On January 28, 2013, the HAWSCT accepted cert in County of Hawaii v. Unidev, LLC, SCWC-10-0000188, an important case concerning the application of the collateral order doctrine to appeals from orders compelling arbitration.
The underlying case involves an agreement between Unidev and the County for the construction of an affordable housing project in Waikoloa on the Big Island. The appeal involves two consolidate appeals, one in which Unidev appealed from the circuit court’s order expunging lis pendens and the other filed by the County from the circuit court’s order compelling arbitration. In a published opinion authored by Judge Ginoza (joined by Judges Foley and Reifurth), the ICA affirmed the expungement order and reversed the order compelling arbitration.
On cert, Unidev argues that the ICA erred in exercising jurisdiction over an appeal of an order compelling arbitration under the “collateral order doctrine.” According to Unidev, such jurisdiction is no longer available since the adoption of the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act (RUAA). According to Unidev, the HAWSCT’s decision in Association of Owners of Kukui Plaza v. Swinerton & Walberg Co., 68 Haw. 98, 705 P. 2d 28 (1985), which allowed such appeals, was nullified by the adoption of RUAA. Unidev also argues that the ICA erred in its overly narrow interpretation of the parties’ arbitration agreement.
The County of Hawaii counters that Unidev previously conceded that Hawaii law permits an appeal from orders compelling arbitration, and that the HAWSCT has already ruled that such orders are appealable post-RUAA.
Oral arguments will be heard on February 21, 2013 at 11:00 AM.
The HAWSCT’s order accepting cert is available here.
The ICA’s Opinion is available here.
Unidev’s cert application is available here.
The County’s response is available here.
Unidev’s reply in support of cert is available here.