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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeal–CAAP-15-0000545

CAAP-15-0000545, Wednesday, September 5, 2018, 9 a.m.

Robert H. Joslin dba Hawaii Public Adjusters, Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant, vs. Ota Camp-Makibaka Association, Inc., a Hawaii non-profit corporation, Defendant-Appellant/Cross-Appellee; Taira Proctor and Melinda Domagsac, Defendants-Appellees/Cross-Appellees; and Alterra Excess & Surplus Insurance Company, Intervenor-Appellee/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 Defendant-Appellant/Cross-Appellee:

Richard S. Ekimoto and Dan C. Oyasato (Ekimoto & Morris)

Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant:

Dennis W. King and Eric Seeleman (Deeley King Pang &
Van Etten)

COURT: Ginoza, C.J., Fujise and Leonard, JJ.

Brief Description:

Plaintiff Robert H. Joslin DBA Hawaii Public Adjusters (Joslin) brought this action seeking payment for services rendered as a public adjuster for owners of a unit within the Ota Camp-Makibaka Association, Inc. (Association) which was damaged by fire. Joslin claims his efforts resulted in payment of insurance proceeds under a policy issued to the Association. However, the Association refused to allow Joslin to deduct his claimed commission from the insurance proceeds.

The circuit court granted summary judgment on certain claims in favor of Joslin, reasoning that Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 431:9-230, which governs the conduct of public adjusters, should be applied rather than HRS § 514B-143, which governs an association’s insurance obligations.

On appeal, the Association argues that the circuit court erred by: (1) concluding that HRS Chapter 431 is the more specific statutory provision over HRS Chapter 514B as it relates to the payment of insurance proceeds where a public adjuster is involved; (2) concluding that Joslin was entitled to receive earned commissions out of the insurance proceeds; (3) concluding the Association was unjustly enriched by Joslin’s actions; and (4) granting attorney’s fees to Joslin.

On cross-appeal, Joslin argues: (1) the circuit court should have held that Joslin was entitled to an equitable lien against the proceeds of the insurance claim; (2) the circuit court erroneously concluded the Association did not tortiously interfere with Joslin’s contract with the unit owners; and (3) should attorney’s fees not be awarded under HRS § 632-3, attorney’s fees are merited under either HRS § 514B-157 or HRS § 607-14.