Formal Complaints

If your informal complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction and you wish to file a formal complaint, your pleading must be filed in accordance with the formal complaint filing procedures set forth in HAR §16-601-67. Your filing will be subject to a $30.00 filing fee.

Must comply with procedures outlined in the following Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR):

HAR §16-601-67: Formal Complaint Rules

§16-601-67 Formal complaints. (a) Any person may file a formal complaint against any public utility, water carrier, motor carrier, or other person subject to commission jurisdiction.

(b) Formal complaints shall:

(1) Be in writing;

(2) Comply with sections 16-601-15 to 16-601-21;

(3) State the full name and address of each complainant and of each respondent;

(4) Set forth fully and clearly the specific act complained of in ordinary and concise language; and

(5) Advise the respondent and the commission completely of the facts constituting the grounds of the complaint, the injury complained of, and the exact relief desired.

(c) A complaint that alleges a violation of law shall clearly specify the particular parts of the law which are alleged to have been violated and the facts which the complainant relies upon to establish the violation.

(d) If two or more sections or subsections of the law or two or more requirements established pursuant to law are alleged to be violated, the facts claimed to constitute violation of one section, subsection, or requirement shall be stated separately from those claimed to constitute a violation of another section, subsection, or requirement whenever that can be done without undue repetition.

(e) If the formal complaint substantially complies with this subchapter, the commission shall serve a copy upon each respondent, together with an order requiring that the complaint be answered within twenty days after the date of service. Two copies of the formal complaint shall also be served on the consumer advocate. In emergency cases, the commission may require the filing of an answer within a shorter time.

(f) If the formal complaint is not in substantial compliance with this subchapter, the commission shall return the complaint to the complainant with an explanation of the reasons why the formal complaint does not comply with this chapter. [Eff JAN 01 2019] (Auth: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-9, 271G-7) (Imp: HRS §§91-2, 92-17, 269-7, 269-12, 271-9, 271G-7)

HAR §16-601-15

§16-601-15 Time and place for filing documents. All pleadings, briefs, and other documents required to be filed with the commission shall be filed at the office of the commission within the time limit prescribed by statutes, rules, or by order of the commission. Unless otherwise ordered, the date on which the papers are received shall be regarded as the date of filing. [Eff JAN 01 2019] (Auth: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-9, 271G-7) (Imp: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-31, 271G-23)

HAR §16-601-16

16-601-16 Format for pleadings and other documents. (a) Pleadings, briefs, and other documents shall be typewritten upon paper 8-1/2 x 11 inches in size. Tables, maps, charts, exhibits, or appendices may be larger but shall be folded to that size where practical. The impression shall be double spaced, except that footnotes and quotations in excess of a few lines may be single spaced. Reproduction may be by any process which makes clear and permanently legible copies.

(b) Pleadings, briefs, and other documents shall show the title of the proceeding, the docket number assigned by the chief clerk, the nature of the document, and the name and address of the person or attorney filing the document.

(c) The original of each document, including applications, complaints, answers, motions, notices, briefs, and amendments shall be signed in black ink by each party or its counsel. Any handwritten entries on documents shall also be in black ink. If a party is a corporation or association, the document may be signed by an officer.

(d) The format for pleadings and motions as prescribed by Rule 3 of the Rules of the Circuit Courts of the State of Hawaii may be used in lieu of the requirements of this section. [Eff JAN 01 2019] (Auth: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-9, 271G-7) (Imp: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-31, 271G-23)

HAR §16-601-17

§16-601-17 Verification. Applications, complaints, and other pleadings that initiate a proceeding and amendments to any such application, complaint, or other pleading shall be verified by at least one applicant or complainant. Answers, if any, shall be verified by at least one of the respondents filing the same. Pleadings may be verified:

(1) By an officer, if the party filing the pleading is a corporation or association;

(2) By the attorney for a party, if that party is absent or for some cause is unable to sign and verify that pleading. [Eff JAN 01 2019] (Auth: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-9, 271G-7) (Imp: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-31, 271G-23)

HAR §16-601-18

§16-601-18 Copies. Unless otherwise required by this chapter or the commission, each party shall file with the commission an original and eight copies of each application, complaint, or other pleading and any amendment to an application, complaint, or other pleading and serve two copies on the consumer advocate. The chairperson or administrative director may require that additional copies be provided or additional persons be served. [Eff JAN 01 2019] (Auth: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-9, 271G-7) (Imp: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-31, 271G-23)

HAR §16-601-19

§16-601-19 Defective documents. Any application filed with the commission, which is not in compliance with these rules, commission orders, other applicable rules, or statutes shall be accepted by the chief clerk and filed. The mere fact of filing shall not waive any failure to comply with this chapter or any other legal requirement. The commission may require the amendment of any application or entertain timely motions by the parties in connection therewith. [Eff JAN 01 2019] (Auth: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-9, 271G-7) (Imp: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-31, 271G-23)

HAR §16-601-20

§16-601-20 Amended pleadings. Any pleading may be amended at any time before service of a responsive pleading. [Eff JAN 01 2019] (Auth: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-9, 271G-7) (Imp: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-31, 271G-23)

HAR §16-601-21

§16-601-21 Service of process. (a) The commission shall cause the chief clerk to serve all decisions, orders, notices, and other documents issued by it, together with any other documents, that it is required by law to serve. All other documents shall be served by the parties filing them.

(b) The commission or any person filing documents shall serve a copy upon each party or its attorney and shall attach a certificate of service on the filed original. Any attorney entering an appearance after the commencement of a proceeding shall notify all other attorneys then of record and all parties not represented by an attorney of that fact. The consumer advocate shall be served two copies of any documents filed with the commission.

(c) Documents shall be served personally or, unless otherwise provided by law, by first class mail.

(d) Service upon a party, other than the commission, shall be deemed complete upon the occurrence of at least one of the following:

(1) The party or its attorney is personally served;

(2) The document is delivered to the party’s office or its attorney’s office and left with some responsible person; or

(3) The document is properly stamped, addressed, and mailed to the last known address of the party on file with the commission or to its attorney.

(e) Whenever a party has the right to do some act or take some proceedings within a prescribed period after the service of a notice or other document upon the party and the notice or document is served upon the party by mail, two days shall be added to the prescribed period. [Eff JAN 01 2019] (Auth: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-9, 271G-7) (Imp: HRS §§91-2, 269-6, 271-31, 271G-23)

Updated 3/2021