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Green v. Kanazawa

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

May 18, 2018

JEREMY GREEN and SHIZUKO GREEN, Plaintiffs,
v.
SIDNEY K. KANAZAWA, ESQ., a resident of California, MCGUIREWOODS, LLP, a Virginia limited liability partnership, and DOE DEFENDANTS 1-50, Defendants. HYE JA KIM, Plaintiff,
v.
SIDNEY K. KANAZAWA, ESQ., a resident of California, MCGUIREWOODS, LLP, a Virginia limited liability partnership, and DOE DEFENDANTS 1-50, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW

          Leslie E. Kobayashi United States District Judge

         Before the Court is Defendants Sidney Kanazawa and McGuireWoods, LLP's (collectively “Defendants”) Motion for Judgment as Matter of Law (“Motion”), filed on May 10, 2018.[1] [Dkt. no. 385.] Plaintiffs Jeremy Green and Shizuko Green, and Hye Ja Kim (collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed their memorandum in opposition on May 15, 2018. [Dkt. no. 398.] This matter came on for hearing on May 18, 2018. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is hereby granted in part and denied in part.

         BACKGROUND

         Based on their prior filings, this Court has found that Plaintiffs' claims allege Defendants committed legal malpractice and breached their fiduciary duties in: 1) their representation of Plaintiffs culminating in Centex Homes' (“Centex”) compliance with the 2010 Settlement Agreement and in their representation during the period until Centex complied with the Settlement and Release Agreement, dated and effective as of February 9, 2010 (“2010 Settlement Agreement” and “2010 Settlement Claims”); 2) failing to advise Plaintiffs that the 2010 Settlement Agreement did not release claims Plaintiffs may have had against Centex related to the period beginning in 2011 when Plaintiffs were prevented from using certain Beach Villas at Ko Olina (“Beach Villas”) amenities (“Lockout” and “Lockout Claims”); and 3) violating their continuing duties to Plaintiffs by working with Centex regarding a 2013 “Settlement and Release Agreement; Joinder by AOAO” (“2013 Settlement Agreement” and “2013 Settlement Claims”). See Order: Denying Defs.' Motion for Summary Judgment on the Claims Asserted by Pltf. Hye Ja Kim; Denying Defs.' Motion for Summary Judgment on the Claims Asserted by Pltfs. in Counts I and II of the Complaint; and Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defs.' Motion for Summary Judgment for Lack of Actual Damages, or Alternatively, for Partial Summary Judgment Regarding Punitive Damages Arising out of the Acts or Omissions of Centex Homes (“11/30/17 Order”), filed 11/30/17 (dkt. no. 200), at 26-31.

         At the close of Plaintiffs' case, Defendants filed the instant Motion seeking judgment as a matter of law as to all of Plaintiffs' claims.

         STANDARD

Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(a)(1) states:
If a party has been fully heard on an issue during a jury trial and the court finds that a reasonable jury would not have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the party on that issue, the court may:
(A) resolve the issue against the party; and
(B) grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law against the party on a claim or defense that, under the controlling law, can be maintained or defeated only with a favorable finding on that issue.

         This Court has stated:

The standard for judgment as a matter of law mirrors that for granting summary judgment. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 149-50 (2000). “[I]n entertaining a motion for judgment as a matter of law, the court . . . may not make credibility determinations or weight the evidence.” Id. at 149. Rather, the court “must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party . . . and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.” Josephs v. Pac. Bell, 443 F.3d 1050, 1062 (9th Cir. 2006). Where there is sufficient conflicting evidence, or if reasonable minds could differ over the verdict, judgment as a matter of law is improper. Pierson v. Ford Motor Co., No. C 06-6503 PJH, 2009 WL 3458702, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 23, 2009); see generally Kern v. Levolor Lorentzen, Inc., 899 F.2d 772, 775 (9th Cir. 1990).

Barranco v. 3D Sys. Corp., CIVIL NO. 13-00412 LEK-RLP, 2017 WL 1900970, at *2 (D. Hawai`i May 9, 2017) (alterations in Barranco) ...


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