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Jack Sigafuss v. State of Hawaii

IN THE INTERMEDIATE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF HAWAII


September 14, 2011

JACK SIGAFUSS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF HAWAII, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT (CIVIL NO. 07-1-1750)

NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAII REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER

SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER

(By: Nakamura, C.J., Fujise and Leonard, JJ.)

Plaintiff-Appellant Jack Sigafuss (Sigafuss) appeals from the February 20, 2009 judgment of the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (circuit court) *fn1 in favor of Defendant-Appellee State of Hawaii.

Sigafuss is a pro se prisoner who currently resides in a prison facility in Florida. Sigafuss filed a civil suit against the State alleging negligence in the State's failure to provide appropriate medical treatment for Sigafuss's broken jaw and appropriate mental health services while Sigafuss was incarcerated at Oahu Community Correctional Center in January 2006. At the conclusion of a non-jury trial, the circuit court entered judgment in favor of the State and against Sigafuss.

Upon careful review of the record and the briefs submitted by the parties, and having given due consideration to the arguments advanced and the issues raised by the parties, we resolve Sigafuss's points of error as follows:

Sigafuss's briefs do not adhere to Hawaii Rules of Appellate Procedure (HRAP) requirements on several grounds. His opening brief does not set forth a concise statement of the points of error, it omits record citations in the statement of the case, and Sigafuss failed to append a copy of the lower court's final judgment and findings of fact and conclusions of law. See HRAP Rule 28(b). While this court could affirm the circuit court's judgment on this basis alone, Hawaii appellate courts have a policy of deciding cases on the merits where possible. See Hous. Fin. & Dev. Corp. v. Ferguson, 91 Hawaii 81, 85-86, 979 P.2d 1107, 1111-12 (1999). As best we can discern from Sigafuss's briefs, he claims that the State acted negligently regarding the diagnosis and treatment of his alleged injuries. However, Sigafuss has failed to point to any errors in the proceedings before the circuit court. As Sigafuss has not provided transcripts of the trial, in violation of HRAP Rule 10(b), we have no basis upon which to adequately conduct a plain error review. Hawaiian Trust Co., Ltd. v. Cowan, 4 Haw. App. 166, 172, 663 P.2d 634, 638 (1983) (ruling that the trial court's findings and conclusions shall be left undisturbed where omission of the transcripts precludes the court from determining whether the trial court's findings are clearly erroneous).

Sigafuss offers no reason for us to conclude that the trial court erred in its judgment and has failed to carry the burden of showing reversible error in the record on appeal. Bettencourt v. Bettencourt, 80 Hawaii 225, 230, 909 P.2d 553, 558 (1995) (the burden "is upon appellant in an appeal to show error by reference to matters in the record, and he or she has the responsibility of providing an adequate transcript") (brackets and internal quotation marks omitted)). Therefore,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the judgment entered on February 20, 2009 in the Circuit Court for the First Circuit is affirmed.

Chief Judge

Associate Judge

Associate Judge


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