On August 20, 2013, the ICA issue an opinion in Karen Ryan v. Terrence D. Palmer et al., CAAP-12-0000697, in which Ryan’s case was dismissed with prejudice for the failure to file a pretrial statement after the case had been admitted to the Court Annexed Arbitration Program (CAAP).
As a preliminary matter, the court held that case law interpreting dismissals under Hawaii Rules of Civil Procedure 41(b)(2) applies to dismissals under Hawaii Circuit Court Rule 12(q). In doing so, the court disagreed with the defendants that because 12(q) is a separate and distinct rule, the case law did not apply. Application of the 41(b)(2) case law is important because the cases state that dismissal under the rule is a “severe sanction” that should only be allowed as a “last resort” and only for “deliberate delay, contumacious conduct, or actual prejudice.” Slip. Op. at 4.
The court then held that the dismissal was improper because the Plaintiff “was not dilatory in any respect other than the failure to file a pretrial statement.” Id. at 7. Rather, the Plaintiff had actively engaged in the case, including when the case was referred to CAAP. The court also concluded that the absence of actual prejudice to the Defendants weighed in favor of not dismissing the case.
The court’s full opinion (authored by Judge Foley and joined by Chief Judge Nakamura and Judge Ginoza) is available here.