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Oral Argument Before the Intermediate Court of Appeals — CAAP-14-0000872

CAAP-14-0000872, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 9 a.m.

ELLEN KOHATSU and KELVIN KOHATSU, Plaintiffs-Appellants, vs. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, NELSON FUKUHARA, Defendants-Appellees, and JOHN DOES 1-10, JANE DOES 1-10, DOE CORPORATIONS 1-10, DOE PARTNERSHIPS 1-10, DOE JOINT VENTURES 1-10, and DOE GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES 1-10, Inclusive, Defendants.

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 Plaintiffs-Appellants:

David L. Fairbanks, Bert S. Sakuda, Patrick F. McTernan, and Brian T. Toma of Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina & Fairbanks

Attorneys for Defendants-Appellees:

Richard B. Miller and David R. Harada-Stone of Tom Petrus & Miller, LLLC

COURT: Nakamura, C.J., Fujise and Ginoza, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

The question in this case is the amount of Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage applicable under four automobile insurance policies issued by Defendant-Appellee State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company to Plaintiffs-Appellants Ellen Kohatsu and Kelvin Kohatsu. The Kohatsus appeal from a judgment entered by the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit in favor of State Farm based on summary judgment rulings.

The claim arises from an automobile accident involving Ellen Kohatsu. The Kohatsus contend each of their four policies provide $400,000 of stacked UIM coverage, and thus the stacked UIM coverage for all four policies amounts to $1.6 million. The Kohatsus also assert the policies provide coverage for any amount awarded in arbitration.

State Farm contends that each of the four policies provide $100,000 in UIM coverage, and thus the total stacked UIM coverage for all four policies amounts to $400,000. State Farm also disputes that an arbitration award extends the available UIM coverage beyond the $400,000.

The issues raised on appeal are: whether the policies are ambiguous as to the available stacked UIM benefits; whether the policies require payment of the amount awarded in arbitration; and whether genuine issues of material fact preclude summary judgment for State Farm.