Hawaii Legislature committee approves $3 million settlement

Hawaii Legislature committee approves $3 million settlement
Hawaii News Now/File (Source: HNN File)

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A Hawaii state Legislature committee has recommended passage of a bill that would pay a $3 million settlement to an injured couple.

The bill would appropriate $3 million for Michael Patrick O’Grady and Leiloni O’Grady of Ocean View, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Sunday.

The settlement would be the largest among $6.1 million worth of cases settled by the attorney general’s office.

The appropriations measure by a joint House-Senate conference committee will be returned to both legislative chambers for a vote. If approved, it would then go to Democratic Gov. David Ige for his signature.

The couple was seriously injured in 2007 while driving from their jobs at a school to their Big Island home when an estimated 160-ton rock fall crushed their car on Highway 11 in Kau.

The vehicle rolled over and both the O’Gradys, who were then in their 50s, sustained multiple broken bones, traumatic brain injuries and internal injuries, according to records.

The state Supreme Court in June 2017 overturned Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura’s January 2012 ruling that the state was not liable for damages suffered by the O’Gradys. Nakamura disqualified himself in November 2018, and the case was reassigned to Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto, records said.

Written testimony on the bill by the attorney general’s office said the $3 million settlement was reached in November 2018, with retired Hawaii Supreme Court Justice James Duffy serving as mediator.

Ron Self, an attorney for the O’Gradys, declined comment Friday because the case remains open.

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