Individual States 

HAWAII

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

Assumption of risk bars recovery in negligence, but not strict liability. Thomas v. Pang, 811 P.2d 821 (Haw. 1991) ; Larsen v. Pacesetter Sys., Inc., 74 Haw. 1 (1992) .

CAPS ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES

Damages recoverable for pain and suffering are limited to $375,000, except for intentional torts; torts relating to environmental pollution; toxic and asbestos-related torts; torts relating to aircraft accidents; strict and products liability torts; or torts relating to motor vehicle accidents with some exceptions. Haw. Rev. Stat. §663-8.7 .

Serious emotional distress arising from property damage is abolished, and is only allowed for personal injury. Haw. Rev. Stat. §663-8.9 .

COLLATERAL SOURCE RULE

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.

COMPARATIVE FAULT

Modified comparative fault applies, and claimant is barred from recovery only if his negligence is greater than the aggregate negligence of the defendants. If not greater, claimant's recovery will be reduced by his share of the negligence. However, modified comparative fault applies only to claims based on negligence. Pure comparative fault applies in strict product liability claims, and claimant's recovery is never barred. Haw. Rev. Stat. §663-31 .

ECONOMIC LOSS

The economic loss doctrine bars recovery of pure economic loss in actions based on products liability. This doctrine does not apply where "other property" is damaged nor does it bar actions based on negligent misrepresentation or fraud. Bronster v. United States Steel Corp., 82 Hawai'i 32 (Hawai'i 1996) ; Kamata Farms, Inc. v. United Agri Prod., 948 P.2d 1055 (Hawai'i 1997) .

JOINT & SEVERAL LIABILITY

Joint and several liability for joint tortfeasors is abolished except in the following circumstances:
(1) economic damages for injury or death to persons;
(2) economic and noneconomic damages for actions involving (A) intentional torts, (B) torts relating to environmental pollution, (C) toxic and asbestos-related torts, (D) torts relating to aircraft accidents, (E) strict and products liability torts, (F) torts relating to motor vehicle accidents, except that noneconomic damages are curtailed in part (4) below.
(3) noneconomic damages against a tortfeasor whose individual degree of negligence is 25 percent or more (less than 25 percent applies comparative fault);
(4) noneconomic damages in motor vehicle accidents involving tort actions relating to the maintenance and design of highways, where the tortfeasor had reasonable notice by a prior occurrence under similar circumstances;
(5) economic and noneconomic damages for claims against design professionals, and certified public accountants, are only allowed in cases of physical injury or death to persons. Haw. Rev. Stat. §663-10.9 .

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Clear and convincing" evidence of wanton, oppressive or malicious act or conscious indifference to consequences is required. Masaki v. General Motors Corp., 780 P.2d 566 (Hawai'i 1989) .

Allowed in wrongful death actions. Ozaki v. Ass'n of Apartment Owners of Discovery Bay, 954 P.2d 652 (1998) .

A defendant must disclose information on his financial worth, unless he can show that it would cause actual prejudice. Vollert v. Summa Corp., 389 F. Supp. 1348 (D. Haw. 1975) .

RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTION

Joint tortfeasors are entitled to contribution if they have discharged the common liability by payment, or paid more than their pro rata share. Each tortfeasor's pro rata share is normally equal, but if such an equal distribution would be inequitable, the pro rata shares may be calculated based on each tortfeasor's individual degree of fault. A joint tortfeasor who settled cannot recover contribution from another joint tortfeasor unless his liability was extinguished by the settlement. Haw. Rev. Stat. §663-12 .

Recovery by the injured person against one joint tortfeasor does not discharge the other joint tortfeasors. In addition, a release, dismissal with or without prejudice, or a covenant not to sue or not to enforce a judgment that is given in good faith to one or more joint tortfeasors: (1) does not discharge any other joint tortfeasor or co-obligor not released from liability unless its terms so provide; (2) reduces the claims against the other joint tortfeasors by the amount stipulated, or the consideration paid, whichever is greater; (3) discharges the party to whom it is given from all liability for contribution to the other joint tortfeasors. Haw. Rev. Stat. §§663-13, 663-15.5 .

Right of contribution does not impair any right of indemnity under existing law. Haw. Rev. Stat. §663-16 .

A right to contribution may be enforced by motion, cross-claim, or independent action. Haw. Rev. Stat. §663-17 .

SPECIAL DEFENSES

Evidence of payment by defendant or defendant's insurance company shall not be admissible for any purpose and shall not be construed as an admission of liability. However, defendant may waive this protection and elect to introduce evidence in order to reduce the jury award by the amount paid. Haw. Rev. Stat. §663-21 .

STATUTES OF LIMITATION

Action for personal injury or property damage shall be brought within two years. However, claimants who are insane, imprisoned on a criminal charge, or less than 18 years of age, may bring such an action at any time while the disability exists and until two years after the disability is removed. Haw. Rev. Stat. §§657-7, 657-13 .

Wrongful death actions must be brought within two years. Haw. Rev. Stat. §663-3(5) .

Breach of warranty actions must be brought within four years. Haw. Rev. Stat. §490:2-725 .

STATUTES OF REPOSE

There is no statute of repose for product liability actions in Hawaii.

STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT

Where a judgment exceeds $1,000,000, the excess amount may be paid by periodic payments including interest, but only if the action was based in tort and the tortfeasor was the state, any political subdivision thereof, or any governmental agency. Law. Rev. Stat. §657-24 .