Hawaii Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

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January 16, 2009

With the rise of foreign corporations, the location of the deposition of a witness from a foreign corporation occasionally becomes an issue. The general local rule in Hawaii is that the deposition is conducted where the witness is located. Foreign corporations will almost always oppose travelling to Hawaii for deposition testing. However, Hawaii attorneys should not always concede this issue. There is a substantial body of law, concerning the site of depositions of foreign corporations. With respect to this issue, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 30 (b)(6) provides as follows:

A party may in the party’s notice and in a...

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January 09, 2009

This blog will discuss (i) whether the seller of a home has a duty to disclose material facts regarding the property to a buyer and (ii) whether the realtor and/or seller of a home has a duty to disclose material facts regarding the property to a buyer. The short answer is that a seller has an absolute duty to disclose material facts to the buyer. Although this obligation is usually handled by the seller in the disclosure statement, the legal obligation arises from the common law and a variety of statutes.

For example, pursuant to HRS section 508, a seller (or an agent of a seller, ie. real estate agent) may be found liable for...

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January 06, 2009

An attorney may not represent a client against a former client in the “same or a substantially similar matter.” The Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct (“HRCP”) Rule 1.9(a) Conflict of Interest: Former Client provides as follows:

A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter represent another person in the same or a substantially related matter in which that person’s interest are materially adverse to the interests of the former client unless the former client consents after consultation.

Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct 1.9(a)(emphasis added).

Pursuant to HRCP Rule 1.10(a)...

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January 02, 2009

In my previous blog I discussed whether, under Hawaii law, a homeowner must pay for services provided by an unlicensed contractor. This blog will consider whether a subsequent procurement of a Hawaii license by a previously unlicensed contractor can validate a contract that was agreed upon while the contractor was still unlicensed.

It is my opinion that a subsequent procurement of a license by an unlicensed contractor will not validate a previously illegal contract. I will explain. In Hawaii, a contract made with an unlicensed contractor is, as a matter of law, an illegal contract since it is in violation of HRS chapter 444....

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December 23, 2008

We are occasionally asked whether an unlicensed contractor is entitled to collect compensation for work provided to a contracting party. A corollary of this issue is whether the monies already paid to the contractor must be refunded to the contracting party.

HRS 444-9 requires that no person shall “act or assume to act, or advertise” as a contractor (under the definition contained in HRS 444-1) without a license previously obtained by the licensing board. Further, HRS chapter 444 imposes penalties for violation of this statute, including but not limited to HRS 444-22. HRS 444-22 provides that:

The failure of any person to...

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December 12, 2008

There are certain things that I tell witnesses to remember when testifying in a deposition.

1. The Witness’s testimony is under oath. Therefore, the Witness is subject to the penalty of perjury if she is untruthful. An example that most witnesses understand is when I remind them that former President Clinton’s impeachment was not for his sexual improprieties, but for his untruthfulness in his testimony under oath about those improprieties.

2. The deposition will be used to preserve trial testimony. In Hawaii, the deposition testimony of a party may be admitted into evidence even if the party appears at trial. Thus, the...

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December 10, 2008

In general, an employer may be held liable for the conduct of an employee acting within the scope of his or her employment. US v Hilton Hotels Corp., 467 F.2d 1000, 1004-1007 (C.A.9, 1972) See also Lucas v Liggett & Meyers Tobacco Co., 50 Hawaii 506, 480 (Hawaii, 1968)(A principal who puts a servant or other agent is a position which enables the agent, while apparently acting within his authority, to commit a fraud upon third persons is subject to liability to such third persons for the fraud.) Indeed, in certain cases a corporation may even be held responsible even if the acts of its employee or agent were done contrary to the...

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December 05, 2008

A lawyer owes his client basic duties and obligations. Although there are literally volumes written on this subject, there are certain Hawaii rules which are most basic. These include the duties (i) to keep the client informed, and (ii) of loyalty.

More specifically, Rule 1.4 of the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct (“HRPC”) provides as follows:

(a) A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. A lawyer who receives a written offer of settlement in a civil controversy or a proffered plea bargain in a criminal case shall promptly...

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December 02, 2008

Depositions are an essential aspect of civil litigation. Hawaii rules provide for many devices to obtain discovery. Depositions are one of the most effective. Specifically, H.R.S. Rule 26(a)- General Provisions Governing Discovery provides as follows:

(a) Discovery Methods. Parties may obtain discovery by one or more of the following methods: depositions upon oral examination or written questions; written interrogatories; production of documents or things or permission to enter upon land or other property, for inspection and other purposes; physical and mental examinations; and requests for admission.

H.R.S. Rule 26(a)

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November 26, 2008

This is our eleventh Thanksgiving in business. Two years ago I wrote a Thanksgiving blog listing the “Things for Which I am Thankful”. Since this is the traditional season to give thanks, I thought it would try to expound on the things for which I am thankful.

1. I am thankful to all of my clients who have trusted me with their cases. I realize that when you select my office, usually to litigate against much larger law firms, it is because you have faith in me. I am always humbled by that trust. Clients have many options available to them and there are many fine lawyers in Hawaii. I am thankful to those many clients who have...

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