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First Circuit (Oʻahu) Circuit Court, Downtown Honolulu District Court, and Appellate Courts
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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court

No. SCWC-12-0000703, Thursday, December 17, 2015, 8:45 a.m.

KARL ROBERT BRUTSCH, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant, vs. CELIA KAY BRUTSCH, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant/Cross-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

Attorneys for Petitioner:

Peter Van Name Esser and P. Gregory Frey

Attorney for Respondent:

Samuel P. King, Jr.

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 10/23/15.

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

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

This case is a dispute between Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant/Cross-Appellee Celia Kay Brutsch (“Wife”) and Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant Karl Robert Brutsch (“Husband”) arising from divorce proceedings that focused on property division and the custody of the couple’s two minor children. Wife timely applied for writ of certiorari (“Application”) on September 11, 2015 from a July 13, 2015 Judgment entered by the Intermediate Court of Appeals (“ICA”) pursuant to its May 12, 2015 Summary Disposition Order (“SDO”).

In relevant part, the ICA vacated in part the Family Court of the First Circuit’s (“family court[’s]”): (1) “Decree Granting Absolute Divorce and Awarding Child Custody” (“divorce decree”) inasmuch as it denied Husband any Category 3 credit for gifts and inheritance, and (2) “Order Re: Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration and for Rule 68 Attorney’s Fees Filed February 16, 2012” and “Order Denying Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration of Decision Announced March 14, 2012, Filed March 21, 2012,” inasmuch as the orders denied Husband’s request pursuant to Hawai`i Family Court Rules (“HFCR”) Rule 68 for attorney’s fees and costs associated with litigating the issue of their children’s custody.

In her Application, Wife asserts the ICA erred by determining (1) Husband was entitled to Category 3 credit, and (2) that the trial court erred in denying Husband’s demand for HFCR Rule 68 fees and costs.

Specifically, Wife presents the following two questions in her Application:

A. Given [Husband’s] failure to document a consistent amount for his inheritance, show it was used for marital expenses, or rebut a presumption of gift to the marital partnership, did the ICA commit grave error when it substituted its own judgment for that of the trial judge, and vacated his ruling rejecting [Husband’s] demand for $134,235, $140,000, $190,000, $236,235, or $324,235, in Category 3 credits?

B. Given [Husband’s] failure to tender a comprehensive settlement offer as to all contested issues, offer to settle any one of the contested matters, or justify his request for fees with billings or time sheets, did the ICA commit grave error when it substituted its own judgment for that of the trial judge, and vacated his ruling denying [Husband’s] demand for HFCR Rule 68 fees and costs?