Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court
No. SCWC-13-0000022, Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 8:45 a.m.
EDEN L. PANADO, Petitioner/Appellant-Appellant, vs. BOARD OF TRUSTEES EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Appellee-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:
Philip W. Miyoshi of Miyoshi & Hironaka LLLC
Attorneys for Respondent:
Patricia Ohara and Elmira K.L. Tsang, Deputy Attorneys General
NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Jeannette H. Castagnetti, due to a vacancy, filed 03/19/14.
NOTE: Oral argument rescheduled from 05/12/14 at 11:15 a.m. to 05/13/14 at 08:45 a.m.
COURT: MER, C.J.; PAN, SSM, & RWP, JJ.; and Circuit Court Judge Castagnetti, due to a vacancy.
Eden Panado applied for service-connected disability retirement benefits with the Board of Trustees of the Employees’ Retirement System, alleging that she was permanently incapacitated because of neck and back injuries she sustained while lifting boxes during an October 8-9, 2004 work shift for the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Information Technology. Under Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) § 88-79, a member of the Employees’ Retirement System may qualify for service-connected disability retirement benefits if the member can show that he or she was “permanently incapacitated for duty as the natural and proximate result of an accident occurring while in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place . . . .”
The Board of Trustees denied Panado’s application based on its determination that (1) the October 8-9, 2004 incident was not an “accident” because Panado failed to show the “definite time and place” of her being injured; and that (2) Panado’s incapacity was not the natural and proximate result of the October 8-9, 2004 incident. Panado appealed to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (circuit court), which affirmed the Board of Trustees’ decision based on a similar interpretation of HRS § 88-79, i.e., that “some definite time and place” requires an applicant to allege the exact moment of injury. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) affirmed the circuit court.
Panado raises the following question in her application: whether the ICA erred in affirming the circuit court’s conclusion that Panado’s injuries resulting from the lifting of boxes during a single eight-hour work shift did not occur at “some definite time and place” under HRS § 88-79.