Undisclosed Settlement Reached Over Deadly Hawaii High-Rise Fire

November 8, 2019

Plaintiffs and defendants reached a settlement over a deadly Honolulu high-rise fire, although the amounts to be paid by insurance companies remains confidential, attorneys said.

A settlement conference concluded Tuesday regarding the July 2017 Marco Polo building fire that killed four people, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Circuit Judge Dean Ochiai ordered the defendants to make financial disbursements out of an escrow account by Jan. 15.

The fire at the 568-unit condominium building was one of the worst in modern Honolulu history, requiring the efforts of about 130 firefighters for more than four hours before the blaze was extinguished.

The fire affected 200 of the building’s units, including 30 that were destroyed, mostly on the 26th through 28th floors. The building was built in 1971 before sprinkler systems were required, officials said.

Investigators ruled in October 2017 that the cause could not be determined because of extensive damage in the unit where the fire originated.

Former state Attorney General David Louie, one of the lead defense attorneys in the case, told Ochiai that many non¡monetary technical issues remain such as obtaining signatures on various settlement documents.

“We don’t want to fumble it on the 1-yard line,” Ochiai said. “That would be a shame.”

The settlement appears to resolve several lawsuits filed over the fire that caused an estimated $107 million in damage. Attorneys are not allowed to discuss settlement amounts their clients are expected to receive, they said.

The fire killed 54-year-old Britt Reller and his 87-year-old mother Jean Dilley, 71-year-old Joann M. Kuwata, and 81-year-old Marilyn Van Gieson.

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