Hawaii Employment Law Decisions March 6, 2016 to March 12, 2016 – Jeffrey S. Harris

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Acting general counsel for National Labor Relations Board could not authorize agency's request for injunction against employer, because President improperly appointed him when President also nominated him for a permanent position.  Hooks v. Kitsap Tenant Support Servs., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 4246 (9th Cir. March 7, 2016).

District court improperly dismissed False Claims Act complaint.  Prior public disclosure of fraud did not bar former employee's claim alleging fraud differing in kind and degree from the previous disclosure.  Publicly disclosed information described delays and incompetence, it did not explicitly accuse deception.  Public description of generalized fraud in massive project or across swath of an industry does not bar all FCA suits identifying specific instances of fraud.  U.S. ex rel. Mateski v. Raytheon Co., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 4247 (9th Cir. March 7, 2016).

Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals.

Circuit court properly awarded economic damages against city for tortuously banning contractors from working at city facilities, by relying on economic expert's 'worst case' estimate of projected earnings.  City did not show contractors failed to mitigate damages.  Circuit court improperly denied contractors' non-economic damages for emotional distress.  Minton v. City and County of Honolulu, 2016 Haw. App. LEXIS 103 (Int. Ct. App. March 10, 2016).

Note: We analyze cases to learn rules the courts will follow or disappoint us if they don't. Rules that the courts follow allow us to behave and provide explanations they accept. But competent advocates may limit the rules to the facts of the case where they are discussed, or expand rules by showing that differences in other cases are irrelevant.