Hawaii Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

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November 21, 2008

In Hawaii, architect liability is generally limited to that which is recoverable by contract. Id. This is called the “economic loss rule”. Id. In City Exp. Inc v Express Partners, 87 Hawaii 466, 469 (1998) the Hawaii Supreme Court discussed this rule as follows:

In the context of construction litigation, where a party is in privity of contract with a design professional, economic loss damages are limited to contractual remedies, and a [tort] negligence action may not be maintained.

Id .

The Hawaii Supreme Court defined economic loss as “those that pertain solely to the costs relating to the operation and value of the...

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November 18, 2008

The general rule regarding landlord liability is that a landlord “is not liable to his lessee or to others on the land for physical harm caused by any dangerous condition, whether natural or artificial, which existed when the lessee took possession.” Restatement (Second) Torts 356.

Although it certainly appears from the plain language of this rule that a lessee or tenant may not have a case against their landlord if they are injured on rental property, there are exceptions to this rule.

Restatement (Second) Torts 358 is such an exception and provides as follows:

A lessor of land, who conceals or fails to disclose to...

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November 14, 2008

We are frequently asked whether we handle criminal cases. We do not. Allow me to explain. There are two types of cases, criminal and civil. It is important to understand this distinction especially when searching for the right attorney to handle your case.

A criminal case is when someone is charged with a crime- either a felony or a misdemeanor. If you are charged with a crime, the government must prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

Civil litigation usually involves claims for financial damages or to enforce rights. Although the government may be a party in a lawsuit, civil cases typically involve private individuals or...

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October 10, 2008

As November 4th approaches, the issues in this election become more defined. Although the candidates and media seem focused on the economy, it should not be forgotten that our next President will be responsible for the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. Indeed, a President Obama or President McCain could, in fact, appoint three out of the nine Justices. In a recent article on CNN.com, Bill Mears, wrote as follows:

Many court watchers think any vacancy in the high court over the next four years would probably involve three left-leaning justices. John Paul Stevens is 88, but appears to be in good health, and court sources say he...

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October 03, 2008

Our office was recently granted partial summary judgment by the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (Hawaii Federal Court) in a case involving the Hawaii Uniform Land Sales Practices Act.

Specifically, the Hawaii Land Sales Practices Act provides that “no person may offer or dispose of any interest in subdivided lands located in this State, or offer or dispose in this State of any interest in subdivided lands located without this State before a preliminary or final order registering the subdivided land is entered in accordance with the chapter.” H.R.S. 484-4. The registration requirements are very detailed and...

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September 05, 2008

In our September 3, 2008 entry we discussed the duties owed by a landlord to a tenant under Hawaii Law. A tenant owes certain duties to her landlord as well. A landlord is not responsible for repairing all defective conditions on the premises. Under Hawaii Law, a tenant is responsible for maintaining the premises. H.R.S 521-51 provides as follows:

Each tenant shall at all times during the tenancy:

(1) Comply with all applicable building and housing laws materially affecting health and safety;
(2) Keep that part of the premises which the tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the conditions of the premises permit...

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September 03, 2008

The Residential Landlord-Tenant Code, Chapter 521, is the governing law in Hawaii for the Landlord-Tenant relationship (and found in Hawaii Revised Statutes (H.R.S.) 521). H.R.S. 521-8 defines “Landlord” as “the owner, lessor, sublessor, assigns or successors in interest of the dwelling unit…”. H.R.S. 521-8. “Tenant” is “any person who occupies a dwelling unit for dwelling purposes under a rental agreement.” Id.

A landlord owes certain legal obligations to its tenant(s). First, the “landlord shall, at the beginning of the term, deliver possession of the dwelling unit to the tenant…” H.R.S. 521-41. Further legal obligations include...

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August 26, 2008

I am proud to announce that on September 6th and 7th I will be participating in the “Celebrities and Their Pets Fashion Show”. It will be held during the Sixth Annual Hawaii Woman Expo at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. My West Highland Terrier “Mike” and I will be “strutting our stuff” on the “dog walk” at 12:30 p.m. on September 6th and 7th. Mike will be modeling a fashion by designer Monica Shigenaga, owner of Cocojor (Cocojor.com), a pet friendly company that features authentic Hawaiian wear for dogs of all sizes.

My participation in this fashion show is to support the fine efforts of the...

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August 04, 2008

The Court issues a temporary restraining order when a witness swears under oath that “a past act or acts of harassment may have occurred, or that threats of harassment make it probable that acts of harassment may be imminent.” Hawaii Revised Statutes (“H.R.S.”) 604-10.5(d). When swearing out the complaint the Court accepts the complainant’s allegations as true. Unfortunately, this can lead to abuse since the complainant can obtain the temporary restraining order (“TRO”) even if they will eventually be unable to meet the legal standard. Under Hawaii law, to obtain a restraining order, the complainant must demonstrate that he has been the...

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July 29, 2008

In certain specific cases, a Plaintiff may bring a claim if someone has interfered with a prospective business advantage. The Hawaii Supreme Court has addressed the required elements of this tort in Hawaii as:

[T]he following elements have evolved into the tort of intentional or tortious interference with prospective business advantage: (1) the existence of a valid business relationship or a prospective advantage or expectancy sufficiently definite, specific, and capable of acceptance in the sense that there is a reasonable probability of it maturing into a future economic benefit to the plaintiff; (2) knowledge of the relationship...

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