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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–No. SCWC-16-0000890

No. SCWC-16-0000890 (Consolidated with SCWC-17-0000216), Friday, November 13, 2020, 2 p.m.

PRUDENTIAL LOCATIONS, LLC, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. LORNA GAGNON and PRESTIGE REALTY GROUP LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, Petitioners/Defendants/Cross-Claim Defendants-Appellees, and RE/MAX LLC and LORRAINE CLAWSON, Respondents/Defendants/Cross-Claimants/Third-Party Plaintiffs-Appellees, and KEVIN TENGAN, Respondent/Third-Party Defendant-Appellee.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:  The oral argument will be held remotely and will be livestreamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/hawaiicourts

Attorney for Petitioners Gagnon and Prestige Realty:

Matt A. Tsukazaki of Li & Tsukazaki, Attorneys at Law, LLLC

Attorneys for Respondent Prudential Locations:

Paul Alston, Kristin L. Holland, and John Rhee of Dentons US LLP

Attorneys for Respondents RE/MAX and Clawson:

Duane Miyashiro and Jamie C. S. Madriaga of Cox, Wootton, Lerner, Griffin & Hansen, LLP

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Trish K. Morikawa due to a vacancy, filed 07/17/20.

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 09/03/20.

COURT: Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, McKenna, and Wilson, JJ., and Circuit Judge Morikawa, assigned by reason of vacancy.

Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

This case concerns a non-compete and non-solicitation agreement that a Hawai‘i real estate brokerage firm, Respondent-Plaintiff-Appellant, Prudential Locations, LLC (Locations), seeks to enforce against a former employee, Petitioner-Defendant-Appellee Lorna Gagnon (Gagnon), who left Locations to start her own brokerage firm, Prestige RE/MAX (Prestige), with several real estate brokers that also previously worked at Locations. The non-compete agreement restricted Gagnon from working for a new real estate brokerage firm in Hawai‘i for one year after terminating her employment with Locations. The non-solicitation agreement prevented Gagnon from soliciting “employees” and “affiliates” of Locations.

Before the circuit court, both Gagnon and Locations filed motions for summary judgment. After a hearing on the motions, the circuit court found in favor of Gagnon, concluding that the non-compete and non-solicitation agreements were unenforceable. On appeal, the ICA reversed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment.

On certiorari, Gagnon contends, inter alia, that: (1) the non-compete agreement was unenforceable because it illegally restricted competition, had no legitimate protectable interest, and/or was not reasonable; and (2) the non-solicitation agreement was also unenforceable because it did not apply to real estate brokers who were working for Locations as independent contractors.