Elections Workers’ Lawsuit Dismissed; Appeal To Follow

November 26, 2012, 6:24 PM HST (Updated November 26, 2012, 6:25 PM)
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A Circuit Court judge in Kona has dismissed a lawsuit filed by two county elections workers.

Judge Elizabeth A. Strance today agreed with Hawaii County attorneys who argued that any claims of damages filed by Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto and senior elections clerk Shyla Ayau should be handled through the worker’s compensation process.

The two had sued the county and two county officials for defamation of character and negligence.

Their attorney, Ted Hong, said he would appeal.

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Hong said his case is supported by previous rulings in other states with similar worker’s compensation programs. Based on that precedent the case should be allowed to proceed, he said.

Hong said he had always believed that the case would be decided upon appeal regardless of which way Strance’s ruling went.

“It’s a very grey area,” he said.

Nakamoto and Ayau were among four elections workers fired early this year. They and a third, Elton Nakagawa, have been reinstated to their jobs. The fourth elections employee, Glen Shikuma, died in August.

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