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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court, SCWC-14-0000916

Amended 06/16/16

No. SCWC-14-0000916, Thursday, October 6, 2016, 8:45 a.m.

FLORENCIO E. DELA CRUZ, ANASTACIA A. DELA CRUZ, and JENNIFER M. RESPECIO, Petitioners/Plaintiffs-Appellants, vs. IRENE B. QUEMADO, MARVIN QUEMADO, JR., and BRYAN T. HIGA, Respondents/Defendants-Appellees.
 
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 Petitioners:

 Joseph P.H. Ahuna, Jr., Joseph P.K. Ahuna, III, and David K. Ahuna

Attorney for Respondents:

JohnAaron Murphy Jones

NOTE:    Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 05/12/16.

NOTE:    Order granting postponement of oral argument from 07/21/16 to 10/06/16, at 8:45 a.m., filed 6/15/16.

COURT:    MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

        Petitioners Florencio Dela Cruz, Anastacia Dela Cruz, and Jennifer Respecio applied for a writ of certiorari from the Intermediate Court of Appeals’ (ICA) February 1, 2016 judgment, which affirmed the circuit court’s June 6, 2014 final judgment in favor of Irene Quemado.

        This case arises from the armed robbery of the Dela Cruzes by Marvin Quemado and Bryan Higa.  The morning of the robbery, the Dela Cruzes went to the home of Irene, Marvin’s mother, to exchange jewelry and make repairs.  While the Dela Cruzes were visiting with Irene, Marvin contacted Bryan and devised a plan to rob the Dela Cruzes of their jewelry.  Later in the day, Bryan robbed Florencio at gunpoint.  Marvin and Bryan were later arrested and pled guilty to multiple charges related to the robbery.

        Petitioners brought a civil suit against Irene, contending that she was negligent and should be held liable because Marvin’s conduct was foreseeable given his prior history of drug use and felony convictions for possession and promotion of drugs. 

        The circuit court entered default against Irene after she failed to appear at a scheduled settlement conference.  At a subsequent hearing on Petitioners’ Motion for Entry of Default Judgment against Irene, the circuit court concluded that Marvin’s conduct was not foreseeable and dismissed the claims against Irene with prejudice.  Petitioners appealed, and the ICA affirmed the circuit court’s decision.

        In their application to this court, Petitioners argue that the ICA erred (1) in ruling that there is no “nexus” between drugs and robbery; and (2) in applying a “substantial evidence” standard instead of a “prima facie” standard.

        This court also ordered supplemental briefing on the following:  (1) whether the circuit court abused its discretion in entering default against Irene; (2) whether the circuit court abused its discretion in not setting aside the entry of default against Irene; and (3) whether the circuit court erred in sua sponte entering judgment against the movant in a liability hearing held pursuant to Hawai?i Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 55(b)(2).