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Statutes of Limitations (HAWAII)

Personal Injury - 2 yrs. [HRS § 657-7]

Wrongful Death - 2 yrs. (from date of death) [HRS §§ 657-7 663-3]

Med Mal - 2 yrs. from discovery, but no later than 6 yrs. form act/omission [HRS § 657-7.3]

Property Damage - 2 yrs. [HRS § 657-7]

Contracts (Written and Oral) - 6 yrs. [HRS § 657-1]

Contracts for Sale (goods) and Breach of Warranty - 4 yrs. (from tender of delivery) [HRS § 490:2-725]

Under “discovery rule,” cause of action does not “accrue,” and limitations period does not begin to run, until plaintiff knew or should have known of defendant’s negligence [Hays v. City & Cnty. of Honolulu, 917 P.2d 718 (Haw. 1996)]

Statutes of Repose (HAWAII)

Products - None.

Construction of Real Property - 10 yrs. [HRS § 657-8]



Claims Against Public/Gov. Entities (NOTE: “sovereign immunity” rules may apply) (HAWAII)

Against State - Suit within 2 yrs. [HRS § 662-4]

Against County - Notice within 2-yrs. [HRS § 46-72]

Against Municipalities - Most likely same as for counties [see Kahale v. City and County of Honolulu, 90 P.3d 233 (Haw. 2004)], although some uncertainty exists because prior version of HRS § 46-72 was found unconstitutional.

Comparative Negligence (HAWAII)

Modified Comparative (damages are diminished in proportion to Plaintiff’s fault, but Plaintiff cannot recover if he is 51% at fault) [HRS § 663-31].  Pure comparative in strict liability actions [Armstrong v. Cione, 738 P.2d 79 (Haw. 1987)]



Made Whole Doctrine (MWD) (HAWAII)

Application of MWD in the traditional subrogation context is unknown.  While principles of equity may apply to a payment made pursuant to a contract, any subrogation terms written into that contract will govern [State Farm Fire and Cas. Co. v. Pacific Rent-All, Inc., 978 P.2d 753 (Haw. 1999)].  

Economic Loss Doctrine (ELD) (Assuming No Injury to Person or Damage to “Other Property”) (HAWAII)


ELD bars claims for relief based on products liability or negligent design and/or manufacture theory for economic loss stemming from injury only to product itself [State by Bronster v. U.S. Steel Corp., 919 P.2d 294 (Haw. 1996)]. Tort action against a design professional for negligent misrepresentation alleging purely economic damages is not available to party in privity of contract with the design professional [City Exp., Inc. v. Express Partners, 959 P.2d 836 (Haw. 1998)].  Economic recovery in negligence is barred even where there was no privity of contract, when allowing such recovery would blur the distinction between contract and tort law [Apartment Owners of Newtown Meadows ex rel. its Bd. of Directors v. Venture 15, Inc., 167 P.3d 225 (Haw. 2007)]

However, ELD did not bar a negligent misrepresentation claim asserted by State against manufacturer of steel used in construction of a sports stadium based on Defendant’s representations regarding certain properties of the steel; it was found that State asserted claim stemming from failure to exercise reasonable care/competence in communicating information regarding the use of steel [State by Bronster v. U.S. Steel Corp., 919 P.2d 294 (Haw. 1996)].  Also, ELD did not bar homeowner’s negligence claim against a builder where the builder has violated an applicable building code [Apartment Owners of Newtown Meadows ex rel. its Bd. of Directors v. Venture 15, Inc., 167 P.3d 225 (Haw. 2007)]

Certificate/Affidavit Of Merit Requirements (Claims Against Licensed Professionals) (HAWAII)

Any person claiming that a tort has been committed by a design professional must submit a statement of the claim to the design claim conciliation panel before a suit based on the claim may be commenced  [HRS § 672B-5] 

Landlord/Tenant Subrogation (HAWAII)

No law available.

Reimbursement of Deductible(s) (HAWAII)

No law available (except for UM/UIM cases).

With respect to UM/UIM cases, Insured must be reimbursed as follows: (1) recovered amount must be divided equally between Insured and Insurer; (2) reimbursement amount must not exceed the deductible; (3) if the amount of damages exceeds $2,500, Insurer must either pay the full deducible amount or initiate proceedings against the uninsured motorist to recover damages [HRS § 431:10C-305.5].





MedPay and PIP (HAWAII)

MedPay and PIP - No subrogation allowed and/or no such coverage available.

At the same time, a Minnesota Court, in an unpublished opinion applying law of Hawaii, indicated that PIP subrogation has not been abrogated. 

Also, limited reimbursement (but not subrogation) is allowed.  Whenever any person recovers amounts which duplicates paid PIP, the auto Insurer must be reimbursed 50% of the paid PIP [HRS § 431:10C-307]. 

Liability of Parents (HAWAII)

Unlimited liability.  Negligence or misconduct of a minor driver is imputed to the person who signed the permit/license application [HRS § 286-112].  Parents are jointly and severally liable with their children for tortious acts committed by the children [HRS § 577-3].  Parents are jointly and severally liable with their child for graffiti damage caused by the minor [HRS § 577-3.5].

Joint Liability (HAWAII)

Several liability (Plaintiff can recover from each Defendant only that Defendant’s share of the fault), with many important exception.  Some of the exceptions (joint and several liability applies): (1) recovery of economic damages in actions involving personal injury or death; (2) recovery of economic and noneconomic damages in actions involving intentional torts, environmental torts, strict liability torts, and most motor vehicle accidents; (3) recovery of noneconomic damages in actions involving personal injury or death against Defendants who are 25% or more at fault. [HRS § 663-10.9].

Independent Cause of Action for Intentional or Negligent Evidence Spoliation (HAWAII)

Not addressed/recognized.  The HI Supreme Court has refused to resolve whether Hawaii law would recognize a tort of spoliation (at least under the facts of that particular case) [Matsuura v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., 73 P.3d 687 (Haw. 2003)].


Conflicts of Law (HAWAII)

Torts - Courts are not obliged to apply Hawaii law if the pertinent conflict of laws analysis indicates that resort to the law of another state with an interest in the suit would best serve interest of the state and persons involved [Peters v. Peters, 634 P.2d 586 (Haw. 1981)].  Contracts - Hawaii will decide which state has the strongest interest in seeing its law applied; there is a presumption that Hawaii law applies unless another state’s law would best serve interests of the states and persons involved. [UARCO Inc. v. Lam, 18 F.Supp.2d 1116 (D. Haw. 1998)]



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