News & Articles

Lawsuit Alleges Former Maui Police Officer Was ‘Kidnapped and Interrogated’

Maui police officer says he was questioned about surveillance video of former police chief hitting motorcycle at mall. Written by: LILA FUJIMOTO From: The Maui News WAILUKU — A lawsuit alleges a former Maui Police Department officer was “kidnapped and interrogated” by two police officers investigating the release of a surveillance video showing then-Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu backing his truck into a parked motorcycle, then driving away two years ago. The complaint was filed Nov. 4 in 2nd Circuit Court on behalf of Manuel Sorcy, now a Hawaii Police Department officer. He and a rookie officer...

Lawsuit Alleges Bad Behavior by Hilo Police

By JOHN BURNETT From: Hawaii Tribune-Herald A former Hilo businessman is suing the Hawaii Police Department and two of its officers, claiming he was wrongly arrested, his civil rights were violated, one of his firearms was stolen after a search of his home, and police tampered with his cellphone. Honolulu attorney Joseph Rosenbaum filed the civil lawsuit Wednesday in Hilo Circuit Court on behalf of 44-year-old Christopher Kagawa, who co-owned Infinity Concrete Pumping in Hilo for more than a decade. The suit seeks monetary damages, a judgment that Kagawa’s rights were violated and an...

Detective Alleges Retaliation For Criticizing HPD Inaction In Missing Baby Case

Maile Rego says HPD supervisors held her back from job opportunities, among other forms of retaliation. By Christina Jedra    / August 20, 2021  Reading time: 5 minutes.     After a baby was reported missing and presumed dead in February, Honolulu police officials failed to take proper action and retaliated against a detective who criticized the department’s response, according to a whistleblower lawsuit filed on Thursday. Maile Rego, a detective in the child and family violence detail, alleges in her complaint that HPD was required to issue a timely Maile Amber Alert when 18-month old...

Is DOH Epidemiologist Jennifer Smith Legally Protected As A Whistleblower?

Is DOH Epidemiologist Jennifer Smith Legally Protected As A Whistleblower? Putting a worker on paid leave soon after she blew the whistle can be enough to establish a case under Hawaii’s law. But legal elements can be hard to prove. By Stewart Yerton Honolulu Civil Beat The Department of Health’s decision to put on leave a staff case investigator who exposed flaws in the state’s COVID-19 contact tracing program that led to a program overhaul and the departure of the state health director is raising questions about retaliation. “Retaliating against a whistleblower sends a dangerously chilling...

FBI approached rail contractor workers, lawsuit says

By Kevin Dayton  Honolulu Star Advertiser The FBI has approached employees of a major rail contractor, and federal investigators also served a search warrant on the city to gather data such as emails in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation into rail, according to court records and city officials. City officials also report they have worked with federal investigators to resolve concerns about a grand jury subpoena served on the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation in February that sought written minutes from executive sessions by the board of directors. Those issues have...

Lawsuit Claims Hawaii Public Housing Security Guards Beat Up Residents

A lawsuit against the Hawaii Public Housing Authority details claims of assaults on residents of Kalihi Valley Homes allegedly at the hands of security guards working for the state housing agency. The alleged beatings include one where a security guard grabbed a male by the hair and threw him into a closed door for riding his bike. The lawsuit claims that the state’s public housing authority was negligent in multiple ways, including allowing security guards to keep their jobs despite the attacks. “The security guards at Kalihi Valley Homes have a pattern and practice of picking on, taunting...

Elizabeth Jubin Fujiwara Honored for Success in the Law

Afs. Fujiwara handles civil rights. employment discrimination and labor cases at Fujiwara & Rosenbaum HONOLULU, HAWAII, March 14, 2014. Elizabeth Jubin Fujiwara, Civil Rights and Employment Discrimination Attorney and Senior Partner of Fujiwara & Rosenbaum, LLLC, has just been selected for a Lawyer Monthly Women in Law 2014 award "in recognition of your work in the Labour and Employment sector." The candidates for this prestigious award are from across the globe. About the awards Following the success of their long established Legal Awards and Leading Lawyer 250 and in response to...

Hawaii Supreme Court rules vog can trigger workers’ comp

'It's very, very clear that all that is needed is some type of exacerbation,' said Honolulu labor attorney Elizabeth Jubin Fujiwara'   HONOLULU —The Labor Industrial Relations Appeals Board (LIRAB) is being forced to pay a workers' compensation claim to a former technology coordinator at Lahainaluna High School on Maui after a ruling Thursday by the Hawaii Supreme Court.   Click here to watch Andrew Pereira's story. In the unanimous 51-page decision, the high court said Lynedon Van Ness' claim was valid because "the slightest aggravation or acceleration of an injury by the...

Sexual harassment suit filed against DLNR

By JOHN BURNETT Tribune-Herald staff writer A former state parks employee on the Big Island has filed a sexual harassment and sex discrimination lawsuit against the Department of Land and Natural Resources and her former supervisor. The civil suit, seeking unspecified general and punitive damages plus back pay and employee benefits, was filed Monday in Honolulu Circuit Court by Honolulu attorney Elizabeth Jubin Fujiwara on behalf of Hailama-Ana Tromba of Kohala. According to the complaint, Clayton Oshiro, who was Tromba’s supervisor at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area between 2007-2009,...

Guard Sues Colleague and OCCC Over Alleged Sexual Harassment

By Chad Blair   A female prison guard accepted a social media "friend" request from a male colleague only to receive naked pictures of the man and a request for sex minutes later, according to a lawsuit filed in First Circuit Court in Honolulu Aug. 9. The lawsuit accuses Tahn Kakaio, an adult correctional officer at the Oahu Community Correctional Center, of sexual harassment and other charges, including sexual assault, over an eight-month period. It also blames the Department of Public Safety for not taking action to end the hostile work environment and for "negligent hiring." Joseph...

Police misconduct suit heads to federal court

By JOHN BURNETT Tribune-Herald staff writer A lawsuit alleging police used excessive force against a 25-year-old Mountain View man in the Hilo cellblock after a drunken driving arrest has been moved to federal court in Honolulu. The civil suit by John Tredre against the county and three police officers — Sgt. Darryel Tolentino and Officers Keith Nacis and Crystal Kekela — was filed Aug. 4 in Hilo Circuit Court. It was moved on Oct. 18 to U.S. District Court in Honolulu at the request of the county, according to Deputy Corporation Counsel Michael Udovic. “It’s our common practice in the...

Man sues officers over alleged beating

By JOHN BURNETT Tribune-Herald staff writer A 25-year-old Mountain View is suing the county and three police officers for a beating he alleges he received in the Hilo police cellblock after being arrested for drunken driving. Honolulu attorney Joseph Rosenbaum filed the lawsuit on Friday on behalf of John Tredre. The suit names Hilo Patrol Sgt. Darryel Tolentino and Officers Keith Nacis and Crystal Kekela, and seeks unspecified damages for alleged excessive force, abuse of authority, assault and battery and negligent infliction of emotional distress. A Feb. 20 letter to Tredre from Hawaii...

Tell Your Members of Congress to Stop “Sequestration”

Starting March 1, draconian federal budget cuts (a.k.a. "sequestration") are set to go into effect. These cuts mean that fewer low-income women and children will receive the supports they need from programs like Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant as well as education, family planning, job training programs, and more. And thousands of teachers, nurses, counselors and others who provide these services will lose their jobs. Many more programs that women and families depend on would be cut, including food safety inspections and research into life-saving medical treatments....

Guard’s lawsuit claims backlash for speaking up

A Maui Community Correctional Center jail guard has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the state Department of Public Safety, alleging retaliation when he made complaints that a jail sergeant used an inmate work crew to do landscaping for his private business. In the lawsuit filed in November in 1st Circuit Court in Honolulu, Hendricks Haupu alleges he was "overworked, reassigned and harassed" after his complaints to his supervisor, Sgt. Carl Duarte, that a crew of workline inmates was assigned to clean state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands property along a highway that Duarte's private...

Maui Prison Guard Accused Of Using Inmates For Private Landscaping Company

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs board of trustees has unanimously decided to transfer 90 days of vacation owed to former administrator Linda Colburn to the state Department of Health, where Colburn begins work this month. But Elizabeth Jubin Fujiwara, Colburn’s attorney, said Colburn wanted a cash payment for the 90 vacation days with any excess transferred to her new post. Fujiwara said she’ll write to the OHA board to seek liquidation of all vacation pay by July 11, or the agency may face another lawsuit. Colburn was fired June 9 and unsuccessfully sought a severance package from the board....

Colburn to contest decision on vacation pay

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs board of trustees has unanimously decided to transfer 90 days of vacation owed to former administrator Linda Colburn to the state Department of Health, where Colburn begins work this month. But Elizabeth Jubin Fujiwara, Colburn's attorney, said Colburn wanted a cash payment for the 90 vacation days with any excess transferred to her new post. Fujiwara said she'll write to the OHA board to seek liquidation of all vacation pay by July 11, or the agency may face another lawsuit. Colburn was fired June 9 and unsuccessfully sought a severance package from the board....

Queen’s doctor settle lawsuit

Mike Gordon Advertiser Staff Writer The Queen's Medical Center yesterday reached a $150,000 settlement with a former University of Hawai'i medical researcher who had claimed the hospital violated his civil rights. The settlement between the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Hawai'i's largest private hospital does not admit any wrongdoing on the part of the hospital but was done to avoid further court expenses, the commission said. Dr. Shyamal Premaratne, a legal resident of Sri Lanka who was never employed by Queen's, had told the commission that he was being discriminated...

Waianae man claims he was brutalized by Navy Police

KALAELOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Christopher Cordeiro said it was around 2 a.m. on June 29, 2009. He was leaving one of his favorite night fishing spots when a vehicle began aggressively tailgating him on Coral Sea Road in Kalaeloa. "It was terrible. It was like a nightmare. A living nightmare is what it was," he said. Cordeiro said when he reached Roosevelt Road and pulled over, Navy Federal Police officers converged. He said one of them drew his weapon. "He comes to the side of me and orders and demands that I get out of my vehicle," he said. "He was off to my left shoulder. He told me to...