Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Hawaii

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This appeal arose from a judicial decree of foreclosure granted in favor of U.S. Bank N.A. (Plaintiff) and against Joseph and Chanelle Meneses (Defendants). The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirmed the judgment of the circuit court, concluding that the circuit court properly granted Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and decree of foreclosure. Defendants appealed, arguing that Plaintiff lacked standing to foreclose. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment on appeal and the circuit court’s order granting Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and decree of foreclosure, holding (1) there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC had the authority to sign a second assignment of mortgage to Plaintiff; and (2) in the judicial foreclosure context, a third party unrelated to a mortgage securitization pooling and servicing agreement lacks standing to enforce an alleged violation of its terms unless the violation renders the mortgage assignment void, rather than voidable. View "U.S. Bank N.A. v. Mattos" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Attorney alleging that Attorney failed properly to advertise and conduct non-judicial foreclosure sales of their properties in violation of duties under Plaintiffs’ mortgages, statutory law, common law, and the consumer protection statute. The circuit court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that dismissal was appropriate where (1) the statutory requirements of former Haw. Rev. Stat. 667-5 and 776-7 do not give rise to a private right of action against a foreclosing mortgagee’s attorney; and (2) an unfair or deceptive acts or practices acts or practices claim against Attorney as the foreclosing mortgagee’s attorney was not recognized. View "Sigwart v. Office of David B. Rosen" on Justia Law

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Court had discretion to permit government-condemnor to withdraw a portion of deposit of estimated just compensation. Three parcels of privately-owned property were condemned for a public park. In the owner’s appeal, the Supreme Court of Hawaii held that the presence or lack of physical unity is not dispositive of whether a condemnee is entitled to severance damages. A deposit of estimated just compensation does not become conditional, and blight of summons damages do not begin to accrue, when a condemning authority objects to a condemnee’s motion to withdraw funds based on the fact that the condemnee’s entitlement to such funds is unclear. The court in an eminent domain proceeding has discretion to permit a governmental entity to withdraw a portion of a deposit of estimated just compensation when the deposit has not been disbursed to the landowner, the government acted in good faith in seeking to adjust the estimate to accurately reflect the value of the property on the date of the summons, and the adjustment will not impair the substantial rights of any party in interest. View "County of Kauai v. Hanalei River Holdings Limited" on Justia Law

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Bank of America, N.A. filed a complaint seeking to foreclose on Homeowner’s property. Homeowner asserted numerous defenses, including that the Bank was not the lawful holder of the note and mortgage and therefore was not entitled to foreclosure. Homeowner also asserted four counterclaims. The circuit court granted Bank of America’s motion to dismiss Homeowner’s counterclaims. Thereafter, the court granted Bank of America’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the Bank was the “current holder” of the note and mortgage and was therefore entitled to foreclosure of the mortgage and sale of the property. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment on appeal and vacated the circuit court’s judgment to the extent it granted summary judgment to Bank of America, holding (1) the circuit court erred in granting Bank of America’s motion for summary judgment; and (2) the ICA erred in determining that it did not have jurisdiction over the circuit court’s order granting the Bank’s motion to dismiss Homeowner’s counterclaims. Because the ICA did not reach the merits of Homeowner’s appeal with respect to the dismissal of her counterclaims, the case must be remanded to address the merits of Homeowner’s appeal of the dismissal of her counterclaims. View "Bank of America, N.A. v. Reyes-Toledo" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was a non-judicial foreclosure conducted pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. Chapter 667 Part I, which was repealed by the legislature by Act 182. Russell Hungate, the property owner, filed a complaint and first amended complaint alleging that Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (Deutsche Bank) and David B. Rosen and his law office (collectively, Rosen), the attorney hired by Deutsche Bank to conduct the foreclosure of Hungate’s property, violated statutory, contractual, and common law duties and committed unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The circuit court granted Rosen’s motion to dismiss and then granted Deutsche Bank’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court vacated in part the circuit court’s orders, holding (1) the circuit court erred in dismissing the majority to Hungate’s claims alleging Haw. Rev. Stat. Chapter 667 Part I violations against Deutsche Bank; (2) Duetsche Bank must use reasonable means to obtain the best price for a foreclosed property; and (3) the circuit court erred in dismissing Hungate’s unfair or deceptive acts or practices claim against Deutsche Bank, but property dismissed Hungate’s claim against Rosen. View "Hungate v. Rosen" on Justia Law

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The Association of Apartment Owners (the AOAO) filed a notice of default and intention to foreclose a unit of the Century Center condominiums. The AOAO purchased the property at a nonjudicial foreclosure sale and then filed a complaint for summary possession against Respondents. Respondents filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the district court lacked jurisdiction under Haw. Rev. Stat. 604-5(d), which provides that the district court “shall not have cognizance of…actions in which the title to real estate comes in question.” The district court denied the motion and, after a hearing, filed a judgment for possession and a writ of possession in favor of the AOAO. Respondents appealed, arguing that because they established that title over the property was in question, the district court erred in exercising jurisdiction over the case. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) agreed, vacated the district court’s judgment, and remanded with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Respondents’ affidavit asserting claim of title satisfied District Court Rules of Civil Procedure 12.1 and that the ICA did not err in considering as part of its analysis the quitclaim deed attached to the AOAO’s complaint. View "Association of Apartment Owners of Century Center, Inc. v. An" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was a nonjudicial foreclosure on real property conducted pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. 667-5. The circuit court entered final judgment in favor of the Mounts, the purchasers of the real property through the nonjudicial foreclosure sale, and U.S. Bank National Association. The final judgment was entered against the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. The circuit court ruled that a nonjudicial foreclosure conducted pursuant to section 667-5 is exempt from the time limits for presentation of claims against a decedent’s estate and that U.S. Bank did not violate section 667-5(c)(1) by failing to provide former co-personal representative Sesha Lovelace with information she requested regarding the required funds to reinstate the loan (“reinstatement figures”). The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s final judgment, holding (1) a nonjudicial foreclosure conducted pursuant to section 667-5 is not exempt from the time limits under Haw. Rev. Stat. 560:3-803 for presentation of claims against a decedent’s estate; and (2) the nonjudicial foreclosure was conducted in violation of section 667-5(c)(1) when U.S. Bank failed to provide Lovelace with loan reinstatement figures, and this failure rendered the nonjudicial foreclosure sale voidable at the Estate’s election unless the Mounts were innocent purchasers for value. Remanded. View "Mount v. Apao" on Justia Law

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This case arose out of a dispute over title to a parcel of land in Oahu. The ownership interests of Lesieli Teisina (Lesieli) and Peni Teisina (Peni), who held estates in common, were challenged by a co-owner of the property, Hovey Lambert, as the statutory period for adverse possession was ending. Lambert named Lesieli and other defendants but failed to name Peni. Lesieli and Peni, who later moved to intervene, asserted adverse possession as an affirmative defense. The circuit court concluded that Peni had no interest in the parcel and that Lesieli had only a minute interest in the parcel, thus implicitly rejecting the Teisinas’ adverse possession defense. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirmed the circuit court’s denial of the Teisinas’ affirmative defense of adverse possession. The Supreme Court vacated in part, holding that the ICA erred in affirming that portion of the circuit court order that implicitly rejected Peni’s adverse possession defense, as (1) the facts of this case satisfy the evidentiary burden on summary judgment of demonstrating compliance with the good faith requirement required in cases involving adverse possession against cotenants; and (2) the statutory period for adverse possession tolls for a named party to the litigation but continues to accrue for unnamed claimants. View "Lambert v. Waha " on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, Clarence Furuya and Lona Furuya, filed the underlying suit against Association of Apartment Owners of Pacific Monarch, Inc. (AOAO) raising issues related to their interests in an apartment unit located at the Pacific Monarch Condominium (Pacific Monarch) and 106 parking stalls appurtenant to the unit. The circuit court concluded that there was no enforceable contract between AOAO and the Furuyas for the purchase of the leased fee interests associated with the unit and the parking stalls. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) ultimately affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Furuyas failed to demonstrate error in the circuit court’s decision; and (2) the circuit court did not err in rejecting the Furuyas’ related claims for injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and ultra vires act. View "Furuya v. Ass’n of Apartment Owners of Pacific Monarch, Inc." on Justia Law

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Lloyd Anastasi loaned $2.4 million to a third party in exchange for a mortgage on a property supposedly owned by that third party. Fidelity Insurance Company insured that the third party had good title, but the warranty deed purporting to give title to the third party was forged. Anastasi was sued by the owners of the property, and Fidelity accepted tender of the claim under a reservation of rights. Anastasi later filed a bad faith and breach of contract claim against Fidelity, alleging that the lawsuit was used by Fidelity to delay paying him under the title insurance policy. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Fidelity. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) remanded in part and vacated in part. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the ICA’s judgment insofar as it remanded to the circuit court an order allowing Fidelity to withhold certain documents that Anastasi requested during discovery under the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine; and (2) vacated the ICA’s judgment insofar it it concluded that Anastasi failed to show any genuine issue of material fact that Fidelity acted in bad faith. View "Anastasi v. Fidelity Nat’l Title Ins. Co." on Justia Law