On March 27, 2014, the HAWSCT accepted cert in Kaupulehu Land LLC v. Heirs and Assigns of Pahukula, et al., SCWC-30475, involving the issue of whether summary judgment was properly granted in a case concerting a party’s interest in property it claimed it acquired through adverse possession.
In the underlying case, Kaupulehu filed suit to quiet title to property located on the Big Island arguing either (1) that it had acquired a full interest in the property through adverse possession, or (2) that it had a 50% interest in the property because it had been sold the interest. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Kaupulehu finding that it owned a 100% interest in the property. The ICA reversed the summary judgment. The ICA held, in part, that Kaupulehu was not entitled to summary judgment based on adverse possession because there were gaps in the chain of title. According to the ICA, “the lack of a recording from [the deceased’s] pre-death conveyance, together with the recorded conveyances of interest in the Property by [his] heirs, are genuine issues of material fact” that precluded summary judgment. Slip. Op. at 8.
On cert, Kaupulehu argues that the ICA’s decision to reverse summary judgment was premised on its incorrect determination that the Heirs did not have an interest in the property since the Heirs had, in fact, received an interest through intestate succession. According to Kaupulehu, the undisputed evidence showed that the deceased had disposed of his entire interest to the property before he died. Thus, because the property was not part of the deceased estate, the ICA could not later determine that genuine issues of material fact precluded summary judgment. Kaupulehu also argues that it acquired a 100% interest in the property through adverse possession.
Circuit Judge Richard K. Perkins has been assigned to sit for Justice Acoba (who recused himself prior to his retirement).
The HAWSCT’s order accepting cert is available here.
The ICA’s memorandum opinion is available here.
The cert app is available here.
The opposition to cert is available here.