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Oral argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court

No. SCWC-12-0000778, Thursday, January 8, 2015, 8:45 a.m.

NOEL MADAMBA CONTRACTING, LLC, Petitioner/Movant and Cross-Respondent-Appellant, vs. RAMON ROMERO and CASSIE ROMERO, Respondents/Respondents and Cross-Petitioners-Appellees, and A&B GREEN BUILDING LLC, Respondent/Cross-Respondent-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:

Samuel P. King, Jr.

Attorneys for Respondents:

Keith Y. Yamada and Michael C. Schwartz

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 10/01/14.

COURT: MER, C.J.; PAN, SSM, RWP, & MDW, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

This case arises from a construction contract dispute between Petitioner/Movant and Cross-Respondent-Appellant Noel Madamba Contracting LLC (“Madamba”) and Respondents/Respondents and Cross-Petitioners-Appellees Ramon Romero and Cassie Romero (“the Romeros”) concerning a residential construction project in Honolulu. The matter was submitted to Dispute Prevention & Resolution, Inc. (“DPR”) and an arbitrator was selected. Following arbitration proceedings, the Romeros were granted an award of compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Prior to the issuance of the final arbitration award, the arbitrator informed the parties about his relationship with the Romeros’ counsel, Cades Schutte LLP (“Cades”). Specifically, the arbitrator disclosed that Cades had been in communication with the administrator of his personal retirement account for the purpose of reviewing the account to ensure compliance with state and federal law. Following the disclosures, Madamba sought to disqualify the arbitrator and vacate the arbitration award. The circuit court denied Madamba’s requests, noting that the arbitrator’s “evident partiality” had not been demonstrated.

Madamba appealed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals, which affirmed the circuit court’s decision.

Madamba’s application raises the following questions:

Did the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) commit grave error in affirming the lower court’s confirmation of the arbitration award?

 Did the ICA commit grave error in affirming the lower court’s conclusion [that the arbitrator’s] failure to disclose his relationship with Respondents’ attorneys, the Cades firm, in violation of Rule 9 of Dispute Prevention & Resolution, Inc. (DPR) did not amount to “evident partiality”?

Did the ICA commit grave error in affirming the lower court’s denial of Petitioner’s demand to engage in further discovery regarding [the arbitrator’s] failure to disclose?