The Other Side
of the Story


Saturday, April 28, 2001

Column didn’t tell
the whole truth

Editor's note: Robert Klein is a former Hawaii Supreme Court justice who is now an attorney with the firm McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon.

STAR-BULLETIN writer Rob Perez, in his column of April 20, published a critique of the actions of former Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Robert Klein knowing that a Circuit Court judge would rule the next day on the same subject, whether the justice or our firm committed any wrongdoing.

Perez preferred to publish the allegation rather than wait for the decision, which turned out to be favorable to our firm and Justice Klein.

The Star-Bulletin placed the column with the allegation on the front page of its weekday edition and briefly noted the court's exonerating decision in its "Court Briefs" column on the inside pages of its Saturday edition. Perez was given information by our firm that put Justice Klein's limited role in the case in context; namely, that the State Farm lawyer involved in the case, Darolyn Lendio of our firm, was being harassed by the lawyers for Delmonte, who wanted to depose her and obtain improper discovery from our firm, thus resulting in Justice Klein appearing solely to limit such improper discovery.

That was his sole role. Perez does not disclose this or the result, which was that Delmontes' lawyers lost all three of their motions and were sanctioned by the court for their improper conduct at Lendio's deposition.

PEREZ DOES NOT DETAIL the misconduct of Terry Revere, Delmontes' lawyer. All of this is not surprising to us because Delmontes' lawyers have been unsuccessful on the merits of the case and have been sinking to uncharted depths in an effort to extract a settlement from the Watanabe law firm (which did nothing wrong) and State Farm (which likewise did nothing wrong).

In fact, most of Delmontes' claims have already been dismissed by the courts.

Perez, in his follow-up column on April 25, says our firm "was let off the hook" by the Circuit Court's favorable decision. What hook? The motion filed by Delmontes' lawyers was devoid of merit and was properly denied. Perez told one of our lawyers in his interview with her that he thought the motion to disqualify our firm was "a stretch."

The real ethical question here is one of journalistic ethics. When Perez was proven wrong, rather than admit his mistakes, he compounded them. Our firm will cooperate with any investigation of our conduct in the Delmonte case. Delmontes' lawyers should also submit their conduct for review.

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