Admiralty Law, also referred to as Maritime Law, covers areas including the transportation of passengers and cargo upon the sea, ship-owner liability, vessel liens, foreclosure of preferred ships mortgages and injuries to seamen. Jurisdiction over admiralty claims is vested in the Federal Admiralty Courts. In Hawaii, the Federal District Court for the District of Hawaii in Honolulu handles such claims.
Kona Law obtains State commercial and mooring permits for clients, defends boat owners against various seaman's and liability claims, and helps clients navigate the tricky waters of purchasing or selling commercial maritime companies.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is highly encouraged within and by Hawaii’s judicial system. By court rule, almost all tort and injury cases in Hawaii must go through the mandatory Court Annexed Arbitration Program prior to being set for trial in the Courts.
Arbitration often results in speedier and more cost-efficient resolution of disputes than proceeding through lengthy litigation in the overburdened State trial courts. Arbitration decisions and awards are virtually unassailable on appeal, except on very narrow grounds of bias and/or inappropriate conduct by the arbitrator.
The courts, and private parties, regularly appoint Kona Law to arbitrate matters ranging from tort/negligence cases to contract and construction claims.
Hawaii recognizes several forms of business entities and has well-established procedures to register businesses from other jurisdictions to operate in Hawaii. Hawaii has some unique considerations for business entities. For example, employees working more than twenty hours per week are entitled to employer funded health care insurance.
Under the current Administration, Hawaii has made business, tax, and entity filings much more accessible online, simplifying business management from multiple locations. However, the complexity of doing business in Hawaii can be considerable, so thoughtful planning with sound business counsel can minimize the time and expense involved.
Kona Law assists clients in forming business entities like Limited Liability Companies (LLC), Corporations, and Partnerships. Services include obtaining the necessary business licenses, Federal Employer Identification Numbers, tax clearances, and strategic business planning structured to meet our client’s individualized needs.
Kona Law maintains a solid reputation for success in commercial litigation before juries. Civil trials often involve thousands of documents and many witnesses; the key to a favorable outcome is effective advocacy at trial and meticulous preparation for the presentation of our client's case. Our civil jury trials--both defended and prosecuted--have ranged from contract and construction disputes to catastrophic injury and negligence claims.
Hawaii’s Court Rules generally follow the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence although there are notable and significant departures from that body of law. Each of the counties has its own judicial circuit and some local nuances but all circuits operate within the aegis of the Hawaii State Judiciary system and the powerful, independent, Hawaii Supreme Court.
As eloquently stated by Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo, the rules of civil procedure are full of "pitfalls for the unwary and angles for the shrewd."
Informal mediation attempts to establish a middle ground and reduce conflict between parties to a dispute. Hawaii law encourages alternative dispute resolution. Mediation proceedings are confidential and protected from disclosure if a matter remains unresolved and proceeds through the Court system for adjudication.
A skillful mediator pursues resolution to a dispute through effective communication, while objectively reducing emotion attached to a position adopted by one or more of the parties. In mediation, the parties--with or without attorney representation--can rely on the integrity and skill of a neutral mediator to explore creative and, sometimes unconventional, dispute resolution methods in an informal setting.
Kona Law provides informal and cost effective mediation services in an informal setting to parties wishing to explore an early resolution of disputes without resorting to more formal legal proceedings.
Real Estate Law
Hawaii is our youngest state, admitted to the union in 1959. Having its origins in the laws of a Kingdom, then as a U.S. Territory, Hawaii’s real property law is an area which continues to grow and be shaped by new legislative enactments and initiatives. Remnants still exist based upon the judicial and recording systems of the Kingdom. Real Property regulation, law, and litigation in Hawaii can differ greatly from the law of counterpart States on the Mainland.
We’re often asked to consider or take action on matters ranging from challenges to Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCR) in deeds or subdivision governing documentation, handling the conveyance of real property documentation, and litigating misrepresentation claims flowing from real estate purchase and sale transactions.
“Arbitration can often result in speedier and more cost efficient resolution of disputes than proceeding through lengthy litigation.”
“The complexity of doing business in Hawaii can be considerable, …thoughtful planning with sound business counsel can minimize the time and expense involved.”
“Real Property regulation, law and litigation in Hawaii can differ greatly from the law of counterpart States on the Mainland.”