Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court
No. SCWC-11-0001074, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 8:45 a.m.
SANDRA C.J. BALOGH, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. DONALD RAYMOND BALOGH, Petitioner/Defendant-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/Defendant-Appellee:
Rebecca A. Copeland
Attorney for Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellant:
Stephen T. Hioki
NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by Associate Justice Simeon R. Acoba, Jr., filed 12/05/13.
NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Derrick H.M. Chan in place of Acoba, J., recused, filed 12/16/13.
NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 01/10/14.
COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, & RWP, JJ; Circuit Court Judge Chan, in place of Acoba, J., recused.
Donald Raymond Balogh filed an application for a writ of certiorari to review the October 3, 2013 judgment of the Intermediate Court of Appeals, entered pursuant to its August 12, 2013 memorandum opinion. The ICA’s judgment vacated in part the Family Court of the First Circuit’s December 2, 2011 divorce decree and February 15, 2012 findings of fact and conclusions of law.
In brief summary, Sandra C.J. Balogh filed for divorce against Donald following a period of tension between the couple. During their marriage, the couple had signed a handwritten agreement, stating that Sandra would receive seventy-five percent of the profit from the sale of their marital home upon separation, and a memorandum of understanding, stating that Sandra would receive seventy-five percent of the proceeds from the sale of the home upon either separation or divorce. After Donald moved out of the couple’s home, he executed a quitclaim deed transferring his interest in the property marital home to Sandra.
Notwithstanding the deed and two agreements, the family court awarded Donald and Sandra each a one-half interest in the marital home. The family court concluded that it would be unconscionable to nforce the quitclaim deed, and that the deed and the two other agreements were unenforceable because Donald was under duress and coercion when he signed them. Sandra appealed, and the ICA vacated in part the divorce decree and the findings of fact and conclusions of law, including the division of Donald’s and Sandra’s interests in the marital home, and remanded for further proceedings.
Donald raises two questions in his application: (1) whether the ICA erred in vacating the family court’s decision that the postmarital agreements and the quitclaim deed were unenforceable because they were unconscionable; and (2) whether the ICA erred in vacating the family court’s decision that the postmarital agreements and quitclaim deed were unenforceable because they were entered into involuntarily.