On January 16, 2013, the Hawaii Supreme Court accepted cert in NST Holdings Corp. v. Alres, Inc., Nautilus Ins. Co., and Gary DiFalco/NST Holdings Corp. v. Alres Inc., Island Ins. Co., and Gar DiFalco, SCWC-28917, consolidated appeals related to the issue of an insurance obligation to defend or indemnify in an employment-related action.
The circuit court held that the insured breached a workforce agreement when it refused to indemnify its insurer after an employee discrimination case was settled. In a memorandum opinion (Judges Foley, Fujise, and Reifurth), the ICA reversed concluding that the circuit court misinterpreted the workforce agreement because there was no duty to indemnify under the agreement.
On cert, Altres argues that the ICA erred because the court did not have jurisdiction over the appeal and in interpreting the parties’ contract. On the question of appellate jurisdiction, Altres argues that the appeal deadline began to run from an original final judgment rather than the later amended judgment from which the appeal was taken. On the issue of the interpretation of the workforce agreement, Altres argued that the ICA failed to consider the agreement as a whole as required by general rules of contract interpretation. According to Altres, when read as a whole, there was a duty to indemnify.
There are two recusals/assignments in the appeal: Honorable Virginia L. Crandall and Honorable Dexter D. Del Rosario, have been assigned to sit for McKenna, J. and Pollack, J. recused.
The HAWSCT’s order accepting cert is available here.
The ICA’s memorandum opinion is available here.
Altres’s cert application is available here.
NST’s response is available here.
Altres’s reply is available here.