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Wilkinson v. Association of Apartment Owners of Villa On Eaton Square

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

December 22, 2016

CHERYL WILKINSON, MICHAEL WARREN, Plaintiffs,
v.
ASSOCIATION OF APARTMENT OWNERS OF THE VILLA ON EATON SQUARE; HAWAIIAN PROPERTIES, LTD.; AG/POP PBN, LLC; PARALLEL CAPITAL PARTNERS, INC.; ABM PARKING SERVICES, INC., Defendants.

          SULLIVAN MEHEULA LEE A Limited Liability Law Partnership, WILLIAM MEHEULA, TERRENCE M. LEE, DOROTHY-JEAN MEISNER, Attorneys for Defendants AG/POP PBN, LLC and PARALLEL CAPITAL PARTNERS, INC.

          LUNSFORD DOLE PHILLIPS, ESQ. Attorney for Plaintiffs Cheryl Wilkinson and Michael Warren.

          JOHN D. ZALEWSKI, ESQ. JANA M. NARUSE, ESQ. Attorneys for Defendants Association of Apartment Owners of the Villa on Eaton Square and Hawaiian Properties, Ltd.

          LEIGHTON K. OSHIMA, ESQ. Attorney for Defendant ABM Parking Services, Inc.

         FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION THAT DEFENDANTS AG/POP PBN, L.L.C. AND PARALLEL CAPITAL PARTNERS, INC.'S PETITION FOR APPROVAL OF GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT PURSUANT TO HRS § 663-15.5, FILED NOVEMBER 1, 2016 [DOC. 52], AND ABM PARKING SERVICES, INC.'S JOINDER THERETO [DOC. 55], BE GRANTED.

          Kevin S.C. Chang United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiffs Cheryl Wilkinson and Michael Warren (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) commenced this action on April 14, 2016, against Defendants Association of Apartment Owners of the Villa on Eaton Square (“AOAO”), Hawaiian Properties, Ltd. (“HPL”), AG/POP PBN, L.L.C. (“AG/POP”), Parallel Capital Partners, Inc. (“PCP”), and ABM Parking Services, Inc. (“ABM”).

         By and through their First Amended Complaint, filed April 28, 2016, Plaintiffs alleged Defendants AOAO, HPL, AG/POP, PCP, and ABM discriminated against Plaintiffs based on Plaintiff Wilkinson's disability by denying for an inordinate time Plaintiffs' alleged request(s) for a designated parking space as a reasonable accommodation, by maintaining illegal provisions in the parking garage license owned by AG/POP, by refusing to adopt a policy that would permit approval of Plaintiffs' alleged requested accommodation until last year, and by failing to adopt a policy that would require Defendants to engage in an interactive dialogue regarding Plaintiffs' alleged requested accommodation, in violation of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (“HRS”) § 515-3 and the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f). Plaintiffs also asserted separate and independent discrimination claims against Defendants AOAO and HPL related to Wilkinson's service animal and AOAO board meetings.

         Plaintiffs and Defendants AOAO, HPL, AG/POP, PCP, and ABM attended an early settlement conference on June 28, 2016 before the Court. Plaintiffs and Defendants AG/POP, PCP, and ABM reached a tentative settlement at the early settlement conference. In documenting the settlement, Plaintiffs and Defendants AG/POP, PCP, and ABM were unable to reach an agreement on specific settlement terms, resulting in a status conference on September 15, 2016 before the Court.

         Counsel for Plaintiffs and Defendants AOAO, HPL, AG/POP, PCP, and ABM were present at the status conference. During the course of the status conference, Plaintiffs and Defendants AG/POP, PCP, and ABM were able to agree on and finalize the terms of the settlement agreement. At that time, a copy of the ten page settlement agreement and mutual release was provided to the Court and the settlement was placed on the record. Because the terms of the settlement agreement are confidential, the settlement record and settlement agreement were sealed by the Court.

         Thereafter on October 14, 2016, District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson approved the Stipulation for Dismissal with Prejudice as to Plaintiffs' Claims Against Defendants AG/POP PBN, L.L.C., Parallel Capital Partners, Inc., and ABM Parking Services, Inc., Stipulation for Dismissal without Prejudice of Defendants AG/POP PBN, L.L.C.'s and Parallel Capital Partners, Inc.'s Cross-Claim Against Defendants Association of Apartment Owners of the Villa on Eaton Square and Hawaiian Properties, Ltd., and Stipulation for Dismissal with Prejudice of Defendants AG/POP PBN, L.L.C. and Parallel Capital Partners, Inc.'s Cross-Claim Against Defendant ABM Parking Services, Inc. [Doc. 51].

         On November 11, 2016, Defendants AG/POP and PCP filed a Petition for Approval of Good Faith Settlement Pursuant to HRS § 663-15.5 (“Petition”). Defendant ABM filed a Joinder to the Petition on November 4, 2016. Defendants AOAO and HPL filed a Statement of Position on December 1, 2016. No opposition to the Petition was filed.

         The Petition came on for hearing before the Court on December 22, 2016. Lunsford Dole Phillips, Esq., appeared on behalf of Plaintiffs. Terrence M. Lee, Esq., appeared on behalf of Defendants AG/POP and PCP. John D. Zalewski, Esq., and Jana M. Naruse, Esq., appeared on behalf of Defendants AOAO and HPL.

         After careful consideration of AG/POP and PCP's Petition and supporting memorandum, ABM's Joinder thereto, the totality of circumstances, and the absence of opposition to the Petition, the Court hereby FINDS that the settlement between Plaintiffs and Defendants AG/POP, PCP, and ABM is ...


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