On August 11, 2014, the HAWSCT accepted cert in Norman Samson et al. v. Nola Ann Nahulu, SWCW-10-0000102, a case involving the issues of the admissibilty of evidence and jury instructions.
The underlying case involved an automobile accident in which Nahulu’s SUV struck the Samson’s 14-year-old daughter, a pedestrian, as she crossed Farrington Highway. During trial, among other issues, the parties disputed whether the daughter was in a crosswalk at the time of the accident, and whether Nahulu was speeding. A jury ruled in favor of Nahulu. On appeal, the Samsons argued that the circuit court erred in refusing to admit certain photographic evidence and testimony and in giving erroneous jury instructions. The ICA affirmed the judgment.
On cert, the Samsons argue (1) the ICA erred in precluding eyewitness testimony that Nahulu was travelling at an unsafe speed, (2) “the ICA ignored the rule that erroneous instructions are presumptively harmful, and (2) the jury instructions were improper because they gave the jury the impression that their daughter was unable to recover under negligence if she violated traffic rules. As to the exclude of evidence, the Samsons’ cert application asks the HAWSCT to provide guidance on the standards for when the exclusion of probative evidence is harmless. In addition to arguing that the disputed jury instruction was “vague and grammatically incorrect,” the Samsons argue that the instruction improperly placed the burden on them to show injury from a presumptively harmful instruction.
The court will hear oral arguments in the case.
The HAWSCT order accepting cert is available here.
The ICA’s memorandum opinion is available here.
The cert application is available here.
The response in opposition to cert is available here.
The reply in support of cert is available here.