All neutrals on the DPR Panel are willing to travel to the neighbor islands and the mainland. If you have any questions, please contact DPR at (808) 523-1234

    Retired Hawaii State Judge Eden Elizabeth Hifo remains committed to the fair and reasonable settlement of civil law suits. During 23 years in the First Circuit (six in district court; the remainder in circuit court) she presided over numerous jury and bench trials and facilitated settlements in many more cases.

    At the time of retirement in 2010, Judge Hifo handled all asbestos toxic tort litigation and most agency appeals in the first circuit together with randomly assigned civil cases including various torts, contracts, class actions, construction defects, complex false claims act litigation, and contested estate/trust cases. She always held early settlement conferences and continuously followed up as circumstances dictated.

    This led to Judge Hifo’s innovation of non-binding “Advisory Jury Trials” or “Summary Jury Trials” to aid good faith settlement negotiations in select cases when discrete issues of liability and/or damages were deadlocked. Thus additional judicial resources were invoked by bringing jurors from the jury pool to sit for one day and deliberate after reviewing exhibits, hearing limited testimony and the focused closing arguments of opposing counsel. Every case except one settled following this procedure, and the one which did not resulted in full trial and verdict consistent with the prior, non-binding procedure.

    From her earlier days at district court, Judge Hifo recognized the value of mediation and helped institute the use of volunteer mediators from the Neighborhood Justice Center. In circuit court, she was sometimes invited to work in combination with professional mediators to help resolve complex cases. Those settlement conferences provided insight and detail about the mediation process.