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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–SCWC-12_731

No. SCWC-12-0000731, Thursday, January 5, 2017, 10 a.m.


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 Petitioner Christopher Damon Haig:

A. Bernard Bays, Michael C. Carroll, Adrian L. Lavarias, and Frederick G. Riecker

Attorneys for Petitioner Myrna B. Murdoch:

Rebecca A. Copeland, Peter Van Name Esser, Thomas R. Sylvester, and Stephanie L. Marn

Attorney for Respondent Brendan Damon Ethington and John Philip Damon:

George W. Van Buren

Attorneys for Respondents Trustees Under the Will and of the Estate of Samuel M. Damon:

J. Thomas Van Winkle and Melissa H. Lambert

NOTE: Order accepting Applications for Writ of Certiorari, filed 10/13/16.


[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

This case concerns the objections of two beneficiaries, Christopher Damon Haig (“Christopher”) and Myrna B. Murdoch (“Myrna”), of a testamentary trust created under the will of Samuel M. Damon (“Damon Trust” or “Trust”), to the decisions made by the Probate Court of the First Circuit (“Probate Court”) that underpinned its August 2, 2012 Judgment approving the Trust’s accounts from 1999 to 2003. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (“ICA”) affirmed the Probate Court’s August 2, 2012 Judgment. See In re Estate of Samuel M. Damon and Trust Created under the Will of Samuel M. Damon, No. CAAP-12-0000731 (App. Jun. 2, 2016) (mem.). Christopher and Myrna each timely applied for a writ of certiorari.

Among other things, both Christopher and Myrna contend that because they were not granted access to documents disclosed to the court-appointed master (“Master”) by the trustees of the Damon Trust (“Trustees”), they were prevented from making informed objections to the Master’s Report regarding the Trust’s 1999-2003 accounts. Accordingly, they assert: (1) their due process rights were violated, (2) the Trustees violated their duty to inform pursuant to Hawai`i Revised Statutes § 560:7-303 (2006) and trust law, and (3) the Trustees breached their “fiduciary duty to keep ‘full, accurate and orderly records of the status of the trust administration and of all acts thereunder’” when certain documents went inexplicably missing. Myrna additionally challenges the ICA’s application of a presumption of regularity and good faith to the Trustees with respect to Christopher’s and Myrna’s requests for documents.

This court granted both Christopher’s and Myrna’s Applications for Writs of Certiorari on October 13, 2016.