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Ka'upulehu Land LLC v. Heirs and Assigns of Pahukula

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawaii

December 11, 2013

KA'UPULEHU LAND LLC, a Hawai'i limited liability company, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
HEIRS AND ASSIGNS OF PAHUKULA (k); et al., Defendants-Appellants

NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAI'I REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE THIRD CIRCUIT (CIVIL NO. 08-1-0023K).

Alan T. Murakami Camille K. Kalama (Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation) for Defendants-Appellants Carolyn N. Azbell, Mary Ann N. Cayetano, Thomas W. Clarke, Michael P. Correa, Myrna M. Dayondon, Robin P. Decoite, Eldora K. James, Christine P. Kakalia, Joshlynn M. Keahi, Mary I. Lovelace, Albert G. McDougall, Alberta J. P. McDougall, Estate of Daniel W. McDougall, Brandy N. McDougall, Dougal M.V. McDougall, Janelle McDougall-Shaw, Patricia W. McDougall, Scotlee K. McDougall, William P. McDougall IV, Tutabelle M. Ojeda, Mary C.P.M. Pereira and Barbara J. Von Arnswaldt.

Steven S.C. Lim Nathan C. Nelson Arsima A. Muller (Carlsmith Ball) for Plaintiff-Appellee Ka'upulehu Land LLC.

Nakamura, C.J., Foley and Fujise, JJ.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Defendants-Appellants Carolyn N. Azbell, Mary Ann N. Cayetano, Thomas W. Clarke, Michael P. Correa, Myrna M. Dayondon, Robin P. Decoite, Eldora K. James, Christine P. Kakalia, Joshlynn M. Keahi, Mary I. Lovelace, Albert G. McDougall, Alberta J.P. McDougall, Estate of Daniel W. McDougall, Brandy N. McDougall, Dougal M.V. McDougall, Janelle McDougall-Shaw, Patricia W. McDougall, Scotlee K. McDougall, William P. McDougall IV, Tutabelle M. Ojeda, Mary C.P.M. Pereira and Barbara J. Von Arnswaldt (collectively, Appellants} appeal from a March 25, 2010 Final Judgment in favor of Plaintiff-Appellee Ka'upulehu Land LLC (Ka'upulehu Land), entered in the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit[1] (circuit court).

Ka'upulehu Land moved for default and/or summary judgment, and the circuit court found that no genuine issues of material fact existed regarding title to the subject real property and that Ka'upulehu Land was entitled, as a matter of law, to 100% of the property through adverse possession.

On appeal, Appellants contend the circuit court erred by granting Ka'upulehu Land's February 4, 2010 Motion for Default and/or Summary Judgment because: (1) whether David Hukai Kahoiwai (David) sold the real property at issue before his death is a question of fact to be resolved at a trial; and (2) Ka'upulehu Land was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law as it was unable to claim title to the property by adverse possession.

I. BACKGROUND

In- this quiet title action brought by Ka'upulehu Land LLC, both Ka'upulehu Land LLC and Appellants claim an interest in the following property (Property):

All of that certain parcel of land (being all of the land(s) described in and covered by Royal Patent Number 6667, Land Commission Award number 8723, Apana 1 to Kahoiwai) situate, lying and being at Mahukona, District of Kohala, Island and County of Hawaii, State of Hawaii, bearing Tax Key designation (3)5-7-002-004, and containing an area of 11.746 acres, more or less [.]

Ka'upulehu Land LLC asserts that it and its predecessors-in-interest have been in sole possession of the Property since 1961.

The Property was originally granted to Kahoiwai. In 1885, David[2] was conveyed the Property from his father. David died intestate in 1903. David's estate was probated under Probate Number 24, filed August 24, 190, 4. The probate court determined David had four heirs: his two sisters, Kenoiaina and Miliama, [3] his brother, Pahukula, and his niece, Pua (collectively, David's heirs).

The record undisputedly supports the fact that David's heirs received no interest to the Property through the probate process. The probate inventory, dated February 6, 1905, stated David owned no real estate at death and contained an averment by the estate's administrator confirming that to his knowledge, the Property had been sold during David's lifetime. The clerk's minutes from February 2, 1906 provided: "Sam Keanu makes an appearance as a claimant to real estate which he claims [David] owned and sold." On August 22, 1906, David's heirs executed a power of attorney with attorney H.L. Holstein[4] that appears to contain a clerk's accounting of the probate expenses ...


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