Ronald J. Verga
Ronald J. Verga came to Hawaii in 1979, and has been with Edmunds Verga & Omonaka and its predecessors since 1980. Mr. Verga concentrates his practice on handling commercial and complex litigation as well as preparing divorce documents California state and personal injury litigation. He is the recipient of Martindale-Hubbell's prestigious AV-Preeminent rating, an honor bestowed upon attorneys with the highest level of legal ability and professional standards of conduct, ethics, reliability, and diligence.
During his years practicing in commercial and complex litigation, Mr. Verga represented the McKesson Corporation, which owned Foremost Dairies-Hawaii at the time, in litigation relating to the alleged heptachlor contamination of Oahu's milk supply. More recently, he represented Nestle USA in a lawsuit brought by Kona coffee growers. The lawsuit alleged that various coffee brokers had sold inferior quality coffee beans from Central America as genuine Kona coffee beans. Subsequently, Nestle relied on Mr. Verga in claims brought by the Honolulu Board of Water Supply and by residents of the Mililani and Village Park areas. The claims alleged contamination of groundwater by agricultural chemicals used by the former Libby McNeill & Libby pineapple plantation, which Nestle acquired and then sold in the 1980s. Mr. Verga also represented the Equitable Life Assurance Company, formerly part owner of the Ala Moana Center, in protracted litigation with a tenant of the Center arising out of the Center's reconfiguration.
Mr. Verga has extensive experience in insurance litigation. His work in this area includes representing former officers and directors of State Savings and Loan in Okada v. MGIC Indemnity Corporation, which established the duty of an insurer to pay fees and costs incurred in defending lawsuits brought against its insureds on an ongoing basis and to conduct good-faith settlement negotiations in order to settle such lawsuits within policy limits, whether or not the insurance policy explicitly contained such requirements. Mr. Verga also represented Bank of America, which, after its purchase of HonFed Bank, was named as a defendant in lawsuits arising out of the liquidation of the failed Investors Equity Life Insurance Company, a former HonFed subsidiary.
Mr. Verga has also represented a number of technology companies in litigated matters. In 1999, he represented NSI, the company which designed and implemented the State's automated child support system, in protracted litigation with the State of Hawaii. That case was resolved to the client's satisfaction by a confidential settlement agreement. Recently, he represented Hawaii.com, a tourism-related website, in litigation with the licensor of the domain name. The case was also resolved by a confidential settlement agreement.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Verga graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Law. After law school, he spent the first four years of his legal career in New York City, where he worked for the city government, and in Tokyo, where he worked in law firms and as an educator in a government-operated school.
- Commercial and Complex Litigation
- Personal Injury
- J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School, 1975
- A.B., University of Chicago, 1970
- State Bar of Hawaii, 1980
- U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, 1980
- State Bar of New York, 1979
- State Bar of Wisconsin, 1976
- Hawaii Bar Association
- American Bar Association
Litigation Experience Highlights
- Sananaikone v. Pepsico, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. Represented the former owner of a soft drink bottler, which owned a Pepsi franchise in the Kingdom of Laos, in litigation against Pepsico. The franchisee's physical plant was expropriated and nationalized by the communist Pathet Lao revolutionary government in 1975. The case was appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals where Pepsico unfortunately prevailed over our client.
- In Re Holo Holo, 512 F. Supp. 1339, in the U. S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. Represented estates and survivors of two researchers killed when a privately-owned ship chartered to do oceanographic research by the University of Hawaii, its Research Corporation, and the University of California was lost at sea. The case settled.
- Consolidated Heptachlor Litigation. Represented McKesson Corporation, owner of Foremost Dairies-Hawaii, in litigation relating to the alleged contamination of Oahu's milk supply by the pesticide heptachlor. The case settled.
- State v. Toledo, in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit. Assisted senior partner John Edmunds in the defense of Gertrude Toledo, who was charged with murdering her husband. Mrs. Toledo was acquitted.
- Okada v. MGIC Indemnity Corporation, 608 F. Supp. 383, in the U. S. District Court for the District of Hawaii; 795 F.2d 1450, in the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Represented former officers and directors of a failed savings and loan association in a precedent-setting lawsuit. The ruling established the duty of the S&L's insurer to pay fees and costs incurred in defending lawsuits which were brought against its insureds on an ongoing basis and to conduct good-faith settlement negotiations in order to attempt to settle such lawsuits within policy limits, whether or not the insurance policy contained such an explicit requirement.
- Liberty House v. D/E Joint Venture, et al., in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit. Represented Equitable Life Assurance Company, part owner of the Ala Moana Shopping Center, in litigation with Liberty House arising out of a dispute over the reconfiguration of the Center. The case settled.
- Takabuki v. Ching, 67 Haw. 515, 695 P.2d 319, in the Circuit Court for the First Circuit and the Hawaii Supreme Court. Represented one trustee of the Bishop Estate in litigation against a fellow trustee charging that a trust investment was improper and violated the second trustee's fiduciary duty to the Estate.
- Obayashi Corporation v. Hawaiian Trust, et al., in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit. Represented the owner of a hotel on Kauai that was severely damaged in Hurricane Iniki in a commercial lease dispute against trusts which owned the land underlying the hotel. The case settled.
- Metcalf v. Bank of America, et al., in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit. Represented Bank of America, which, as a result of its purchase of HonFed Bank, was named as a defendant in several lawsuits arising out of the failure of Investors Equity Life Insurance Company, a former HonFed subsidiary. The case settled.
- State v. Network Six, Inc., et al., in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit. Represented the firm which designed and implemented the State's automated child support system in a breach of contract claim against the state of Hawaii. The case settled.
- Houston v. McDonnell Douglas, Inc., in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit. Represented the pilot of a tour helicopter who was injured in a crash in an action against the helicopter manufacturer and an owner of the tour company. The case settled.
- Keiter v. Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. Represented a policyholder in a bad faith action against a life insurer. The case settled
- Nielsen v. Ezra, in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. Represented the operator of the website Hawaii.com in litigation against the licensor of the domain name. The case settled
- State v. Wong, Peters and Stone, 97 Haw. 512, 40 P.3d 914 (2002)
- U.S. Pacific Builders, Inc. v. Mitsui Trust & Banking Co., 57 F.Supp.2d 1018 (D. Haw. 1999)
- Domingo v. Doe, 985 F.Supp. 1241 (D. Haw. 1997), 276 F.3d 1083 (2002)
- Keiter v Penn Mutual Insurance Co., 900 F.Supp. 1339 (D. Haw. 1995)
- Okada v MGIC Indemnity Corp., 608 F.Supp. 383 (D. Haw. 1985), 795 F.2d 1450 (9th Cir. 1986)
- In re Holo Holo, 512 F.Supp. 889 (D. Haw. 1981)
- Jenkins v. Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership, 89 Haw. 254, 971 P.2d 1089 (1999)
- Janssen v. American Hawaii Cruises, Inc., 69 Haw. 31, 731 P.2d 163 (1987)
- McCarthy v. Jaress, 6 Haw. App. 143, 711 P.2d 1315 (1985)
- State v. Rodrigues, 67 Haw. 10, 679 P.2d 615 (1984)
- McCarthy v. Yempuku, 5 Haw. App. 45, 678 P.2d 11 (1984)