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Paul Alston

Stockholder/Director

Phone: (808) 524-1800
Fax: (808) 524-4591
Direct: (808) 524-1888
Cell: (808) 722-6000

palston@ahfi.com

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Alston, Paul

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"Why do people hire a particular lawyer? Out of love, fear or trust. Your mother may love you, your former opponents may fear you, but most clients decide based on trust. You earn that by doing, not talking." Paul Alston has built his career based upon earning clients' trust in a wide range of complicated disputes involving large damage claims. His practice focuses primarily on commercial litigation, antitrust/unfair competition law, civil rights, class actions, and appellate law. He has been named Hawai`i Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America® four times: in 2014 and 2009 for Bet-the-Company Litigation; in 2013 for Appellate Practice; and in 2012 for Real Estate Litigation. In Chambers USA, a client describes Alston as "three steps ahead of everyone else." Benchmark Litigation identified Alston (and 6 other members of the firm) as among the litigation stars in Hawai`i.

Recent Representative Cases

  • Led 15 online travel companies to victory in an appeal of an assessment of nearly $700 million in transient accommodations taxes by the State of Hawai`i Department of Taxation. (2012)
  • Successfully represented a franchisee in an arbitration over termination of an Asia-wide franchise. Won a ruling that the franchisor acted in bad faith and vindicated the franchisee's development rights. (2011)
  • Won rulings holding the State of Hawai`i liable for over $70 million in back wages and interest to underpaid employees. (2011)
  • Successfully defended the state's largest electric utility company against a $40 million breach of contract/misrepresentation claim involving a large biofuels project on Maui (2010-11).
  • Won a defense verdict in a month-long federal securities fraud trial against investors seeking damages in excess of $500 million from one of the largest landowners in Hawai`i (2009).
  • Won a defense decision after a trial involving million-dollar-plus damages resulting from alleged fraudulent transfers (2009).
  • Defended a Kauai landowner against efforts by the County of Kauai to claim rights to a roadway across his beachfront property, which was worth over $25 million (2008).
  • In the course of two years, obtained settlements and judgments worth over $50 million to clients (2009-2010).
  • Won three appeals in the Hawai`i Supreme Court involving claims of (1) takings without compensation by the State of Hawai`i involving land worth over $60 million, (2) breach of contract claims involving over 15,000 teachers, and (3) denial of retirement benefits involving over 30,000 retirees. In each case, he successfully defended a favorable decision rendered by the trial court (2009-2010).

Practice Areas

Antitrust and Trade Regulations Litigation
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Appellate
Bankruptcy / Creditors Rights
Business Torts
Class Actions
Communications and Media
Constitutional and Civil Rights Litigation
Contract Disputes
Corporate Litigation
Environmental and Cultural Resources Litigation
ERISA Defense
Personal Injury Defense
Real Estate Litigation
RICO
Securities
Title and Escrow Defense

"Why do people hire a particular lawyer? Out of love, fear or trust. Your mother may love you, your former opponents may fear you, but most clients decide based on trust. You earn that by doing, not talking." Paul Alston has built his career based upon earning clients' trust in a wide range of complicated disputes involving large damage claims. His practice focuses primarily on commercial litigation, antitrust/unfair competition law, civil rights, class actions, and appellate law. He has been named Hawai`i Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America® four times: in 2014 and 2009 for Bet-the-Company Litigation; in 2013 for Appellate Practice; and in 2012 for Real Estate Litigation. In Chambers USA, a client describes Alston as "three steps ahead of everyone else." Benchmark Litigation identified Alston (and 6 other members of the firm) as among the litigation stars in Hawai`i.

Recent Representative Cases

  • Led 15 online travel companies to victory in an appeal of an assessment of nearly $700 million in transient accommodations taxes by the State of Hawai`i Department of Taxation. (2012)
  • Successfully represented a franchisee in an arbitration over termination of an Asia-wide franchise. Won a ruling that the franchisor acted in bad faith and vindicated the franchisee's development rights. (2011)
  • Won rulings holding the State of Hawai`i liable for over $70 million in back wages and interest to underpaid employees. (2011)
  • Successfully defended the state's largest electric utility company against a $40 million breach of contract/misrepresentation claim involving a large biofuels project on Maui (2010-11).
  • Won a defense verdict in a month-long federal securities fraud trial against investors seeking damages in excess of $500 million from one of the largest landowners in Hawai`i (2009).
  • Won a defense decision after a trial involving million-dollar-plus damages resulting from alleged fraudulent transfers (2009).
  • Defended a Kauai landowner against efforts by the County of Kauai to claim rights to a roadway across his beachfront property, which was worth over $25 million (2008).
  • In the course of two years, obtained settlements and judgments worth over $50 million to clients (2009-2010).
  • Won three appeals in the Hawai`i Supreme Court involving claims of (1) takings without compensation by the State of Hawai`i involving land worth over $60 million, (2) breach of contract claims involving over 15,000 teachers, and (3) denial of retirement benefits involving over 30,000 retirees. In each case, he successfully defended a favorable decision rendered by the trial court (2009-2010).

Practice Areas

Antitrust and Trade Regulations Litigation
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Appellate
Bankruptcy / Creditors Rights
Business Torts
Class Actions
Communications and Media
Constitutional and Civil Rights Litigation
Contract Disputes
Corporate Litigation
Environmental and Cultural Resources Litigation
ERISA Defense
Personal Injury Defense
Real Estate Litigation
RICO
Securities
Title and Escrow Defense

Litigation

  • Real estate title and escrow disputes, land use, and eminent domain
  • Banking and lender liability
  • Bankruptcy, creditor's rights and fraudulent transfers
  • Environmental, including CERCLA, RCRA, OPA, CAA, CWA and toxic torts
  • False Claims Act (Qui Tam)
  • ERISA and employee benefits litigation
  • Antitrust and trade regulation
  • Business disputes
  • Business torts (fraud) and contract disputes
  • Derivative litigation (corporations and partnerships)
  • Partnerships and shareholder disputes
  • Civil rights and constitutional law
  • Class actions
  • Communications and First Amendment law
  • Insurance coverage and bad faith
  • Professional malpractice
  • RICO
  • Securities
  • Unfair competition/unfair advertising

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

  • Mediation
  • Arbitration

Appeals

  • Administrative
  • Hawai`i Supreme Court
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Affiliations

  • National Board of Trial Advocacy, Civil Trial Specialty
  • American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
  • American Bar Association
  • American Bar Foundation
  • Federal Bar Association, Hawai`i Chapter President 2012-2013
  • Hawaii State Bar Association, President 1990-1991
  • National Conference of Bar Foundations
  • Hawaii Justice Foundation, President 1986-1989
  • Hawai`i Lawyers Care (now known as Volunteer Legal Services Hawai`i), President 1981-1985

Admitted to Practice

  • Hawai`i
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai`i
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Awards and Recognition

  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • 2014 Hawai`i Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year
    • 2013 Hawai`i Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year
    • 2012 Hawai`i Real Estate Litigation Lawyer of the Year
    • 2009 Hawai`i Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year
    • Antitrust Litigation (2009-present)
    • Appellate Practice (2007-present)
    • Bet-the-Company Litigation (2009-present)
    • Commercial Litigation (1993-present)
    • First Amendment Litigation (1993-present)
    • Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants (2009-present)
    • Real Estate Litigation (2012-present)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV rating (1982-present)
  • Chambers USA™ Leading Lawyers for Business
    • Commercial Litigation (2005-present)
  • Benchmark Litigation
    • Litigation Star (2008-present)
  • Super Lawyers Pro Bono Award First Place (2011)
  • Super Lawyers
    • Business Litigation (2008-present)
  • Honolulu Magazine, Best Lawyers in Hawai`i (1997-present)
  • Justice Award for Promoting Public Access to Justice (1991)

Education

  • University of Southern California Law Center (J.D. 1971)