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Oral Argument Before the Hawai‘i Supreme Court – SCAP-22-0000552

No. SCAP-22-0000552, Thursday, November 16, 2023, 2 p.m.

STEPHEN P. H. WONG, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. ASSOCIATION OF APARTMENT OWNERS OF HARBOR SQUARE, by and through its Board of Directors, Defendant-Appellee/Third-Party Plaintiff-Appellee, and PORTER McGUIRE KIAKONA, LLP, fka Porter Tom Quitiquit Chee & Watts, and EKIMOTO & MORRIS, ALLLC, Third-Party Defendants-Appellees.

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

Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali‘iōlani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

The oral argument will also be livestreamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/hawaiicourts and ‘Ōlelo TV 55.

Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellant STEPHEN WONG:

Steven K. S. Chung and Anthony F. T. Suetsugu of Imanaka Asato, LLLC

Attorneys for Defendant-Appellee/Third-Party Plaintiff-Appellee ASSOCIATION OF APARTMENT OWNERS OF HARBOR SQUARE:

Carlos D. Perez-Mesa, Jr. and Mary Martin of Clay Iwamura Pulice & Nervell

Attorneys for Third-Party Defendant-Appellee EKIMOTO & MORRIS, ALLLC:

James Shin and Jodie D. Roeca of Roeca Luria Shin LLP

Attorney for Third-Party Defendant-Appellee PORTER McGUIRE KIAKONA LLP:

Duane R. Miyashiro of Chun Kerr LLP

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Chief Judge R. Mark Browning and Circuit Judge Paul B.K. Wong due to vancancies, filed 06/19/23.

NOTE: Order granting Application for Transfer, filed 06/26/23.

NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by Substitute Justice R. Mark Browning, filed 10/12/23.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Judge Rowena A. Somerville in place of Substitute Justice Browning, recused, filed 10/16/23.

COURT: Recktenwald, C.J., McKenna and Eddins, JJ., and Circuit Judge Somerville and Circuit Judge Wong, assigned by reason of vacancies

Brief Description:

In 2011, Defendant-Appellee Association of Apartment Owners of Harbor Square (AOAO) non-judicially foreclosed on Plaintiff-Appellant Stephen P. H. Wong’s condominium. In 2019, Wong’s mortgagee bank foreclosed on the property. Wong sued the AOAO alleging the AOAO unlawfully applied Hawai’i Revised Statutes § 667-5 to conduct a wrongful non-judicial foreclosure on his condominium.

The AOAO argues that Wong was not entitled to damages because the discharged mortgage debt exceeded his property’s fair market value. The AOAO also filed a third-party complaint against its law firms for their counsel leading up to, and for their representation during, the wrongful non-judicial foreclosure.

The Circuit Court of the First Circuit denied Wong’s motion for summary judgment and granted the AOAO’s motion for summary judgment.

On appeal, Wong argues that the circuit court erred by (1) holding that his now-extinguished mortgage debt offsets his available damages; (2) finding there were no genuine issues of material fact as to compensatory damages; (3) denying his motion for summary judgment; (4) granting the AOAO’s motion for summary judgment; and (5) dismissing his claims with prejudice. Wong maintains that because the AOAO cannot return the property, he is entitled to his out-of-pocket losses. These losses include the property’s fair market value. Further, he says the AOAO should disgorge the rent it collected for eight years before the third-party lender’s foreclosure.

The AOAO counters that the circuit court made no error. It maintains Wong was not entitled to any damages because the property was underwater when the AOAO foreclosed. It says Wong should not receive a windfall after his third-party debt was extinguished. He should receive neither the eight years of rent nor the property’s fair market value without offset.