THE HONORABLE MAHILANI E.K. HIATT (RET.)
AREA OF EXPERTISECommercial/Business , Construction/Design , Employment/Labor , Family/Matrimonial , General Civil , Injury/Torts , Insurance/Personal , Partnership/Corporate Law , Personal Injury , Public Policy , Real Property
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THE HONORABLE MAHILANI E.K. HIATT (RET.)
Judge Hiatt graduated from the Kamehameha Schools, Kapālama in 1980 and the Colorado College in 1984 with a B.A. in History. In 1993, Judge Hiatt received her law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law and was the recipient of the Michael Porter Dean’s Scholarship Award for First Year; the American Jurisprudence Awards for Civil Procedure and Commercial Transactions; the Law Alumni/Friends Golf Tournament Scholarship for Service Award; and the National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Woman Law Graduate from the University of Hawai‘i. Judge Hiatt was also a member, and the Executive Managing Editor, for the University of Hawai‘i Law Review, and served as a President and a Vice-President of the Student Bar Association.
Judge Hiatt begin her legal career as an associate with the law firm of Bays Deaver Hiatt Lung & Rose (kna as Bays Lung Rose Voss), where she worked in numerous areas of complex civil litigation. In 2000, she left the Bays firm (Kamuela office) for an opportunity to serve as a Human Resources Administrator with Hawai‘i Electric Light Company in Hilo, where she was primarily responsible for handling employee grievances and labor arbitrations. From 2001 to 2005, she was a full time stay at home mother, during which time she spent a year as a part-time teacher’s aide with the Kamehameha Preschool in Kamuela. Thereafter, she joined her husband in private practice as an associate and then, in 2010, as a full partner in the law firm of Hiatt & Hiatt. She has represented plaintiffs, defendants and intervenors in cases involving employment, labor, medical malpractice, personal injury, construction, real property and partnership disputes. Her clients have included individuals, small companies and large corporations such as Hyatt Hotels, Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawaiʻi Electric Light Company and Waikoloa Development. Judge Hiatt was recognized in Hawaiʻi’s Best Lawyers in the area of Litigation – Labor and Employment in 2016, 2017, and 2018. She has extensive experience with discovery, mediations, arbitrations and trials. Judge Hiatt has also served as a Foreclosure Commissioner and as an arbitrator in Hawaiʻi’s Court Annexed Arbitration Program.
Judge Hiatt has been admitted to all of the courts in the State of Hawaiʻi, the United States District Court, District of Hawaiʻi and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
In 2012, Chief United States District Judge Susan Mollway appointed Judge Hiatt as a delegate to Hawaiʻi’s Annual United States District Court Judicial Conference for 2012 -2014.
In June of 2017, Judge Hiatt was appointed as a per diem Judge in both the family court and the district court in the Third Circuit, and was reappointed in June of 2018. In August of 2018, Judge Hiatt was appointed as a District Family Court Judge, Third Circuit, State of Hawaiʻi. She first presided in the South Kohala District Court in Waimea and then at the Keahuolū Courthouse in Kona, when her courtroom was temporarily closed. She retired from the Judiciary at the end of September, 2021. During her tenure on the bench, Judge Hiatt handled both the family court calendar (divorce, adoption, paternity, temporary restraining orders, child welfare cases) and the district court calendar (regular claims, small claims, criminal, traffic and juvenile cases). Judge Hiatt has presided over more than 350 trials and evidentiary hearings. She served as the vice president of the Hawaiʻi State Trial Judges Association from 2020 – 2021, and as a member of the West Hawaiʻi Performance Improvement Plan Stakeholder Committee for Child and Family Services.
In 2018, Judge Hiatt completed the Basic Mediation Training course with the West Hawaiʻi Mediation Center and an intensive mediation course with the Pepperdine Straus Institute for Dispute Prevention Resolution in California. She is a volunteer mediator with the West Hawaiʻi Mediation Center and the Kuʻikahi Mediation Center.
Over the course of her career, Judge Hiatt has been an active participant in numerous community organizations, including the Hawaiʻi State Bar Association Committee on Lawyer Competence & Specialization, the Attorney to Law Student Mentor Program, the William S. Richardson School of Law Alumni Association, Hawai‘i Special Olympics, Hawaiʻi Planned Parenthood, the American Youth Soccer Association, and the Self-Help Center. She currently sits on the Board of the Children’s Law Project of Hawaiʻi and she is a co-founder of the Hiatt Scholarships for Community Service and Academic Creativity & Initiative given annually to two deserving students at the Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy.