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Oral Argument before the Hawai‘i Supreme Court – SCRQ-22-0000716

No. SCRQ-22-0000716, Thursday, September 7, 2023, 10 a.m.

HYUN JU PARK, Plaintiff, and DONGBU INSURANCE CO., LTD., Plaintiff-Intervenor-Appellant, vs. CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU, Defendant-Appellee, and STERLING NAKI and JOSHUA OMOSO, Defendants.

The above-captioned case was set for oral argument on the merits.

The oral argument was held *remotely* and livestreamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at and ‘Ōlelo TV 55.

Attorneys for Appellant DONGBU INSURANCE CO., LTD.:

Michelle-Lynn E. Luke and Bradford Chun of Kessner Umebayashi Bain & Matsunaga

Attorneys for Appellee CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU:

Richard D. Lewallen, Kaliko J. Warrington, and Robert M. Kohn, Deputies Corporation Counsel

NOTE: Order accepting Reserved Question, filed 12/19/22.

NOTE: Order assigning Robert D.S. Kim, Judge of the Circuit Court of the the Third Circuit, and Kathleen N.A. Watanabe, Judge of the Circuit Court of the Fifth Circuit due to vacancies, filed 8/2/23.

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

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

An off-duty police officer allegedly shot Plaintiff Hyun Ju Park (Park) accidentally while Park was working. Park sued the City and County of Honolulu (the City) for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Her employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier, Dongbu Insurance Co., Ltd. (Dongbu), intervened. It raised four claims: negligence, respondeat superior, negligent supervision, and subrogation.

The Circuit Court of the First Circuit dismissed Park’s claims and two of Dongbu’s claims. Dongbu’s negligent supervision and subrogation claims remain.

The City and Dongbu disagree on whether this action may continue without Park. The City argues that as a subrogee, Dongbu cannot maintain its action against the City alone because its rights derive from Park’s lawsuit. Dongbu responds that it is acting within its rights as a subrogee since its claims arise from the underlying facts surrounding Park’s injuries.

The circuit court reserved the following question to this court:

Does a subrogee insurance company, which timely intervened pursuant to HRS § 386-8(b), have an independent right to continue to pursue claims and/or legal theories against a tortfeasor that were not asserted by the subrogor employee, after summary judgment has been granted against the subrogor employee, on the subrogor employee’s claims?