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Oral Argument Before the Intermediate Court of Appeals–No. CAAP-21-0000517 (Consolidated with CAAP-21-0000513)

No. CAAP-21-0000517 (Consolidated with CAAP-21-0000513), Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 10 a.m.

EDMOND KRAFCHOW, KATHLEEN KRAFCHOW, Plaintiffs-Appellees, vs. DONGBU INSURANCE COMPANY, LTD., nka DB INSURANCE CO., LTD., JOHN MULLEN & CO., INC., Defendants-Appellants, and John Does 1-10, Jane Does 1-10, Doe Entities 1-10, Defendants.

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

The oral argument will be held remotely and will be livestreamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/hawaiicourts and Olelo Community Television.

Attorneys for Defendants-Appellants Dongbu Insurance Company, nka DB Insurance Co., Ltd., and John Mullen & Co., Inc.:

Wesley H.H. Ching, and Nadine Y. Ando

Attorneys for Plaintiffs-Appellees Edmond Krafchow and Kathleen Krafchow:

Thomas C. Zizzi, and Peter N. Martin

NOTE: Order granting motion to continue oral argument from 11/9/22 to 12/7/22 at 10:00 a.m., filed 10/12/22.

NOTE: Order granting motion to continue oral argument from 12/7/22 to 1/11/23 at 10:00 a.m., filed 10/24/22.

COURT: Ginoza, C.J., Hiraoka, and Wadsworth, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format]

Brief Description:

Plaintiffs-Appellees Edmund Krafchow and Kathleen Krafchow (collectively, the Krafchows) owned three structures damaged by a wildfire. They made first-party claims under three insurance policies issued by Defendant-Appellant Dongbu Insurance Co., Ltd. The Krafchows and Dongbu did not agree on the amount of loss. As provided by the insurance policies, each side chose an appraiser, and the circuit court chose an umpire. The appraisers were to separately set the amount of loss. If the appraisers did not agree, the umpire was to agree with one or the other to set the amount of loss.

Three awards were issued. Each was signed by the appraiser chosen by the Krafchows and by the umpire. Each established values for various categories of loss, reduced the amount by a deductible, and stated: “This award shall be payable within 20 calendar days.”

The Krafchows moved to confirm the awards under HRS § 658A-22. Dongbu moved to vacate the awards under HRS § 658A-22. The circuit court granted the Krafchows’ motion and denied Dongbu’s motion.

On appeal, Dongbu argues that the circuit court erred because the appraiser chosen by the Krafchows and the umpire exceeded their powers by determining whether the insurance policies covered certain claimed losses — an issue Dongbu contends is to be decided by the circuit court.

The Krafchows make two arguments. First, they contend that their appraiser and the umpire had the power to make coverage determinations. Second, they contend that any errors made by their arbitrator and the umpire were mistakes in their findings and in the application of law, which do not constitute grounds to vacate the awards.