Justia Class Action Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Hawaii
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The Supreme Court held that class action tolling applies to Haw. Rev. Stat. 46-72 and that a class action complaint may therefore satisfy the statue's notice requirement and that the availability of class action tolling turns on whether the class action provided the defendant notice of the subject matter and potential size of the litigation at issue.Plaintiff Hakim Ouansafi filed a putative class action lawsuit against the City and County of Honolulu alleging that Honolulu's failure to inspect and maintain its storm and drainage system caused him and other Honolulu residents to be injured by the April 2018 flood. Ouansafi then settled on an individual basis with Honolulu. The district court denied class certification, after which individuals affected by the 2018 flood brought twelve separate actions against Honolulu. At issue was whether the' suits were timely. The Supreme Court held that class action tolling applied to the individual suits because the Ouansafi complaint satisfied tolled the statute of limitations applicable to the individual suits. View "Coles v. City & County of Honolulu" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed this class action suit individually and on behalf of employees (and their dependent-beneficiaries) who began working for the State or its political subdivisions before July 1, 2003 and who had accrued or will accrue a right to post-retirement health benefits as a retiree a retiree’s dependent. Plaintiffs alleged that the State, the City and County of Honolulu, and the Counties of Kaua’i, Maui, and Hawai’i impaired Plaintiffs’ accrued retirement health benefits in violation of Haw. Const. art. XVI, 2. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed that the State and Counties violated their statutory rights under Haw. Rev. Stat. 87 by not providing retirees and their dependents with dental and medical benefits that were substantially equal to those provided to active workers and their dependents. After a lengthy procedural history, the Supreme Court held that Plaintiffs’ accrued retirement health benefits have been diminished or impaired in violation of article XVI, section 2. Remanded for further proceedings. View "Dannenberg v. State" on Justia Law

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This case involved dibromochloropropane, a powerful nematode worm killer, and the litigation was multi-jurisdictional. The circuit court granted partial summary judgment against Plaintiffs and in favor of Defendants on statute of limitations grounds. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) affirmed. At issue on certiorari was (1) whether the filing of a putative class action in another jurisdiction operated to toll the state of Hawaii’s statute of limitations, and (2) if so, at what point did such tolling end? The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment and remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings, holding (1) the filing of a putative class action in another jurisdiction does toll the statute of limitations in the state of Hawaii because such “cross-jurisdictional tolling” supports a purpose of class action litigations, which is to avoid a multiplicity of suits; (2) under the circumstances of this case, cross-jurisdictional tolling ended when the foreign jurisdiction issued a final judgment that unequivocally dismissed the putative class action; and (3) Plaintiffs’ complaint was timely filed within the applicable limitations period and, therefore, was not time-barred. View "Patrickson v. Dole Food Co." on Justia Law