TICOR TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, Respondent/Defendant-Appellee.
Attorneys for Petitioners/Plaintiffs-Appellants: Philip J. Leas, Calvert G. Chipchase, and Christopher T. Goodin of Cades Schutte LLP
Attorneys for Respondent/Defendant-Appellee: Francis P. Hogan and Connie C. Chow of Ashford & Wriston
The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:
Supreme Court Courtroom
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 01/24/12.
COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SRA, JED, & SSM, JJ.
Petitioners Charles Mitchell Hart and Lisa Marie Hart (“the Harts”) filed an Application for a Writ of Certiorari to review the Intermediate Court of Appeals’ July 22, 2011 judgment on appeal, which affirmed the judgment of the district court of the first circuit entered on December 4, 2008.
In 2005, the Harts filed a lot consolidation action in Land Court to consolidate their two Ewa Beach lots into one parcel. Title to these lots was insured by Respondent TICOR Title Insurance Company (“TICOR”). In response to the Harts’ action, the State of Hawaiʻi asserted, inter alia, that “the State reserves any interests in the property that may have escheated to the State.” The Harts tendered the defense of the State’s escheat reservation to TICOR as a covered claim under their title insurance policy. TICOR refused the Harts’ tender. The Harts filed suit against TICOR in district court for breach of contract and bad faith.
The district court concluded that the State did not assert a claim against the Harts’ title that gave rise to coverage under the Harts’ title insurance policy and entered summary judgment in favor of TICOR. On appeal, the ICA agreed and affirmed the district court’s judgment.
At issue is whether the ICA erred (1) in concluding that TICOR had no duty to defend the Harts against the State’s claim of escheat, and (2) in upholding the award of attorneys’ fees and costs to TICOR.