Hawaii News

Judge rules in favor of state in $1M lawsuit about installation of fire alarm systems at 8 Hawaiʻi public schools

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A Circuit Court judge has ruled in favor of the Hawaiʻi Department of Education in a $1 million lawsuit relating to the installation of fire alarm systems at eight public schools throughout the the state.

Judge Kevin T. Morikone ruled on June 14, granting a summary judgment in favor of the state on several grounds in the lawsuit filed in 2022 by ʻOhana Control Systems Inc. that asserted 25 separate claims, including claims that the Education Department breached eight contracts to install the fire alarm systems. Morikone made his ruling on the grounds that claims by ʻOhana Control Systems are without merit and barred by the statute of limitations.

Final judgment in favor of the state was entered July 17.

Between May 2012 and November 2013, the Department of Education executed contracts with ʻOhana Control Systems for the purpose of upgrading or installing fire alarm systems at Benjamin Parker Elementary School, Dole Middle School, Mililani Middle School, Puʻuhale Elementary School, Waiau Elementary School, Momilani Elementary School and Mokulele Elementary School all on Oʻahu and Waiheʻe Elementary School on Maui.

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The state terminated six of those contracts for cause between 2015 and 2016 on multiple grounds, including failure to complete work on time. The seventh contract was terminated for convenience in 2015. Only one of the eight contracts was completed in 2015.

ʻOhana Control Systems filed its lawsuit against the Department of Education on Jan. 5, 2022.

“We are very satisfied with the court’s decision,” said Hawaiʻi Deputy Attorney General Anne Horiuchi in a press release. “The Department of the Attorney General will vigorously defend against meritless and untimely claims brought against the state.”

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The state was represented by Horiuchi and her fellow deputy attorneys general Kevin Richardson, Ronald Rodriguez and Bradford Chun, along with Supervising Deputy Attorney General Carter Siu.

A copy of the court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law can be found here. A copy of the judgment can be found here.

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