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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals–CAAP-16-0000845

CAAP-16-0000845, Wednesday, May 8, 2019, 8:45 a.m.

Civil No. 07-1-1116
DONNA LEE CHING, Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant/Appellant/Cross-Appellee, vs. NANCY LOO DUNG, and PATSY BOW YUK DUNG, Defendants/Counterclaim Plaintiffs/Appellees/Cross-Appellees, and ANNETTE KWAI FAH DUNG, Defendant/Counterclaim Plaintiff/Appellee/Cross-Appellant, and DENBY DUNG; DARAH DUNG; DEAN DUNG; and DIXON QUAN HON DUNG, Defendants/Appellees/Cross-Appellants, and BILLIE DUNG, Defendant/Appellee/Cross-Appellee.

Civil No. 13-1-2929
DONNA L. CHING, Individually, Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant/ Appellant/Cross-Appellee, vs. ANNETTE KWAI FAH DUNG, ANNETTE DUNG, DARAH DUNG, DEAN DUNG, and DENBY DUNG, Defendants/Counterclaim-Plaintiffs/Appellees/Cross-Appellants, and PATSY BOW YUK DUNG and BILLIE DUNG, Defendants/Appellees/Cross-Appellees.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

Supreme Court Courtroom
Aliʻiolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorneys for Donna Lee Ching, Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant/ Appellant/Cross-Appellee:

Terrance M. Revere and Malia R. Nickison-Beazley
(Revere & Associates), and
Jonathan L. Ortiz, Wade J. Katano, and
Christine S. Prepose-Kamihara
(Ortiz & Katano)

Attorneys for Nancy Loo Dung, Patsy Bow Yuk Dung, Defendants/Counterclaim Plaintiffs/Appellees/Cross-Appellees; Annette Kwai Fah Dung, Defendant/Counterclaim Plaintiff/ Appellee/Cross-Appellant; Denby Dung, Darah Dung, Dean Dung, Defendants/Appellees/Cross-Appellants; and Billie Dung, Defendant/Appellee/Cross-Appellee:

David Minkin and Jesse J.T. Smith (McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon), and Ronald Shigekane (Chong, Nishimoto, Sia, Nakamura, & Goya)

COURT: Fujise, Leonard, and Reifurth, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

This appeal arises out of litigation concerning the use by Plaintiff/Counterclaim-Defendant/Appellant/Cross-Appellee Donna Lee Ching (Ching) of her easement (Easement) over certain real property owned by Defendants/Counterclaim-Plaintiffs/Appellees/Cross-Appellants Annette Dung, Darah Dung, Dean Dung, Denby Dung, and Dixon Quan Hon Dun (the Dungs) before the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (Circuit Court).

Both Ching and the Dungs asserted numerous claims, which were tried before a jury. Ching alleged that individual defendants had, inter alia, intentionally interfered with her use and enjoyment of the Easement, had invaded her right to privacy, and engaged in malicious prosecution. The Dungs asserted similar claims against Ching.

Following trial, the Final Judgment was entered primarily in favor of Ching and against the Dungs. The jury found that the scope of the Easement included both pedestrian and vehicular use. The jury also concluded that Ching had proved her claims for nuisance, invasion of privacy, defamation, and malicious prosecution. The jury awarded Ching special damages of $16,600, general damages of $500,000, and punitive damages of $100,000. The jury decided against the Dungs on their counterclaims.

On appeal, Ching argues the Circuit Court abused its discretion by not allowing Ching to present evidence of attorneys’ fees and costs as part of her claim for punitive damages and when it determined that Ching would not be competent to testify as to the reasonableness and necessity of the fees and costs.

The Dungs’ arguments involve the Circuit Court’s ruling that the Dungs had made a judicial admission regarding the easement and the court’s refusal to allow their expert to testify regarding the easement. The Dungs further argue that the Circuit Court abused its discretion in refusing to allow certain evidence at trial, erred in allowing the jury to deliberate on a number of Ching’s claims, and erred with respect to damages.

In addition, the parties have been asked to submit supplemental briefing on the following issues:
 Where unsegregated amounts of special damages, general damages, and/or punitive damages, are awarded on multiple claims that were submitted to a jury under multiple theories of liability, and one or more, but not all, of the theories are rejected and/or claims are vacated on appeal, what is the appropriate remedy?