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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court — No. SCWC-14-0000021

No. SCWC-14-0000021, Thursday, January 18, 2018. 8:45 a.m.

ARLEY H. NOZAWA, Petitioner/Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL UNION NO. 3, Respondent/Defendant-Appellee, and JOHN DOES 1-5, JANE DOES 1-5, DOE CORPORATIONS 1-5, DOE LLCS 1-5, DOE PARTNERSHIPS 1-5, DOE NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS 1-5, and DOE GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES 1-5, Defendants.

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:

Charles H. Brower

Attorneys for Respondent:

Ashley K. Ikeda and Stephanie L. Marn

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 11/09/17.

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

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Petitioner Arley Nozawa filed a complaint against Respondent Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 (Local 3), alleging that she was terminated by Local 3 from her position as dispatcher on the basis of her gender. Local 3 answered the complaint, denying Nozawa’s claim of gender discrimination.

Local 3 filed a motion for summary judgment, supported by exhibits and declarations. In its motion, Local 3 argued that Nozawa failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination because she could not prove that she was qualified for the dispatcher position. Local 3 contended that Nozawa committed a serious dispatching error and that she had work performance problems that did not improve following a Final Written Warning. Alternatively, Local 3 argued that it had articulated legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for Nozawa’s termination, as Nozawa was terminated under a reorganization scheme after a new district representative was appointed.

Nozawa filed an opposition to the motion, supported by her own declaration (opposition). In her opposition, Nozawa contended that she was falsely accused of committing a serious dispatching error, she always received excellent employment evaluations, and she did not have work performance problems at the time of termination.

Following a hearing on the motion, Local 3 requested leave to submit supplemental briefing to provide the court with documents pertaining to statements made by Nozawa in her opposition. The circuit court granted Local 3’s request, also allowing Nozawa to respond to Local 3’s supplemental memorandum. Local 3 filed a supplemental reply with attached exhibits and declarations, and Nozawa filed a supplemental opposition, which was supported by her declaration and a declaration from William Mahoe (Mahoe Declaration). The Mahoe Declaration stated that Local 3 officers held meetings in 2009 and 2010 at which they discussed replacing women dispatchers with men.

At a further hearing on the summary judgment motion, the circuit court struck the Mahoe Declaration as being beyond the scope of the court’s ruling allowing supplemental briefing. In addition, the circuit court found that Nozawa had not shown that Local 3’s reasons for terminating her were a pretext for discrimination. Thus, the court granted Local 3’s motion for summary judgment.

Nozawa appealed the circuit court’s ruling striking the Mahoe Declaration and the grant of Local 3’s summary judgment motion. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) concluded that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in striking the Mahoe Declaration and affirmed the grant of summary judgment on the basis that Nozawa had failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact that Local 3’s proffered reasons for her termination were pretextual.

On certiorari, Nozawa presents two questions for review: whether the ICA erred in failing to view the evidence in the light most favorable to her and whether the ICA erred in failing to consider her declarations and the Mahoe Declaration.