Commercial & Maritime Litigation

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Admiralty & Maritime Law

For more than two decades, we’ve represented vessel interests in seaman and passenger matters on such issues as vessel arrest and bonding; bareboat charter; maintenance and cure; equipment defects; United States Coast Guard regulations; and issues arising under general maritime law and the Jones Act.

Maritime law is in a state of flux, and courts across the country are re examining a variety of issues. To best represent our clients, we stay current with the latest developments in this area.

Partner Ralph J. O’Neill is approaching 20 years of experience on behalf of vessel interests. The rest of our maritime legal team are members of the Maritime Law Association of the United States and engage in continuing legal education specific to this field.

Business Transactions & Formations

Our business department represents medium and large corporate clients as well as small closely held companies operating throughout Hawaii. Types of representation of businesses include commercial real estate entities, small and light manufacturing concerns, restaurants, retail, professional practice corporations including physicians, dentists, psychologists and other allied healthcare professionals. We have assisted sellers and purchasers in transfers of hotels, consulting firms, transportation companies, restaurants, real estate companies, brokerage companies and national franchises.

We structure many of our transactions as asset sales, stock sales and mergers. We also form partnerships, professional and domestic corporations, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, as well as perform corporate conversions of these entities throughout Hawaii.

Commercial Litigation

We handle complex commercial litigation in both state and federal courts. We actively litigate in all judicial circuits covering all islands in Hawaii. We represent both local clients as well as national and multi-national international firms seeking representation in Hawaii.

We handle a variety of commercial cases, including complex multi-million dollar breach of contract claims; claims involving violations of both state and federal law; both prosecution and defense of various tort claims; and claims involving requests for declaratory and injunctive relief in all state and federal courts.


Practice areas include construction and real estate financial disputes, development, defect and mechanic’s liens. Representative clients include contracts, ranging from established Hawaii family businesses to some of Hawaii’s largest construction companies, developers and insurers.

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Healthcare & Professional Practice

Our healthcare & professional practices group represents many of Hawaii’s leading physicians, dentists, psychologists and other Allied Healthcare professionals in negotiating practice transitions, purchases and sales as well as practice group formation and structuring associate buy-ins and partner or principal retirement exit strategies.

Structuring the formation of various professional and healthcare practice groups can be a complex undertaking with various tax considerations. We have unique expertise in this area given the almost 30 years of experience we have in representing professional practices in Hawaii.

Insurance Coverage

The firm has represented a number of primary and excess carriers, and in certain instances corporate policyholders, in matters that have ranged from Hawaii’s most complex construction defect cases to the interests of excess insurers with respect to primary insurers and defense of bad faith claims, among other coverage areas.

Products Liability Defense

We’ve had an active practice defending manufacturers in a wide variety of claims, from consumer products to asbestos defense related to construction materials, gaskets/packing and pumps. Ralph J. O’Neill has been lead counsel in numerous high-stakes cases.

Real Estate

We represent both sellers and buyers in the acquisition of both fee simple and leasehold undeveloped land, commercial leasing, commercial real estate development projects, as well as representing real estate brokers, real estate companies, developers and other real estate consultants and appraisers.

Our real estate department works closely with our corporate department in the acquisition and sale of hotels and other business concerns involving large and small real estate transactions as part of an overall business transaction. In conjunction with our litigation department, we also handle real estate litigation including partition work, quiet title actions, misrepresentation, fraud, and other breach of contract issues pertaining to the sale or purchase of real estate.

Tax Law

Our tax department counsels clients in the structuring of various transactions involving real estate sales and acquisitions and corporate mergers, sales of stock and acquisition and transfer of corporate assets.Our taxation department works closely with our corporate and real estate department to provide a broad range of expertise to address various tax aspects of all corporate transactions. We handle 1031 exchanges, State of Hawaii General Excise Tax issues, and federal, state and local corporate and individual tax issues as well. We provide tax advice to partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies in all phases including entity formation, operation and dissolution.

Tort & Professional Malpractice Defense

The firm has represented manufacturers and insurance carriers in serious injury and death cases involving alleged product defects, toxic torts, construction accident, premises liability and professional negligence defense. We have represented Hawaii and national companies. We work with numerous large insurance companies, and are panel counsel.

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