APPROACH TO CASES
Focus on what factually occurred that gave rise to the litigation.
Analyze the key written agreements.
Learn the client’s business and how the dispute affects it.
Draft pleadings to lay out the proper parties, claims and defense.
Identify experts who can help establish our theory of the case.
Assess the likely outcome of the litigation.
Collaborate with the client on how to obtain that result or better.
Constantly look for holes in our case and strength in our opponent’s case.
Set aside enough time on every task to do a good job.
Another primary practice area is legal malpractice and ethics litigation. We have successfully prosecuted and defended over 100 legal malpractice cases. We also have served on committees that have promulgated and amended the Hawaiʻi Rule of Professional Conduct. We find that practice in this area has informed us on how keep lawyer opponents in check who otherwise might bend the rules to the disadvantage of our clients.
LITIGATION AND TRIALS
Real Estate &
Real estate and business-related litigation are the firm’s main practice areas. We have represented or opposed developers, landowners, hotel and resorts, private equity firms, lenders, investors/partners, lessors/lessees, brokers, managers, and associations.
The matters have involved purchase and sale agreements, LLC agreements, partner/investor/lender issues, entitlements, environmental issues, historic property challenges, management agreements, and association and club issues.
The venues have included state and federal trial and appellate courts, state and county regulatory quasi-judicial bodies subject to HRS Chapter 91, state land use commission, county planning commissions, county permitting agencies and zoning boards of appeals, Department of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR) board, DLNR’s State Historic Preservation Division and Island Burial Councils, Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA), Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) and Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
Mr. Meheula’s Native Hawaiian Rights practice started in 1992 when he served as lead counsel, pro bono, representing beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust against the State of Hawaii. This litigation resulted in a $600 million settlement payable to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The Hawaii State Bar Association awarded Mr. Meheula the “Justice Award” in 1994 for his work on this case. Since then, Mr. Meheula has been involved as counsel and as a community leader in in litigation and legislation to stop the State from selling ceded lands in 2009, to obtain Kakaako Makai for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in 2012 and to allow the Native Hawaiian Convention (Aha) to develop a constitution in 2016.
Admissions & Courts
"AV" Martindale-Hubbell Rating
The Best Lawyers in America (since 2007)
Super Lawyers by Key Professionals Media, Inc. (since 2008)
Chambers USA (since 2018)
J.D., Suffolk University Law (third year completed at William S. Richardson School of Law), 1978
B.A., Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, 1975
Hawaii (all state and federal courts)
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
United States Supreme Court
Hawaii State Bar Association
American Bar Association
Hawaiian Sovereignty Election Council (council member 1994-97)
Native Hawaiian Bar Association (director 1994-2017)
Mamaka Aialo (member 2010–present)
Outrigger Canoe Club (President 2020)