Settlement reached in Hilton mold suit
Hilton is settling with one of the builders of the Kalia Tower
Closing a chapter in a torturous legal war over a mold problem that temporarily shut down a $95 million tower at one of Waikiki's landmark properties, Hilton Hotels Corp. has reached a settlement with a contractor of the Kalia Tower at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Hilton is scheduled to appear in state court today to seek approval of a settlement with the Erection Co. Inc., which was involved in the construction of the tower, including steel construction in the stairwells.
The settlement follows years of litigation involving the Kalia Tower, which Hilton opened in May 2001.
By July 2002, Hilton had discovered such large quantities of mold growing in the tower's guest rooms that the company decided to shut down all 453 rooms of the property to clean it up.
The mold problem spawned a rash of lawsuits, as Hilton alleged flaws in design and construction and various contractors sued each other.
Hilton also faced a class-action suit from customers, who accused Hilton of failing to disclose the problem after the company learned of it. Hilton settled that suit late last year, agreeing to give aggrieved customers either $150 travel coupons or $50 in cash.
But the litigation involving the contractors, engineers and architects -- with claims totaling $40 million -- has lingered. The settlement, which must be approved by state Circuit Judge Bert Ayabe, would appear at least to partially resolve that. However, it was not clear whether all of the parties involved in the litigation had signed on to the settlement.
Hilton spokeswoman Kathy Shepard refused to comment, and Hilton's local counsel Terry O'Toole did not return calls. A lawyer for one of the defendants, architecture firm Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo, also declined to comment.