Another victory for the Puanas today, after a judge ruled that they can file another civil lawsuit against Katherine Kealoha.
It essentially tosses out the verdict in a civil case, which ordered the Puanas to pay Kealoha more than $600,000.
The Puanas say this is also a good step toward getting the money taken from them by Kealoha.
“I’m elated! I can’t believe, it’s just one step closer to redemption,” said Gerard Puana.
He was all smiles after walking out of the courtroom with his attorneys. A judge’s ruling overturns a verdict from the initial civil trial back in 2015, when Gerard and his mother Florence Puana sued Kealoha.
They lost, she countersued, and they were ordered to pay her $658,000.
“This is a big deal, it’s a big weight off my back and off our family’s back,” said Puana.
The attorneys for the Puanas argued that Kealoha presented a fake trust as evidence during the civil trial, and the judge agreed.
“It is especially egregious that the defendant Katherine Kealoha was an officer of the court and so the motion is granted,” said Circuit Court Judge James McWhinnie.
The Puanas realize it’s unlikely they’ll recover the money taken by Kealoha. But now they can move forward and negotiate a settlement with the city.
The Puanas sued the city because Katherine was a deputy prosecutor and her husband Louis Kealoha was the police chief when they framed Gerard for mailbox theft. A jury found them guilty in June of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
“We’re looking at a massive amount of damages. We’re hoping sooner than later that the city will bring in its insurance companies and that we’ll negotiate a settlement before we have to go further and spend another two or three million dollars in attorneys’ fees,” said Eric Seitz, attorney for the Puanas.
The city says a judge has scheduled meetings with the different parties involved in the settlement, and the city will participate in those meetings.